Sun, Aug 07, 2005 - Page 8 News List

We're all sick of political bickering

By the Liberty Times editorial

Next month President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will visit diplomatic allies in Central America.

He has invited the leaders of the four main political parties, Taipei Mayor and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman-elect Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Shu Chin-chiang (蘇進強), to join him in a summit with Central American leaders to be held in Nicaragua.

His purpose in doing this is to achieve a foreign policy consensus among the major political parties to more effectively resist China's attempts to isolate Taiwan diplomatically.

Predictably, the green camp has been eager to fall in with the president's plans, while the blue camp has shown a distinct lack of enthusiasm. Ma has said that he is too busy, while PFP spokesperson Hsieh Kung-ping (謝公秉) responded with criticism.

He said that while international diplomacy is important, more immediate questions -- the cross-strait issue, the economy and domestic issues -- are in complete disarray, and the president should give priority to these urgent matters which impinge directly on the lives of the Taiwanese people.

Shu said he fully approved of the president's invitation to opposition leaders to help make diplomatic headway. Su also enthusiastically endorsed the president's move, saying that by inviting opposition leaders, we could show our allies Taiwan's democratic achievements and the unity of the Taiwanese people.

He added that even if the political parties had domestic differences, they should stand together when overseas.

He also scolded Ma, saying that while it was essential to keep abreast of domestic administration, promoting Taiwan's foreign policy was also essential.

What results a joint delegation of Taiwan's political leaders might achieve on the diplomatic front remains to be seen, but this must certainly be recognized as something of a first in international diplomacy and an imaginative attempt by the government to break out of the diplomatic isolation that China seeks to impose on Taiwan.

That the opposition leaders have automatically rejected this offer as a reflex action is disappointing.

We call on the opposition leaders to accept Chen's offer, and put down, even temporarily, their inter-party feuds to work together for Taiwan's interests overseas.

By next month, Ma will have officially taken up his post as KMT chairman, so if he were to accept Chen's offer to visit Central America, this would certainly help establish a new basis of cooperation between the DPP and KMT, and mark a clean break from outgoing KMT Chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) policy of resisting Chen at every opportunity, which has already done so much harm to the country.

Ma's acceptance would offer a ray of hope that Taiwan can achieve political harmony, and would also be an affirmation of Taiwan's determination, encompassing both ruling and opposition parties, to resist China.

Taking a neutral view of the issue based on a will to promote national interests, it would be difficult for opposition leaders to refuse Chen's invitation.

In March this year, China passed the "Anti-Secession" Law which allows its military to use "non-peaceful means" to deal with Taiwan if it does not give in to China's ambition to annex it. Despite the savagery inherent in such a law, the pan-blue leaders refused to participate in demonstrations against it.

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