Sun, Jun 26, 2011 - Page 8 News List

Safeguarding Taiwan’s freedom

By Li Thian-hok 李天福

According to Chinese jurist and writer Yuan Hongbing (袁紅冰) in “The Taiwan Crisis: China’s Plan to Annex Taiwan Without a Battle by 2012,” former paramount Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) drafted a secret political will before his death in which he focused on Taiwan. The most crucial section reads: “Advocates of freedom in the bourgeois class ... are itching to follow the so-called ‘Taiwan experience’... Settling the Taiwan problem directly affects the existence of the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] and socialism in China ... The Taiwanese problem must be resolved by the end of Comrade Hu Jintao’s (胡錦濤) second term. Do not go beyond 2012. I hope that the 18th Party Congress will also be able to celebrate solving the Taiwan problem.”

In February 2008, the CCP held a joint meeting of the Political Bureau and the Central Military Commission at a strategic command center deep within a cavern in Beijing’s Xi Shan District. At this event Hu presented a top secret report about China’s historical mission. Here are some excerpts: “Historically, the West used battleships and opium to colonize China. Now the roles are reversed. We will seize the opportunity that capitalism’s economic crisis has presented us with. Through the opening-up policy, we will gradually make them Socialist China’s economic and cultural colonies ... Ultimately, we must free all of mankind through communism ... Solving the Taiwan problem is the first step we must take to fulfill our mission ... if we do not end the Taiwan problem, opposition activities attempting to topple our socialist government within and outside the country will run rampant ... Hence, quickly resolving the Taiwan problem is essential to keeping Socialism in China alive and to keeping the party in power.”

Hu’s term of office ends at the end of 2012 and as such he has a great incentive to achieve the annexation of Taiwan by then, to glorify his legacy. His chances look good, too, since the military balance across the Taiwan Strait has clearly shifted in favor of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan’s economic dependence on China has increased dramatically under the aegis of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration. Beijing is pressing the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to start political talks on how to implement unification.

Many Taiwanese who favor preserving Taiwan’s democracy and its de facto independence from China hang their hope on a victory by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in January’s presidential election. A DPP victory is indispensable to Taiwan’s freedom, because a defeat would be regarded as an endorsement from a majority of voters of the KMT’s unification agenda. However, a victory by the DPP, while necessary, would not be sufficient to preserve the “status quo.” The KMT could still sign a peace accord with Beijing between January and May next year, thus formally surrendering to the PRC. If a victorious DPP refuses to honor the accord China could launch a military assault on Taiwan to coerce capitulation.

What happens then would depend on how the US reacts. Recently there have been debates among US academics and retired officials about whether to abandon Taiwan (to remove a thorn in the side of better US-China relations) and even whether to retreat from Asia and to protect the US homeland through “offshore balancing” (withdrawing the forward deployed forces from East Asia and revoking alliances). It is, therefore, reassuring that US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates emphasized the US commitment to maintain a robust military presence in Asia at a meeting with Asian defense ministers and military commanders in Singapore on June 4.

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