Mon, Nov 22, 2004 - Page 8 News List

'Identity problem' is not political

By Hsu Yung-ming徐永明

While members of the pan-blue and pan-green camps still believe that there are political conflicts and contradictions on the issue of Taiwan's sovereignty, the people of Taiwan are steadily advancing to a resolution.

When the survey asked respondents which political party was best able to safeguard Taiwan's sovereignty, 28 percent thought that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) would do better than other party. This result could be due to the DPP's clear and long standing position on sovereignty, and may also be because the DPP is the ruling party.

The KMT took second place with 13 percent. By cross-referencing the results, we see that supporters of a political party will generally believe their party will do much better in defending Taiwan's sovereignty. But People First Party (PFP) partisans actually believe that the KMT will do better.

This is an important warning for the PFP, for if they doubt their own party's ability on the sovereignty issue, they may start to shift their support to the KMT.

What is worth pondering for all political parties is that 56 percent of those polled still do not have an opinion on which party can better guard Taiwan's sovereignty. Therefore, I want to remind each party in the upcoming legislative elections to not only focus on mobilizing voters, but also propose a concrete strategy to preserve Taiwan's sovereignty.

Meanwhile, more than half of the public believes that a national referendum may be an effective tool on the sovereignty issue. That people do not trust the political parties, but rather put their faith in a national referendum is an interesting phenomenon and one that politicians should pay close attention to.

That such distrust exists should serve as a crucial element in the next developmental phase of each political party.

On the level of international politics, the US and China may think that as long as they can take care of Taiwan's political leaders, the issue of Taiwan's sovereignty can be resolved. But from this survey, we see that Taiwanese people may have a strong desire to want to express their opinion via a national referendum, and may not totally believe in any political party.

Taiwan's sovereignty issue will not to be resolved by consultations among elites, and this is an important message that the international community must recognize.

Hsu Yung-ming is an assistant research fellow of Sun Yat-sen Institute for Social Sciences and Philosophy at Academia Sinica.

TRANSLATED BY LIN YA-TI

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