Sun, Oct 19, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Cross-strait cooperation is not just clandestine

By Chin Heng-wei 金恆煒

President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) assertion during his interview with the Washington Post that Beijing has been helping the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) prompted a furious rebuttal from the two parties.

KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) said that it was irresponsible defamation to say that the Chinese communists have secretly helped the KMT and PFP to overthrow the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government. PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) also criticized Chen for belittling Taiwanese people and smearing his and Lien's parties with groundless accusations.

How come the KMT and PFP are so angry? If anyone's reputation has been damaged it is China's. But why do the two parties in Taiwan feel aggrieved?

Chen did not spell out the whole truth when he used the term "clandestine assistance" to describe this form of cross-strait cooperation.

Beijing's top three enemies are former president Lee Tung-hui (李登輝), Chen and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮). It has, however, never put Lien and Soong on its blacklist.

In their strategies, Chinese communists tend to team up with their secondary enemies to fight their primary enemies. Therefore, for Beijing, it is necessary to put down Lee, Chen and Lu, and to work with Lien and Soong. That's why they receive "clandestine assistance."

Beijing offers not only "clandestine assistance" but also "overt assistance." Three days before the presidential election in 2000, Chinese premier Zhu Rong-ji (朱鎔基) held a press conference to threaten Taiwanese people to make a "wise historic decision" by voting for Lien or Soong to prevent Chen from being elected.

If China had been the only side to issue such a warning, it would have been overt assistance. But once Lien and Soong also threatened the electorate by saying that "cross-strait war will start upon Chen's victory," they created "mutual assistance" with Beijing. It is more than "overt assistance"; it is fish helping water and water helping fish, China helping Lien and Soong, and Lien and Soong helping China.

Similarly, when Deputy Secretary-General of the Presidential Office Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said that the KMT and PFP have been "exchanging amorous looks with each other," he had also understated the reality.

In her essay published on the Web site of the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Aug. 17, 2001, researcher Bonnie Glaser revealed that "scores of KMT delegations visiting China in the past year have urged Beijing to avoid opening a dialogue with Chen that might strengthen his position and increase his chances of re-election" and that "the KMT urges Chinese leaders to await the return of their party to power, promising that the KMT will pursue a cross-strait policy that is more amenable to Beijing."

Glaser later explained that her article encapsulated the views that were conveyed to her by Chinese institute analysts and officials during her July visit to Beijing. She was surprised that people in Taiwan did not seem to know what was said by some of the KMT delegations during their visits to China. Obviously, it is a well-known fact: Beijing and the KMT and PFP are actually giving "mutual assistance" to each other.

Chin Heng-wei is editor-in-chief of Contemporary Monthly magazine.

Translated by Jennie Shih

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