Mon, Oct 02, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Is China's `unlimited warfare' succeeding?

By Huang Tien-lin 黃天麟

The ultimate aim of unlimited warfare is to make your enemy do things that run counter to his interests.

Although the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) advocates Taiwanese independence, it has come under the influence of certain Taiwanese media outlets, businesspeople and academics who have led it into Beijing's trap of "unification through economic means" by adopting an "active opening" toward China.

Having sown the seeds of its own misfortune, Taiwan is now faced with economic stagnation and popular discontent. The red-clad throngs occupying Ketagalan Boulevard and calling for President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) resignation are a clear example of the power of unlimited warfare.

But even though unlimited warfare is omnipresent, it is not omnipotent. Prior to 1987, Taiwan responded to any whiff of cooperation with China with three absolute principles: No contact, no negotiations and no compromise. This is why China's unlimited warfare initially proved ineffective in Taiwan. Non-governmental contact between the two sides commenced in 1987 after Taiwan allowed its citizens to visit relatives in China.

When former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) was in office, he made great efforts to promote Taiwanese consciousness. That is why the nation managed to stick to a clear common goal: Constructing Taiwan as a sovereign political entity. Democratization and localization became part of mainstream thinking.

When Chen came to power in 2000, he announced his "four noes and one without" pledge in dealing with cross-strait affairs, rashly halting the transformation of Taiwan into an independent political entity. In 2001, the DPP passed a resolution for the development of Taiwan's economy, which also set the tone for cross-strait economic integration.

This began a six-year period in which the governing and opposition parties competed on who could open up to China the fastest. This is the cause of the difficulties that Taiwan faces today.

The misconception that cross-strait economic integration and the pursuit of Taiwanese sovereignty can co-exist set back the struggle to establish Taiwan as an independent political entity. That is why the DPP only barely won the 2004 presidential election and suffered defeat in the 2004 year-end legislative elections and last year's local government elections.

When pan-blue supporters lodged numerous protests on Ketagalan Boulevard following the 2004 presidential election, a group of DPP politicians formulated a "new culture" proposal, urging their comrades to refrain from speaking of their love for Taiwan and acknowledge that Chinese culture was the core of Taiwanese culture.

Their proposition was nothing more than a legitimization of the behavior of those who opposed the outcome of the 2004 presidential election. After failing to pursue localization, the DPP soon lost public support.

There was another case of Taiwan taking sides with the enemy last March. After Beijing promulgated its "Anti-Secession Law," the Taiwanese government adopted a hands-off approach toward former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chen (連戰) and People First Party Chairman James Soong's (宋楚瑜) "peace visits" to China. The government's attitude was construed as an endorsement of Lien and Soong's treachery.

The Chen government's failed policies and corruption have been important factors in Taiwan's decline. However, it is the astounding effectiveness of China's covert unlimited warfare that has made the DPP leadership unwittingly side with the enemy.

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