Sun, Jul 06, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Letters:

US asks, `Is it clear now?'

The US' non-support of Taiwan independence means (literally) that Taiwan is not a sovereign country and that the US is strongly opposed to Taiwan ever becoming a nation.

This can be summarized as follows: the US will allow Taiwanese to "play" with democracy as long as we do not provoke China or interfere with American interests. We have to respect everybody's intellectual property, economic and human rights, but no country has to respect our most fundamental right to self-government, freedom from coercion and interference from foreign anti-Taiwan elements. "Do you Taiwanese get the message?" Washington seems to ask.

Since the US wants to join with the PRC to force Taiwan to maintain the "status quo" as long as Taiwanese are opposed to unification by interfering in our domestic affairs, it's time to stir things up big time by going forward with referendums on important domestic issues followed by a plebiscite on sovereignty, and make life a little harder for our double-crossing American friends. Taiwanese have nothing to lose now that we have just been told by US that we are only living an illusion -- an illusion that the US actually stands for the rights of people to choose their own government and decide their own future.

Jason Lin

Co-founder, Taiwan

Discussion Forums

A risk worth taking

Clearly, the government of any democratic nation has the right, but not the obligation, to hold a plebiscite on issues of national importance. Passing a law setting out the conditions and procedure to be followed is a sensible first step. The intent of any referendum would not be to circumvent the democratic will of the legislature, although this risk would exist. Such a risk is worth taking, especially in a political environment where, regrettably, all legislators' loyalty to the nation's destiny cannot be assumed. There will always be some members of the legislature whose first loyalty is to Beijing and the advantages that could flow from that one day.

Therefore, clearly a referendum law is necessary for Taiwan. The current legislative stalemate may be exacerbated as China's military capability expands -- and its rhetoric, North Korea-style, intensifies. A referendum a few years from now may not be politically feasible if cross-strait tensions worsen. The government should seriously consider proposing a referendum law. It would be imperative that no restrictions be placed on what issues with which it might deal. An accompanying minor bill could be passed guaranteeing that a moratorium for a specified period could be instituted on any independence referendum. Such a bill would not be subject to negotiation with any foreign nation -- period. By all means, hold a referendum on the contentious Fourth Nuclear Power Plant. Then, at a later date, if the nation and government so choose, a plebiscite on sovereignty might be held if it proves necessary.

At any rate, the time to pass such a law is in the next year or so. The pressure by China and the US against such legislation will only increase over time.

Stephen Carter

Bangkok

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