Fri, Feb 04, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Negotiation and arms necessary to ensure peace

By Chen Lung-chu陳隆志

In the face of China's unreasonable and vicious diplomatic oppression, as well as the threat of its 706 ballistic missiles, Taiwan needs to build a defense system to effectively protect national security.

The core of this system lies in Taiwan, with its very limited resources, being able to find a mechanism to not only reduce tension between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, but also promote peaceful coexistence and joint prosperity based on equality, mutual trust and reciprocity to maximize the benefits to the people of both countries.

The anti-terror issue has been the pivot of US diplomacy after the Sept. 11 attacks. Although China has offered its support in the US war on terror, in exchange it has demanded that Washington abide by its "one China" principle.

According to a recent report from the Ministry of National Defense, Taiwan is gradually losing its military edge as a result of the growth of China's national power and its military modernization. Meanwhile, Beijing is launching its so-called "three warfares" approach, attempting to force Taiwan into submission by means of psychological, legal and media attacks.

In the face of the constantly changing threats from China, Taiwan needs a macroscopic vision if it is to safeguard stability and safety in the Strait. This vision includes two aspects:

First, solid national defense is the basis of Taiwan's survival. We must face the fact that China is constantly increasing its military threat againstTaiwan. We should actively push to strengthen the military while bolstering the public's psychological defenses. The ruling and opposition parties should support and pass major arms procurement initiatives to stabilize the cross-strait situation.

Second, Taiwan and China can build a mechanism of bilateral mutual trust. They can improve bilateral relations through this mechanism of transparent exchanges, negotiate about cooperation and take joint action on the basis of equality and reciprocity. Perhaps the two sides can start with pragmatic issues, and slowly accumulate their experience of cooperation. They can then establish more channels for dialogue and set up a bilateral mechanism for military mutual trust. In the future, they can even form a "peace zone" in the Strait, and move toward demilitarization and eternal peace in this region.

Chen Lung-chu is the chairman of the Taiwan New Century Foundation.

TRANSLATED BY EDDY CHANG

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