Following President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) Jan. 1 New Year's speech, in which he proposed the "active management, effective opening" policy as a replacement for the "active opening, effective management" policy that was tantamount to a complete opening toward China, the president has now proposed some ideas that are certain to stimulate Taiwan consciousness. When expressing his vision for the new year during his Lunar New Year address, Chen stressed that he would grow even stronger in his insistence that Taiwan follow its own path and that he would give serious consideration to scrapping the National Unification Council and the national unification guidelines. He also said that, based on concern for Taiwan's national dignity and international status, the nation should not place any limitations on itself, and earnest consideration should be given to whether Taiwan should apply for UN membership under the name "Taiwan."
The vision and bold decisiveness displayed by Chen over this period, as well as his identification with and persistence in placing Taiwan first, has encouraged us to draw some preliminary conclusions: The steps that were taken over the last month amount to more than the five years that went before it. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has made localization its platform, and although its minority position in the legislature and the impact of the international situation since the party's accession to power in 2000 may not have caused it to fully abandon its ultimate goals, it has been forced to take a substantial detour. Unfortunately, this road was signposted with the "five noes," "active opening" and "reconciliation and coexistence," and was totally the wrong path for the party to follow.
Over the past five years, the DPP's attempts to rely on the "five noes" and the "active opening" policy when dealing with China and "reconciliation" and "coexistence" when dealing with the pan-blue camp have failed to produce any positive response. The result has instead hurt Taiwan's national security interests and threatened Taiwan consciousness. In other words, while the government looked for reconciliation with the pan-blue camp, the result was that when offered a slice, the pan-blues took the whole cake. The situation deteriorated and the opposition continued its obstruction of the arms procurement bill and the approval of the nominations to the Control Yuan. Nor did the "active opening" policy bring any benefits or developments to cross-strait trade. Instead, Taiwan began to lean toward China with the result that manpower, technology and capital flowed across the Taiwan Strait in ever increasing volumes, causing irreparable damage to Taiwan's economy. Although the "five noes" promise sacrificed the nation's status and dignity, it was predicated on China not using armed force against Taiwan and the hope that humiliation could buy security. Five years on, however, the situation is the direct opposite. China has not shown any self-restraint, continuing to deploy missiles along its coast opposite Taiwan and passing an "Anti-Secession" Law, proving itself to be both a belligerent and invasive power. This means that the premises on which the "five noes" were based no longer exist, and this naturally also means that the promise is no longer valid.