Tue, Nov 25, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Discerning who is a friend and who is a foe

By Chin Heng-wei 金恆煒

Former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) "special state-to-state" model and President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) "one country on each side of the Strait" discourse have set the tone for the cross-strait relationship. Their statements not only illustrate the reality but also break up the "one China" myth and the "Republic of China" delusion. Pushing for referendums and a new constitution is a path we have to walk down to realize one country on each side of the Strait.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party (PFP) insist on the Republic of China (ROC) and make public their determination to safeguard the current Constitution because without it there would be no ROC. As outlined in the Constitution, no change to the territory is allowed. That's why the pan-blue camp has made all-out efforts to oppose the special-state-to-state theory and the one-country-on-each-side theme.

PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) even sarcastically misinterpreted "one country on each side" as "the rich side and the poor side" in Taiwan. By transforming the issue into an internal one, he tried to blur the fact that the cross-strait issue is a dispute between two countries.

On top of the relationship between China and Taiwan, we may indeed have two countries inside Taiwan, as Soong pointed out, but they consist of one side representing "one China" and the other side supporting Taiwan. And the "one China" faction in Taiwan does not sing the same tune as the "one China" faction on the other side of the Strait.

While accompanying Chen in Manhattan, American Institute in Taiwan Chairwoman Therese Shaheen publicly said that US President George W. Bush was Chen's "secret angel." Her comment showed that the US stood firm behind Chen, which can be equated with its firm support for Taiwan.

We can understand why her comment irritated China, yet to our bewilderment, it has also irritated the pan-blue camp. Pan-blue lawmakers publicly listed Shaheen as persona non grata. At the same time, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Liu Jianchao (劉建超) severely criticized Shaheen, saying that Taiwan's pro-independence faction is playing with fire.

Why has Taiwan-friendly Shaheen become the common enemy of Chinese communists and the pan-blue camp? If we examine their relationship in light of German political philosopher Carl Schmitt's "friend-foe distinction," the issue of who is the friend and who the enemy becomes very clear and interesting.

Shaheen's is not an isolated case. During his US stopover, Chen publicly talked about referendums and a new constitution, and the US still gave him an unprecedented warm welcome.

This made the pan-blue camp realize that their criticism of Chen had not worked at all.

They also came to the painful conclusion that the US had on the one hand allowed the KMT-PFP alliance to prevent Chen from enacting a new constitution and declaring Taiwan's independence, while on the other hand permitting Shaheen to side with Chen. They just felt they had been cheated by the US.

Coincidentally, China also felt cheated. Beijing felt cheated because Chen was treated so well in the US. Therefore, Chen's breakthrough during his visit in the US was a major setback for both the pan-blue camp and China. Both of them suffered from being cheated by Washington.

From this, isn't it obvious who is siding with whom in the one-country-on-each-side discourse? Who is whose enemy cannot be more obvious than this.

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