Sun, Apr 17, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Lien entertains dangerous delusions

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) is expected to make a visit to China by the end of this month. It is truly sad to see the KMT and Lien stubbornly proceeding with the trip, disregarding repeated warnings about its bad timing and the potential harm to the nation's interests.

What does Lien realistically hope to accomplish with his trip? One cannot help but wonder. KMT Vice Chairman Chiang Pin-kun (江丙坤) is still under investigation by the prosecutor's office for treason, after he returned from his own dubious mission to China.

After that trip, Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) government put its foot down about how far politicians can go in meeting with Chinese officials, and what can be accomplished through such meetings in the absence of government authorization. Otherwise, Chen's government risks becoming a lame duck in cross-strait relations, which it cannot tolerate.

On Friday, both Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and Executive Yuan spokesman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) emphasized that if Lien signs any agreement with Beijing about anything that involves government powers, he will be dealt with in accordance with the law. This should be obvious, because Lien has no government authorization and so cannot agree on anything on behalf of the Taiwan government.

Perhaps the KMT thought that, since the pan-blue camp has a legislative majority, it could forcibly enact into law any agreement it reaches with Beijing. That only goes to show what little respect the KMT has for the law and the government. As with any other country in the world, only the executive branch of the government is empowered and authorized to negotiate and enter into agreement with other governments and countries.

Even Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had to admit yesterday that the likelihood of Lien signing an agreement to formally end the civil war between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is small, because government approval would be required.

It's true that the KMT and CCP signed various pacts and agreements during the Chinese Civil War, before the KMT went into exile in Taiwan. But it must be remembered that the KMT was not just a political party, but the nominal ruling regime in China. So it had the capacity to enter into such agreements with the CCP, which was then considered by the KMT a "rebel" group. The problem is that the KMT seems unwilling -- and perhaps unable -- to accept the reality that it is now just an opposition party in Taiwan.

Lien has reportedly agreed to speak with President Chen on the phone before his trip, despite the fact that Chen asked to meet with him personally. Perhaps the KMT is hoping that a phone conservation will give Lien the needed authorization, or at least the appearance of it.

The DPP government must not be pressured by Lien into authorizing him to accept terms and conditions that the government isn't ready to accept. After the passage of the "Anti-Secession" Law, extreme caution must be taken when dealing with cross-strait affairs.

Without authorization from the Taiwan government to accept terms and conditions on its behalf, and without the ability to make concessions to Beijing, one can hardly imagine what constructive purpose Lien's trip will serve. Perhaps Lien believes that he can woo the CCP into unilaterally withdrawing all the missiles targeting Taiwan, and promising to never again re-deploy them against Taiwan.

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