Wed, Oct 22, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Fortune will favor a brave Taiwan

By James Wang 王景弘

Speaking in an interview with the Washington Post earlier this month, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) accused China of "hostile intent" against Taiwan and challenged the so-called "one China" principle that belittles and marginalizes this nation. He said that "the people of Taiwan firmly believe that there is one country on each side of the [Taiwan] Strait. One China and one Taiwan."

Although Chen has made such statements time and again over the past year, this long exclusive interview, which puts together his ideas and statements, occupied nearly half of the international front page in the Post.

In the past, when reporting on Taiwan's relations with China, the US media would habitually include China's views by adding that Beijing regarded Taiwan as "a renegade province of China." The Post article quoted Chen as saying that "Taiwan is not a province of one country nor is it a state of another," highlighting Taiwan's clear goal of walking along its own road of survival.

Chen's remarks not only upheld Taiwan's platform but also revealed his humility in expressing good-will and flexibility to China. But he still has to face animosity from China and an opposition in Taiwan which echoes Beijing's call for "one China." He has gained a deeper understanding of the evil nature of China's political culture and has realized that, suppressed by the "one China" ideology, the only way to secure Taiwan's interests and rights as a sovereign state is to challenge the "one China" principle.

China's refusal to give up "one China" is its own business. To achieve its goal of annexing Taiwan on a legal level and eliminating Taiwan's status as a sovereign state, China can only hold fast to its "one China" principle and claim that it has succeeded the Republic of China. Taiwan must not accept this principle, otherwise it will have to surrender its sovereignty and become "a part of China."

Clearly aware of this problem, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) issued his "special state-to-state" model for cross-strait relations. His aides also told foreign newspapers that the "one China" stance would no longer be adopted. This statement suffered great pressure from the Clinton administration in the US. Lee did not "revoke" his "special state-to-state" dictum but never mentioned it again during his days in office.

After Chen proposed his "one country on each side" platform and pushed for the holding of referenda, the US Department of State also expressed "concern." Washington diplomats still clinging to a Cold War mentality were all nerves. However, Chen "would not bow to US pressure to modify recent moves," as the Post quoted.

The firm attitude of Taiwan's two popularly elected presidents in challenging the "one China" principle ought to make the US government review its "one China" policy. Although the US' "one China" policy has a definition different to that of China's "one China principle," Taiwan's democratization and normalization of relations with the US have still been unreasonably and unduly obstructed by the "one China" policy.

The interview also quoted a Taiwanese "pollster," apparently a supporter of the pan-blue camp, as saying that "the only way [Chen] can win is if he induces a reaction from China." It also reported that "the Bush administration has watched with some alarm as the [Taiwanese] president has launched initiatives that many fear are designed to prompt a sharp reaction from Beijing."

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