During a press conference following his meeting with Chinese Vice President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made some praiseworthy remarks. Just like US President George W. Bush, who had earlier described the two sides of Taiwan Strait as "two countries," and called Taiwan the "Republic of Taiwan," Bloomberg referred to Taiwan as a "country," and emphasized that "Taiwan is not part of China." Bush and Bloomberg's statements, taken together, make the once ambiguous China policy of the US crystal clear -- Taiwan is not part of China.
During Bush's meeting with Hu on May 1, the Chinese leader expressed Beijing's growing concern toward over Taiwan problem. Bush responded by emphasizing "respect" in the bilateral Sino-US relationship. In other words, the US respects China, so China should also have respect for the US and its ally Taiwan.
On behalf of China, Hu asked that the US accept the "one China" principle, the three Sino-US communiques, "peaceful" cross-strait unification and "one country, two systems." Hu's requests were made in very polite, diplomatic language. However, if China is truly bent on accomplishing peaceful unification, why has it arrayed more than 400 missiles along its coastline targeting Taiwan? Is it because, perhaps, it intends to impose unification by force?
The US is beginning to find China's lies and deceptions unbearable. The US does not wish to see Taiwan, its ally for the past 50 years and a democratic country with independent sovereignty, relegated to the status of either a colony or an appendix of China. All that the US has done since 1949 to help Taiwan would be in vain.
Indeed, the US has done much for Taiwan. Among other things, it has helped Taiwan defend itself, blossom into one of the most exemplary democratic countries in Asia and develop economically.
The US had also enacted the Taiwan Relations Act to assure Taipei of continued protection after it established formal diplomatic ties with Beijing in 1978. The intention is to shield Taiwan's democracy from destruction by China's communist regime.
Former president Lee Teng-hui (
Democracy made possible the election of Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) as the second popularly-elected president and ushered in Taiwan's first-ever change of ruling party. This proves that the ROC on Tai-wan has established a vibrant democracy. Taiwan will never accept "one country, two sys-tems." Neither will Chen.
What Bush meant to tell Hu was to respect the political realty that Taiwan has obtained sovereignty independent from China, beginning in 1949 and that peace and security between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait requires "respect" by China.
Bush also hopes Hu will under-stand that a consistent cornerstone in US foreign policy has always been respect for human rights and democracy. As the future leader of China, Hu should also understand that, in order to get along with members of the international community, Beijing must respect democracy. This way, the US, China and Taiwan would be able to get along and play an importantly role in maintaining peace and security of the Asian Pacific region.
In stark contrast to Bush's stance, KMT Chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) recent speech in Washington, titled "Taiwan and the KMT, Quo Vadis?" (Where are they headed)," should have had "one China." as a subtitle.
Lien was very clear in expres-sing his "Thank God, we are all pure Chinese" mentality, stating that the KMT is the Chinese KMT. Lien and his party are disciples of the "one China" ideology. They firmly oppose the concept of a "Republic of Taiwan."
In their hearts, they do not accept Chen -- who disagrees with them about the future of Taiwan -- as the president of the ROC.
The goal of the KMT is to work with the PFP to regain the presidency in 2004. It seeks to use its acceptance of the "one China" principle to trade for the security of Taiwan's people. It also intends to help China colonize Taiwan and denies the political reality of Taiwan's independent sovereignty. This behavior is both rude and insulting to Taiwan's people.
To accomplish those goals, Lien, to his own detriment, tried to pitch the "one China" policy at the National Press Club in Washington.
The fact is that the KMT and PFP have decided to mute Lee's "state-to-state" relations theory and replace it with their "one China" propaganda.
They severely criticize and oppose any policies or measuresby the Chen administration they deem to contradict that principle. They in fact seek to blacken any and all accomplishments by the Chen administration, so that people will no longer support what they describe as "the useless and inexperienced Chen administration."
This is amply demonstrated by opposition lawmakers' conspiracy to get more than 100 townships and towns in Taiwan to refuse to pay water and electric bills.
During the current drought, their hostile intentions toward the ruling party further incite unrest. They spare no effort in demonizing the ruling party's image to incite discontent and resentment among the people and seek to diminish Chen's popular support. Their hope is to destroy Taiwan's democratic institutions.
As opposition parties join forces for the 2004 presidential election, the people of Taiwan will see through their act.
Lee Chang-kuei is the president of the Taipei Times and a professor emeritus of National Taiwan University.
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