Sat, Apr 30, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Politicians must respect the people

The Taipei Society

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) arrived in China for a visit last Tuesday, and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) is set to visit China on Thursday. Lien's and Soong's upcoming talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) have received widely different reactions. Those who support the talks have great expectations, saying that they will bring peace to the Taiwan Strait and help realize China's eventual unification with Taiwan. But those who oppose them say that they will forfeit Taiwan's sovereignty.

The KMT and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have a long, entangled history. Talks between them are not harmful if the public's rights are not involved.

However, since Beijing insists that "one China" refers to the People's Republic of China (PRC), neither Lien's nor Soong's visit will benefit Taiwan's pursuit of a recognition of two equal, sovereign nations on both sides of the Strait, nor the establishment of real peace. If they are careless, they may trigger internal conflict and polarize opinion between pro-unification and pro-independence forces. While Lien is visiting China, we would like to remind him:

First, following Japanese colonial rule, although the people of Taiwan suffered under the KMT government's martial law for 38 years, they took advantage of the limited freedom available to them to strive for democracy, and accomplished the first transfer of power in 2000. The KMT itself witnessed this process of Taiwan's democratization. Although it was defeated in presidential elections, it should keep its faith in our own democratic system, and should not denounce our democratic achievements when meeting political leaders from the other side.

If Lien can take this opportunity to declare to Beijing the party's recognition of democratic values, and explain that even after its transformation from the governing to the opposition party, the KMT is still able to win many legislative seats and participate in national affairs, this will show the party's magnitude and vision, and win the world's applause.

Second, the former KMT government failed to end the military confrontation between the two sides of the Strait. As an opposition party today, it has no position to represent Taiwan in signing an "agreement for terminating the state of war." The civil war between the KMT and the CCP naturally came to an end when power was transferred peacefully to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) from the KMT, and it is not necessary to sign any agreement. The DPP has never declared the CCP to be a rebellious group. Even if the DPP government has taken over the KMT government's baggage of the "separate governance of the two sides," this does not mean that it should automatically continue the hatred between the KMT and the CCP.

During his visit, Lien should express at an appropriate time that the KMT-CCP civil war became history when the party lost power. This method can easily resolve the problem in Article 8 of the "Anti-Secession" Law, which states that "The Taiwan question is one that is left over from China's civil war of the late 1940s. Solving the Taiwan question and achieving national reunification is China's internal affair."

Third, following several visits to China by high-ranking officials of the KMT, Soong has also accepted an invitation from Hu for a similar trip. These "go-west" moves have caused a disturbance in Taiwan's party politics and further complicated the government's cross-strait policies. If the opposition loses sight of the fact that their survival and development must be rooted in Taiwan and if their China visits fall into China's "united front" trap, they will be upbraided for being traitors and for "selling out Taiwan." In the end they would regret this as an unwise move and a costly political bid.

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