The pan-blue camp portrays the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) as the only obstacle to the passage of the amendments to the 28th, 29th and 30th clauses of the Statute Governing the Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條利) in the legislature. This runs counter to the truth.
First, from an economic perspective, if the government opens cross-strait direct transportation links, even more Taiwanese companies will pour their capital into China's markets, having a direct impact on employment opportunities in Taiwan.
Second, from a sovereignty perspective, the key factor affecting the long-delayed establishment of direct transportation links does not lie in Taiwan, but in China's unwillingness to engage in "nation-to-nation" negotiations with Taiwan's government on this matter. That is, China will only negotiate with Taiwan about this if it accepts the "one-China" principle. China's goal is to emphasize that Taiwan is not a country. When the pan-blue camp under these circumstances proposes to complete legislation establishing direct links, it in effect negates the government by depriving it of its power.
Third, from a social perspective, as more and more Taiwanese businessmen travel to China and work there, many of them have developed extramarital relationships with Chinese women, creating a host of domestic problems. Besides, many smugglers are bringing uninspected agricultural produce from China into Taiwan, making disease prevention an increasingly difficult problem, while an endless catalogue of social problems are connected to the illegal immigration of Chinese prostitutes to Taiwan. It can be foreseen that should the legislature pass legislation establishing direct cross-strait links, Taiwan would face serious problems with law and order.
Fourth, from a national security perspective, China has yet to renounce the use of force against Taiwan. Additionally, Beijing passed the "Anti-Secession" Law last year, highlighting its hostility toward Taiwan and its willingness to attack the nation.
If the cross-strait direct links bill is approved by the legislature in the absence of serious consideration, bilateral air links will be virtually free from any barriers. With the two sides not having built a consensus on the establishment of an air transportation identification system, one wonders how Taiwan will handle the gravity of the situation should cross-strait tension escalate.
The TSU's insistence on opposing the direct transport links bill is based on safeguarding Taiwan's overall interests, which is different from the pan-blue camp's incessant obstruction of legislative bills solely for its individual interest. We will also be willing to extend conditional support for the cross-strait links bill as long as the aforementioned issues have been dealt with, especially the issue of national sovereignty, which must not be blurred. The TSU will support a bill based on national interest. If that is not the case, then the TSU will continue to safeguard Taiwan's national interests.
David Kuo is the director of the TSU Policy Center.
Translated by Daniel Cheng and Lin Ya-ti