At a recent press conference, American Institute in Taiwan Director Stephen Young stated that the Legislative Yuan should promptly pass the arms procurement bill and strengthen Taiwan's defensive capabilities. His comments came under attack from the pan-blue camp, and some have even called for Young to be sent home.
An editorial in the Chinese-language United Daily News stated that "the Legislative Yuan should not pass the arms procurement bill this session." The People First Party (PFP) even declared that if a bill on direct flights between Taiwan and China was not passed, they would not consider passing the arms bill.
Everybody is aware that there is a marked military imbalance across the Taiwan Strait. China's annual military budget exceeds US$90 billion (NT$2.89 trillion) making it the third-largest in the world. China not only has 800 missiles deployed and trained on Taiwan, it also plans to have three aircraft carriers within 10 years.
In the face of this nearby enemy, Taiwan should naturally strengthen its national defense by passing the arms budget. It should also call a spade a spade and view China as an enemy, as well as strengthen cooperation with the US military. This is especially true because as China's economy takes off, many countries are scared to offend Beijing because of their business interests. In a situation where only the US dares to sell Taipei weapons, the ruling and opposition parties ought to focus on bilateral military relations with Washington.
Instead, even though the US president authorized the orginal weapons package five years ago, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and PFP have blocked the bill in the legislature 61 times. What other legislature in the world is willing to put national security at this sort of risk?
Young's comments caused those pan-blue lawmakers who care nothing about China's threat to national security to shout about "defending the sovereignty of the Republic of China [ROC]." They seem to have forgotten that on Double Ten National Day, they had made a tremendous ruckus in front of Young and other foreign dignitaries, showing no respect whatsoever for the country.
Now they righteously play up respect for the nation and its sovereignty, but do they really care about either? When President Chen Shui-bian's (
When the planes carrying then-KMT chairman Lien Chan (
These people not only fail to speak sensibly, they fit the classical definition of cowards. As the old Chinese saying goes, they "behave like a hooligan in front of a gentleman, and when faced with a bully act like his grandson."
Seeing the pan-blue's unconcealed display of anti-US and pro-China sentiment leaves the onlooker baffled. Dictator Chiang Kai-shek (
Is it not the KMT and PFP who, unhappy that Taiwanese people are in power, have unhesitatingly embraced the CCP, gambled with the ROC's security, turned their backs on the anti-communism of the two Chiangs and forgotten their own roots?
Cao Changqing is a freelance journalist and Chinese dissident traveling in the US.
Translated by Jason Cox
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