Tue, Oct 11, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Pan-blue `peace' bill violates the Constitution

By Trong Chai 蔡同榮

Today the legislature is slated to review the draft of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party's (PFP) jointly proposed "cross-strait peace advancement" bill. This bill betrays Taiwan, intrudes on the powers of the executive and violates the Constitution.

The bill's first article specifies that "This law is based on the `five noes' and the `1992 consensus.'" Passing it would be tantamount to turning the "1992 consensus" into law and would irreparably damage the nation's future.

The government has repeatedly and firmly denied the existence of any "1992 consensus." The so-called "1992 consensus" is built on the idea of "one China, with each side having its own interpretation." It means that both Taiwan and China accept the "one China" principle, although each side has its own interpretation of what that means. Beijing claims that "China" is the People's Republic of China (PRC), while the KMT and PFP claim that it is the Republic of China (ROC).

To say that the ROC is China is to follow a strange logic. The international community's standard interpretation of the "one China" principle is that Taiwan is part of China, that it is a local government and that the PRC is the central government of China. It would be virtually impossible to overturn this definition in the international community. Accepting the "1992 consensus" therefore means accepting Beijing's version of the "one China" principle. And that means giving up Taiwan's future.

The bill also means that the legislative branch will intrude on the powers of the executive branch. The Constitution clearly gives the president the power to conduct diplomacy. He or she is the only person who has the right to establish diplomatic relations, and neither the legislature -- nor a committee set up by the legislature -- has the right to represent the country in contact with other governments.

The bill's fifth article specifies that, "The commission may select several of its members to function as `angels of peace' and organize delegations and initiate cross-strait negotiations."

Allowing a "peace" commission to negotiate with China is a clear intrusion on the president's power to conduct diplomacy.

The Constitution specifies that only the president has the right to conclude treaties. Article 21 of the "peace" bill, however, specifies that, "a special cross-strait peace negotiation commission may conclude any kind of agreement with China, eg, agreements regulating direct cross-strait links, protecting Taiwanese businessmen in China ... or a cross-strait peace agreement."

A committee signing such agreements would clearly be intruding on the president's authority.

How can the legislature pass laws that intrude on the president's constitutional rights? The bill is clearly unconstitutional, and Article 171 of the Constitution specifies that, "Laws that are in conflict with the Constitution shall be null and void." Even before the Judicial Yuan has delivered an interpretation, this bill has caused disorder and unease in the legislature and society at large. The pan-blue camp's troublemaking must be condemned by the public.

The pan-blue camp has lost its hold on power. It wants to please China, and the legislature is its only remaining venue to do so. The third article of the draft bill specifies that the members of the cross-strait "peace" commission will be chosen by parties in proportion to their legislative seats. The pan-blues hold a legislative majority, and so they are deeply convinced that they will be able to control such a commission, in order to supersede the executive and initiate some trick to flatter China. The people of Taiwan must keep their eyes on this attempt to betray the nation.

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