Sat, Nov 11, 2006 - Page 8 News List

No room for compromise with cross-strait policy

By Huang Tien-lin 黃天鱗

It has been almost two-and-a-half years since the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration proposed the arms procurement package.

During this period, the number of Chinese missiles targeting Taiwan has almost doubled, and China has also purchased Sovremenny-class destroyers and Kilo-class submarines from Russia, increasing the military imbalance in the Taiwan Strait.

According to news reports, Beijing has drafted a "seven-day warfare" plan against Taipei. We are obviously on the verge of a crisis. Since the arms purchase was first proposed by the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government, but approved by US President George W. Bush's administration only after the transition of power, the plan is seven years old. This waste of time is unthinkable.

The divergence in national identification has also contributed to social instability. Not long ago, Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) was even criticized by the legislature for promoting de-Sinicization because he had a single-volume Taiwanese history book made. Some legislators demanded that he resign. "Greater China" thinking still exists in Taiwan's educational circles. As a result, many college students are unfamiliar with our history and geography, even believing that it was the Japanese who bombed Taiwan during World War II when it in fact was the US.

China-leaning "economic integration" is the biggest crisis facing Taiwan. Weak national identity and "Greater China" ideology are Beijing's economic weapons of unification. China has attracted US$300 billion (nearly NT$10 trillion) of investment capital from Taiwan over 15 years of economic engagement, along with technology, management and markets.

As Taiwan's economic growth has slowed, contributing to growing unemployment and public discontent, support has increased for the pan-blue camp. This has resulted in a stronger pro-China media that controls the direction of public opinion.

They have launched fierce attacks on the "no haste, be patient" and "active management" policies while praising direct cross-strait links. Legislators have fought over liberalization of the Statute Governing Relations Between Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例).

In July, the struggle over cross-strait charter flights and the 40-percent ceiling for investment in China at the Conference on Sustaining Taiwan's Economic Development highlighted serious divisions between the pro-Taiwan and pro-China camps. The ideological clash between the camps is chaotic.

The economic infighting is accompanied by political conflict. The pro-blue media strategically uncovered the Sogo gift voucher scandal and the "state affairs fund" scandal, which triggered massive protests on Ketagalan Boulevard starting in September. The "anti-corruption campaign" reached a climax with two major demonstrations on Sept. 15 and Oct. 10, but the force of the campaign has since diminished because of public pressure.

The indictment of first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) on Nov. 3, however, had an unexpected impact on the political scene, and further polarization seems inevitable. I worry that this will cause the state apparatus to tread water and that the pan-blue camp's conspiracy will be beneficial to a third party.

On Oct. 31, the pan-blue camp's legislators blocked the arms procurement plan for the 62nd time. Some even suggested that the arms procurement bill be tied to the opening of direct cross-strait links. Is the DPP government prepared to sacrifice Taiwan's sovereignty for such a compromise?

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