Sun, Apr 24, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Don't let the opposition sell us out

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) are in a race to make pilgrimages to China. The gang of politicians who used to be anti-communist crusaders has had a change of heart now that they've been ousted from power.

It may be hard to imagine now, but they used to vow to exterminate the "evil communist bandits." They justified keeping in place martial law and the autocratic regime that enriched them on the grounds of fighting communism.

Now, in total disregard for the nation's overall interests and security, they compete to be the first to pay their respects to the "bandits," and take pride in becoming guests of the communist regime. It is truly hard to have any respect for people who exhibit such an ugly, opportunistic side of human nature.

In view of opposition leaders' China fever, the Central Standing Committee of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Tuesday passed a resolution on visits to China by political parties. The resolution makes a point of highlighting "three oppositions" and "three musts."

The resolution passed by the DPP fully represents the mainstream popular will and aligns with the stance that the independent sovereignty of Taiwan cannot be changed by external forces. This resolution also gives cautious advice to the opposition leaders, while rejecting the 10-point consensus reached between Soong and President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). Hopefully, this powerful statement can change the minds of politicians who have just about gone mad.

Unfortunately, while the DPP has taken a strong stance through the resolution, the Presidential Office has adopted a policy of treating Lien and Soong differently, by criticizing the former but not the latter. It sternly condemned Lien for making the trip to China, but it spoke about Soong in kind words, saying that he is going to China with the 10-point consensus reached between him and Chen. That consensus is in writing and signed by the two. From this perspective, Soong can of course represent the position outlined in the consensus.

To attack Lien but not Soong may be a strategy deployed by the Presidential Office to divide the pan-blue opposition. However, on issues that relate to national security and fundamental interests, it is most important to be principled. Since the visits to China by opposition leaders are harmful to Taiwan's interests, the government should treat everyone equally in accordance with the law and make no distinction between the opposition leaders.

Everyone who deserves moral condemnation should be condemned, with no exceptions made. KMT Vice Chairman Chiang Ping-kun (江丙坤) risked violating Article 113 of the Criminal Code's prohibition against unauthorized agreements with a foreign country by reaching a consensus with Taiwan Affairs Office Director Chen Yunlin (陳雲林). Lien received a warning from the government before his trip that he cannot sign any agreement with China.

But Soong will get immunity because he holds a piece of paper that contains the 10-point consensus with Chen -- and therefore he's free to be wined and dined by China's "communist bandits." How can the government ease the confusion over this different treatment of Lien and Soong?

The reasons why the two sides of the Taiwan Strait cannot negotiate are that politically, China has the ambition to engulf Taiwan, while economically it has adopted a policy of luring Taiwanese capital, industries, talent and technologies, in an attempt to pull out the roots of industrial development established in Taiwan over the past decades.

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