Sun, Feb 26, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Finally, some courage from Chen

The Liberty Times Editorial

Despite heavy external pressure and attempts by local pro-China groups to create problems, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has decided to abolish the National Unification Council (NUC) and the unification guidelines.

When Chen received Republican Representative Robert Simmons of Connecticut, he said the council was "an absurd product of an absurd era" and that it violates the spirit of democracy.

Since the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has already modified its stance by saying that Taiwanese independence is one of the public's options, it is only sensible that the council and the guidelines be abolished.

At that meeting, Chen also said that the "1992 consensus" was a lie.

He said that over the past few years, Taiwan's opposition parties, China and the US have again and again demanded the acceptance of the "1992 consensus." Now former Mainland Affairs Council chairman and KMT Legislator Su Chi (蘇起) has admitted that he made up the "consensus."

Chen also accused the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party of cheating the world on the matter. When KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou, (馬英九) during an interview with the BBC a few days ago, stressed that the "1992 consensus" should be made the foundation for negotiations with China, he, too, cheated himself and everyone else.

Chen's courage in pushing for the abolition of the council and the guidelines is significant.

The change of power in 2000 was an excellent opportunity for Taiwan to become a normal country.

But the new government only made tiny steps in this direction due to restrictions imposed by the "four noes" and the "1992 consensus."

Binding itself hand and foot to these ideas, the government also adopted the policy of opening up Chinese trade, which resulted in an outflow of capital, technology and skills.

So, on the one hand, Taiwan has been prepared to strike compromises and humiliate itself, and on the other it has opened the door and welcomed the bandits inside.

It is a situation that has proved difficult to undo.

The tragic thing is that Taiwanese know they have been wronged, but are unable to put things right.

Taiwan's promise to abide by the "four noes" was never going to convince China to abandon the threat to invade. Instead, there was a rapid increase in the number of missiles pointed in this direction and the passage of the "Anti-Secession" Law.

Since China does not intend to give up the option of military action, there is no need to stick to any pledge.

Chen's efforts to abolish the council and guidelines does not violate the "four noes" pledge anyway. He is only terminating the operation of a government agency and a doctrine that has not been convened or invoked in six years.

As Chen's proposal only requires an administrative procedure, how is it going to aggravate cross-strait tensions?

The reason cross-strait relations have not improved is because China does not want to renounce force, nor is it willing to treat Taiwan on an equal footing. Taiwan receives no goodwill from across the Strait.

It is China that is attempting to alter the cross-strait status quo and blame Taiwan for escalating cross-strait tensions.

There is now a clear consensus in Taiwan that only Taiwanese may determine the nation's future. The KMT, whose stated goal is unification, has also recently shifted its stance. However, the guidelines see unification as the only option.

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