Fri, Nov 13, 2009 - Page 8 News List

An open letter to Taiwan’s president

Good governance, accountability and transparency based on the fundamental principles of freedom, democracy, justice and human rights are all the more essential now that your government is moving Taiwan on a path of closer economic ties with China. We believe that a decrease of tension across the Taiwan Strait would indeed be welcome, but emphasize that this should not be done at the expense of the hard-won democracy and human rights in Taiwan itself.

Thus, the process of improving relations with your large neighbor across the Taiwan Strait needs to be an open, deliberative and democratic process, in full consultation with both the Legislative Yuan and the democratic opposition, and fully transparent to the general public.

We are thus pleased to hear that officials of your government have stated that any agreement with China would need to have both a domestic consensus, including approval by the Legislative Yuan, and acceptance by the international community.

We trust this process will be open and consultative in ways that respect the democratic traditions begun so promisingly two decades ago. Indeed, we emphasize that a country can only grow and prosper if it has diversified ties — economically and politically — to other countries.

Too close an embrace with one neighbor will expose that country to the risks of volatility in the neighboring country, in particular if that neighbor remains authoritarian and openly disrespectful of Taiwan’s democratic achievements.

Mr. President, we wish to emphasize again that, as international scholars and writers who have followed, supported and applauded Taiwan’s impressive transition to democracy, we feel strongly that Taiwan should be more fully accepted by the international community as a full and equal partner.

This can only be achieved if Taiwan ensures that its democratic achievements are safeguarded, that its sovereignty, human rights and fundamental freedoms are protected, and that the democratic fabric of society is strengthened so the country is ready to meet the challenges ahead.

Respectfully yours,

NAT BELLOCCHI

Former chairman, American Institute in Taiwan

COEN BLAAUW

Formosan Association for Public Affairs, Washington

GORDON CHANG

Author, “The Coming ­Collapse of China”

EDWARD FRIEDMAN

Professor of political ­science and East Asian ­studies, ­University of Wisconsin

PETER CHOW

Professor of economics, City College of New York

STEPHANE CORCUFF

Associate professor of ­political science, China and Taiwan studies,

University of Lyon

MICHAEL DANIELSEN

Chairman, Taiwan Corner, Copenhagen


JUNE TEUFEL DREYER

Professor of political science, University of Miami

JOHN TKACIK

Former senior research fellow at The Heritage ­Foundation and former officer at the Taiwan Coordination Desk, Department of State, Washington

TERRI GILES

Executive director, Formosa Foundation, Los Angeles

MICHAEL RAND HOARE

Emeritus reader at the University of London

CHRISTOPHER HUGHES

Professor of international relations, London School of Economics and Political Science

THOMAS HUGHES

Former chief of staff to the late senator Claiborne Pell, Washington

BRUCE JACOBS

Professor of Asian languages and studies, Monash ­University

RICHARD KAGAN

Professor emeritus of ­history, Hamline University

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