Thu, Jun 02, 2005 - Page 8 News List

US should take a side in the Strait

By Paul Lin 林保華

In visiting China, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) not only submitted to Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), but also brought the power of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) into Taiwan's domestic politics and reduced the effectiveness of US influence in the Taiwan Strait.

Statements made by the US State Department have generally taken an approving line about these visits, and US President George W. Bush has even suggested that Hu meet with Taiwan's legitimately elected President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). Now that the CCP's influence is a fact in Taiwan's domestic politics, it has been left up to the National Assembly to bring stability to a government that lacks direction.

The situation has developed in a manner that the US did not predict. This is largely due to the US' incorrect assessment of the KMT and the PFP. They believe that the KMT is still the same as it was under the two Chiangs or under Lee Teng-hui (李登輝): namely, that it favors the US and opposes China. But the "pro-US, anti-China" stance of both Lien and Soong was only a matter of expedience, and not a matter of political principle. Now that they have lost power, they see that the US, which advocates democracy, will not help them win it back. Meanwhile, China is wooing them through its "united front" strategy, through which it aims to co-opt allies in Taiwan and sow division. It therefore comes as no surprise that Lien and Soong have pinned their hopes of regaining power on China.

In order to cozy up to China, the two opposition parties have no choice but to adopt an anti-US position, for the principles and systems of the two countries are antithetical. Since the KMT lost power, its members and those of the PFP have sought to make trouble in the Taiwan-US relationship, even though Lien and Soong have not personally taken part in this process.

A constant stream of criticism has been directed at the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for relying too heavily on the US. The opposition parties have clearly shown themselves willing to sell out Taiwan, and to favor China over the US.

They have even obstructed the special arms procurement bill as a favor to China, endangering Taiwan's security and making themselves accomplices in China's expansionism.

It is unfortunate that the US government has been unaware of this. They see Taiwan's party politics as being the same as those in the US, forgetting that Taiwan's democracy is still in its infancy and that the KMT has yet to adapt itself to operating in a democratic system. Meanwhile the "China factor" is pulling the KMT toward a reliance on a dictatorial government to avoid a painful transition to democratic politics.

Now that the opposition has come out into the open about their policy to join with the CCP against Taiwan, it is only a matter of time before they make plain that they will join with the CCP against the US as well. The US needs to realize this.

Fortunately, the US is not totally unaware of the problem. Congress is monitoring the situation and has adopted some measures in response.

Representative Henry Hyde, chairman of the US House Committee on International Relations and 33 other members of Congress signed a strongly worded letter to Lien asking him to support the passage of the arms procurement bill that is currently being held up in the legislature.

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