Former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) comment that it is unnecessary to pursue Taiwanese independence has been misunderstood and distorted by some people claim that he is giving up on independence. But Lee is actually emphasizing that Taiwan is already an independent sovereignty, and that what is important now is to improve the people's livelihoods, build national consciousness, and push for a name change and a new constitution, so that Taiwan can become a normal country.
In recent years, "Taiwan independence" theory and practice has been focused on whether a name change and a new constitution should be seen as declaration of independence, or whether Taiwan is independent, since it remains unable to enter the UN. It is indeed hard to imagine that these issues will be clarified, as there are several different interpretations of de facto and de jure independence.
The call for "Taiwanese independence" may confuse the international community, making them believe that Taiwan is a part of China. Thus, we may all be trapped by Beijing's logic that Taiwan is a part of China. Therefore, from the perspective of ensuring Taiwan's sovereignty, the discourse that the nation is already an independent state that does not have to pursue independence is undoubtedly the most feasible.
Still, we cannot ignore the fact that Taiwan is isolated internationally by China, while at the same time being hampered by the pro-unification camp and its boycotts. If the pro-independence camp ignores reality and gives an inch by looking for compromise, the pro-unification camp will take a foot. But if we face the problem squarely, unification-independence confrontation will occur, causing greater internal conflict. This is the sadness of Taiwan.
Another problem that must not be ignored is the poison left by the half-century-long colonial rule of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Consequently, any push for a name change and a new constitution would trigger fights between the two camps, proving that this is a real issue. This is why Lee deeply hurt the dark greens' feelings with the comment that the unification-independence issue was a "non-issue."
Nevertheless, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has undeniably treated the "real issue" of independence/unification as a "non-issue" during its seven years in power. For example, before elections, the DPP repeatedly calls for a name change and a new constitution, repeating the "one country on each side" and "Taiwan first" slogans, but then embraces economic integration, the active opening of direct cross-strait links, and reconciliation and coexistence promoting eventual economic unification after elections, forgetting all real issues such as the KMT's stolen assets, transitional justice, name changes, a new constitution and domestic investment.
I agree with the DPP's recent move to change the names of state-run enterprises, but these moves are merely a warm-up for the 2008 presidential campaign. If these steps had been taken in 2000 or 2004, they would have received much greater support.
I believe that for the sake of Taiwan, the argument over "independence" and "real issues and non-issues" inside the pro-independence camp should end now, and pro-green supporters should instead point their guns at the same target. Externally, we have to be aware that Taiwan is already independent; internally, we have to push for a change to the nation's title, a new constitution and domestic investment.
Unification-independence conflicts are inevitable issues in this process. There is no other solution apart from facing them head-on, because there is absolutely no middle path in the pursuit of Taiwan's independence.
Huang Tien-lin is a former national policy adviser to the president.
Translated by Eddy Chang
“Testy,” “divisive,” “frigid,” “an exchange of insults” were some of the media descriptions of last month’s meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and their Chinese counterparts. Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass said that, rather than the “deft handling” needed in US-China relations, this encounter was “mishandled, a terrible start [with] way too much public signaling.” Yet, contrary to conventional wisdom, the acrimonious encounter with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) and Chinese Central Foreign Affairs Commission Director Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪) was a great success for US diplomacy
A meeting between US and Chinese officials in Anchorage, Alaska, last month, showed that the US-China struggle will no doubt continue during the administration of US President Joe Biden. The struggle between democracies and authoritarian regimes is likely to last decades, because it stems from the fundamental difference in the two value systems — a difference that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sees as an existential threat. The CCP fears that Chinese might someday demand the protection of individual liberties, and has therefore waged a years-long “total war” to undermine democracies, which eventually prompted the US to fight back. Within the
Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) offered his resignation to Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) in the aftermath of Friday last week’s fatal Taroko Express No. 408 crash. Su declined, asking him to stay for the time being and deal with the response, as that was the responsible thing to do. The complex question of responsibility for the tragedy will be answered more fully after investigations and reviews have been completed. It is right that Lin offered to take the fall, and just as right that Su asked him to stay to oversee the response. While neither are completely