Wed, Dec 02, 2015 - Page 8 News List

Safeguarding democracy, security

By Parris Chang 張旭成

Tsai took Ma to task for not mentioning the ROC and failing to speak of “democracy, freedom and the right of the 23 million Taiwanese to choose freely.”

It would be premature to conclude that Xi has succeeded in obtaining Ma’s help to confine the nation’s future to the “one China” cage and deprive Taiwanese of their right to determine their destiny. This is because Taiwan is a democracy, and its people can and will decide the nation’s fate and the future of cross-strait relations in the elections.

In a poll published by the Liberty Times [the Taipei Times’ sister paper] on Thursday last week, more than 59 percent of respondents said they do not consider the Ma-Xi summit “helpful” to KMT candidates in the presidential and legislative races, while only 19.27 percent of respondents said otherwise. The poll also showed that Tsai commands 47.86 percent of public support, while support for KMT presidential candidate Eric Chu (朱立倫) and People First Party presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜) was only 13.87 percent and 6.89 percent respectively. There are clear indications that Tsai, who has campaigned on safeguarding democracy and security, will receive the people’s mandate to become the next president.

A free, democratic and secure Taiwan in the heart of Asia is crucial to US security interests in the region. Hence, it is imperative for Washington to safeguard the ability of Taiwanese to determine their own future in the face of increasing Chinese military threats. Reports from Washington that the US will announce in the middle of this month a US$1 billion arms package to Taiwan, its first new sale in more than four years, represents an encouraging signal of renewed US commitment to Taiwan’s security.

Parris H. Chang, professor emeritus of political science and former director of the Center of East Asian Studies at Pennsylvania State University, is president of the Taiwan Institute for Political, Economic and Strategic Studies.

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