Mon, Mar 10, 2014 - Page 8 News List

Slippery slope in cross-strait pacts

By Chiang Huang-chih 姜皇池

When Taiwan and China signed the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) in 2010, the government said that the pact would boost the economy and drive the GDP to take a great leap forward. Did that happen?

Then the government said that the ECFA failed to achieve its goal because the resulting deregulation was not far-reaching enough and that it was necessary to sign a cross-strait service trade agreement.

In addition, there are plans to sign an agreement on trade in goods, an agreement on aviation safety and airworthiness standards and an agreement on taxation — all of which could be proposed at any time now.

Although meteorological and geographic information involves national security, Taiwan and China are still exchanging such information. Why and how can Taiwan benefit from this? The government has offered no explanation.

It echoes the last scene of French author Alphonse Daudet’s story The Last Lesson — in which an instructor teaches a final French language lesson before the French government ceded his hometown to Prussia.

As Daudet wrote: “‘My friends,’ said he, ‘I — I — ‘ But something choked him. He could not go on. Then he turned to the blackboard, took a piece of chalk, and, bearing on with all his might, he wrote as large as he could: ‘Vive La France!’ Then he stopped and leaned his head against the wall, and, without a word, he made a gesture to us with his hand: ‘School is dismissed — you may go.’”

Remembering that story, “Say Goodbye to Taiwan,” an article by John Mearsheimer, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago, published by the National Interest journal, in which he predicts that China’s continued rise might lead to Taiwan’s unification with China, comes as no surprise.

Chiang Huang-chih is a professor of law at National Taiwan University.

Translated by Eddy Chang

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