Fri, Nov 10, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Cross-strait links threaten economy

By The Liberty Times Editorial

For two years and five months, pan-blue legislators have been obstructing the arms procurement budget which the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government proposed in the legislature in June 2000, even denying the legislature the opportunity to review it. Meanwhile, China's military spending has seen annual double-digit growth. It has purchased advanced weapons from Russia and the number of missiles it has targeted at Taiwan now exceeds 800.

Aware of the growing cross-strait military imbalance, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Stephen Young made an unusual public statement calling on the legislature to pass the US-proposed arms sales in this legislative session. Young stressed that Taiwan must continue to strengthen its defense capabilities and should not continue to allow its security to be held hostage by partisan political conflict.

Is it true that the arms procurement budget has been stalled so long in the legislature mainly because of partisan conflict? Young was in fact showing restraint because he had to conform to diplomatic protocol. After two years and five months in which the pan-blue camp blocked the bill 63 times, the US has gradually formed a clear picture of the selfish motives and ambitions behind the pan-blues' "impressive" reasons for opposing the arms bill. Just as an AIT official who requested anonymity recently said, certain legislators have obstructed the arms procurement budget simply because that would put them in good stead with China. There are basically two reasons why the pan-blues are so hell-bent on opposing the arms procurement bill: they want eventual unification with China and they want to perpetuate their cooperation with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). They're just afraid to come out and say so.

In their eagerness to berate Young for his statement, however, the pan-blues have inadvertently revealed the ugly truth about their two secret ambitions. In addition to verbally abusing Young for interfering with Taiwan's domestic affairs, calling for him to be deported and calling him an arms dealer, the pan-blue camp has also demanded that normalized cross-strait direct transportation links should be offered in exchange for legislative approval of the arms bill. It is quite incomprehensible why the pan-blue camp would attempt to forcefully tie the issue of cross-strait direct transportation to the approval of the arms procurement budget, since these are entirely unrelated issues.

In fact, normalizing cross-strait direct transportation links is the most important link in China's strategy to promote cross-strait unification through economic incentives. By making Taiwan economically dependent on it, China will be able to capitalize on the advantage offered by its much greater size to drain Taiwan of capital and talent, and thus gradually achieve unification. This is also the unification tactic that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and CCP have strived for.

KMT and People First Party legislators have recently also tried to amend the Statute Governing the Relations Between the People of the Taiwan and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) to speed up the opening of direct links, claiming that it would salvage Taiwan's economy, when in fact they are running Beijing's errands. It is all too clear that Beijing wants to use Chinese tourism to Taiwan as bait to force Taiwan to fall in line and accept regular cross-strait charter flights as domestic flights, as well as substantively opening up direct cross-strait links.

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