Thu, Nov 29, 2007 - Page 8 News List

LETTERS: Vote for Taiwan, not ROC

The latest attempt by the government to apply for UN membership using the name Taiwan has met with outrageous summary rejection for a second time. But it's not entirely UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's fault. For too long, Taiwan has called itself the Republic of China (ROC) and yet few buy that fiction.

The "China" fiction has served the real China well. Over the years, it has called Taiwan a "breakaway renegade province" to justify its designs on this nation.

It's time for the government to drop the misleading appellation that Beijing uses for its propaganda, for it has become a monkey on the back of Taiwan; the UN referendum is a long overdue step in the right direction.

It stokes uneasiness in the international community for fear of an international spillover, especially at a time when the US has its hands tied and the tense US-Taiwan relationship does not help. But there are some positive signs -- such as the nuanced statement by the US State Department in September reminding the world of the unsettled sovereign status of Taiwan. The latest resolution by the House of Representatives is also encouraging.

Furthermore, the world is increasingly supportive of Taiwan's endeavors. Polls in the US and Japan clearly show people in both countries are sympathetic to Taiwan and the recent statement by 84 EU parliamentarians is another positive indicator.

Undoubtedly, the referendum is a part of election strategy. But the dynamic is so powerful that even the pro-China Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has chosen to join the bandwagon to "rejoin" the UN as the ROC.

The communist party seems to be less belligerent due to pressing internal problems. Breakneck economic growth has brought myriad social problems that are reaching crisis levels and could shake its grip on power if not corrected.

Beijing is happy to have found a tool for its Taiwan policy -- a KMT dreaming of eventual "reunification." China will use business as bait to garner votes for the KMT and it will further constrain Taiwan's international activities.

The Democratic Progressive Party's presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) is confronted with a potential economic pitfall, but the problem -- a widening income gap and increasing unemployment -- is common among advanced economies and a problem of adjusting to globalization. In Taiwan's case, this is exacerbated by massive China-bound industrial and capital outflows.

This requires thoughtfully conceived industrial policies, but Hsieh should not compromise his party's core values to cast a wider net for a few more votes from greedy business groups. In the face of such stark realities, we Taiwanese have to close ranks in the interest of Taiwan.

The goal is to have a new government that will unequivocally represent a democratic Taiwanese nation. A KMT victory in the coming election will signal an irreparable relapse of what we have achieved over the last few years and jeopardize a future independent Taiwan.

Andrew Chang

Thunderbird, Arizona

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