Wed, Nov 12, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Chen sold out Taiwan? What a joke

By Chen Sung-shan 陳淞山

As next year's presidential election draws near, the gap between support ratings for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and those for the Lien-Soong ticket -- Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) -- is gradually narrowing.

While the president was visiting the US and Panama, the KMT legislative caucus on Nov. 4 condemned his visit to China in 1991 when he was a legislator, questioning whether he saw any Chinese leaders, made any promises or colluded with the Chinese communists to sell out Taiwan. Some even said he should be ashamed for taking a photo with a Chinese tank at a military museum in Beijing, and that he was much inferior to the man who tried to stop a long line of tanks during the notorious 1989 Tiananmen Square Incident.

In fact, the KMT legislative caucus' campaign trick was an ignorant method that exposed its own weakness by contrasting Chen's, Lien's and Soong's personal experiences in dealing with China. Chen did visit China during his term as a legislator. During his trip, he met Tang Shubei (唐樹備), then vice chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, Zhang Kehui (張克輝), the honorary president of the All-China Federation of Taiwan Compatriots, some military officials as well as officials from China's United Front Work Department. Apart from exchanging opinions with those officials on various cross-strait issues, military research and development and Taiwan's entry to the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), he also visited the Great Wall, the military museum and other scenic spots.

Given the cross-strait political environment at that time, it was indeed a breakthrough for Chen -- a pro-Taiwan independence legislator from Taiwan's biggest opposition party -- to visit China. Not only did he let the officials for Taiwan affairs understand the nation's political development and the voice of the Taiwanese people, he also gained a better understanding of Beijing's political hegemony and its negotiation mode.

Thanks to such past experience, Chen has always made the development of cross-strait relations, national defense, military research and Taiwan's future status his main focus throughout his political career. As a result, he proposed the "four ifs," "de facto sovereignty," the referendum platform and the Resolution on Taiwan's Future one after another inside the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). This laid a foundation for his dominance of the DPP's China policy.

Besides, he advanced with the times by proposing various cross-strait policies -- such as a basic cross-strait treaty, the "five noes," the cross-strait integration dictum, the relaxation of the "no haste, be patient" policy and the policy of "active opening, effective management." He also proposed to push for a new constitution through a referendum not long ago. These proposals allow Taiwan to rationally and practically face China's threat of swallowing up the nation and building Taiwan into a new democratic and free society and country.

This shows that Chen knows Beijing much better than Lien or Soong. His valuable visit to China made him understand how to handle complicated cross-strait issues, as well as how to deal with Chinese leaders appropriately. This is where Lien and Soong are inferior to Chen. Today, the KMT has tried to attack Chen using his own campaign tactic of calling rivals "pro-China," and using his past visit to smear him. In fact, this action only further exposed their ignorant and absurd attitude. How can the Taiwanese people trust them for correctly handling cross-strait affairs?

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