Mon, May 24, 2004 - Page 8 News List

A common future with China

By Francisco Carin

Due to the alarming environmental reports that started coming out at the time, the UN in 1983 appointed an international commission to propose strategies for sustainable development. This commission published a report four years later under the title "Our Common Future." The commission's work and its report have become landmarks by starting a process of drawing international attention to concern for the environment.

The main idea behind the report's title is very simple: The future of humanity has to be a common future, or it will have no future at all. The ecological crisis has such characteristics and is so widespread that to reach sustainable development for humanity on this planet, a common solution is required.

In the same way, the future of Taiwan is neither green nor blue, it is a common future or there will be no future at all. Taiwanese society has to be built in harmony, but respecting people's differences, so that it can become a pluralist and diverse society. This can be a nice platform for the next four years of DPP presidency; trying to reach a common vision on the future of this land that is shared by the majority of Taiwanese society.

Taiwan is a land where different cultures and races have flourished, yet not always in harmony. This variety, far for being a curse, is a blessing; a potential for inspiration and limitless creativity. True, there is a lot of work to do before we can reach a common vision, but this is supposed to be the actual work of authentic politicians: to work to gather the common expectations of society in a consensus instead of promoting (even allowing) division and confrontation.

This same idea of a common future is something that can be proposed to China. It is too soon to talk about independence or unification, but unquestionably the future of Taiwan is related to the future of China, it is a common future too, although not necessarily as the same country. Even if Taiwan becomes a nation free from the menace of subjugation by China -- that is, an independent nation internationally recognized as such -- its future will be likewise linked to its neighbors, and particularly to China.

China and Taiwan should sit down and draft together a common vision for the peoples of both nations, a road map open to different destinations, but under a common vehicle, that is, mutual respect, mutual recognition and non-violence. It should be time and the evolution of this correlation that finally drives the vehicle to its suitable destination; this may be two happy peoples under one great nation, or two happy peoples in two equally great nations; the end result will not matter, because both peoples would have discovered that their futures are tied together, because it is a common future in the community of the peoples of Earth.

"To keep options open for future generations, the present generation must begin now, and begin together, nationally and internationally," was the message of the "Our Common Future" report in 1987. Today the political leaders of Taiwan and China have a no less challenging task: to keep options open for future generations. I believe that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is up to this task, and the Chinese leadership must promptly realize that they, the present generation, must begin now to propose strategies for "sustainable interactions" in this road to our common future.

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