Sat, Oct 29, 2011 - Page 8 News List

Build consensus, then discuss peace

By Joseph Wu 吳釗燮

For countries that have a stake in maintaining the cross-strait “status quo,” the impact of such negotiations and the follow-up peace agreement on the regional strategic environment would be considerable. Without notifying and consulting Taiwan’s key international partners, such as the US and Japan, the surprise announcement of the potential pursuit of a peace agreement with China is simply reckless.

China has already placed great pressure on the US regarding the sale of defense weapons to Taiwan.

One inevitable result of a formal end of the civil war and a peace agreement would be that the foundation for such security cooperation would no longer exist, as Taiwan would have become part of China. Similarly, the foundation for the Taiwan Relations Act would no longer exist.

China’s record of following through on agreements has been questionable. Exiled Tibetans continue to remind us of the outcome of their “peace agreement” with China in 1951: It invited the Chinese invasion and a massacre. Peace is easy; it can be reached if China renounces the use of force in accordance with the UN Charter.

Cross-strait policies have been divisive and often controversial in Taiwan. A national leader should enter into a consensus-building process domestically before any political talks with China.

Unfortunately, Ma’s policy-making style is the opposite of this and has further divided and consequently weakened Taiwan.

Joseph Wu is former chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council and former representative to the US.

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