A massive rally in support of the government's arms-procurement budget is to take place today. The main purpose of the rally is to push for the speedy legislative review and approval of the special arms budget, as well as to highlight the importance of self-defense to Taiwan on the country's path toward "normalization."
It is open knowledge that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) have worked together to block the deliberation of the arms procurement budget by the legislature a total of 29 times. The bill has not even managed to make it to the legislative floor so far.
This farce has gone on for so long that even the US is questioning whether the government is serious about buying the weapons package on offer. So, it is high time for the people of Taiwan to step up and voice their support for the bill. Through today's rally, they can let the rest of the world and the US see that they do know the importance of maintaining a self-defense capability and that the pan-blue lawmakers do not represent the mainstream popular will on sovereignty-related issues.
Reportedly last week former US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage told President Chen Shui-bian (
While as with any other multi-party democracy, competition and differences between the two major political parties in the US, it is nothing close to what the people of Taiwan have endured from the bickering between the pan-blues and pan-greens over the past few years.
The resentment that the pan-blue camp feels toward the Chen government has multiple roots -- the two biggest ones perhaps being kicked out of office in the 2000 presidential election and their confused sense of national identity. The former, aggravated by a second consecutive presidential defeat last year, has grown into an almost personal hatred, not only on the part of former KMT chairman Lien Chan (
On the other hand, the gap in national identification between the pan-blues and pan-greens has an even deeper and more complicated impact on the country -- the disputes over arms procurement being just one symptom. Obviously, the biggest and some would even say the only real enemy of Taiwan is its neighbor across the Taiwan Strait. Despite Beijing's rapid military build up and its missile threats to Taiwan, some segments in this country continue to view Taiwan as part of the great and mighty "China." They object to anything that stand in the way of "Chinese unification," let along buying arms to stand up against Beijing.
However, it must be made clear that the mainstream popular will is supportive of the arms procurement plan and fully aware of the military threat from China. Today's rally will provide an opportunity for these people to speak up and to pressure the pan-blue camp to answer to the demands and desires of the people of this country. Hopefully, the deadlock in the legislature can come to an end immediately -- for the sake of the nation.