Tue, Oct 03, 2017 - Page 8 News List

Lai has the right order of priorities in mind

By Jhang Shih-hsien 張世賢

After Premier William Lai (賴清德) made a pro-Taiwanese independence statement that was in line with maintaining the “status quo,” many people have been asking how to follow through on that statement.

It was the kind of statement that seems to make perfect sense, but in the end it all depends on how important Taiwan really is.

China has been bellicose and loud ever since its economy took off.

Taiwan on the other hand has long been weakened by the corruption inherent in the party-state system and the international community in general has taken the view that it is declining, with the result that they mostly remain silent out of fear of China’s threats.

If Taiwan could hold itself to higher standards and would command more universal respect, like Israel, China would not be able to suppress Taiwan, no matter how loud it is and how much intimidation it uses.

As the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) said in its Sept. 28 editorial: After World War II, many colonies became independent countries, while Taiwan — after Japan renounced sovereignty and it in effect fell under US protection — had an opportunity to shake off Japanese colonialism and found a new state.

However, major changes in the international situation resulted in democratic countries tacitly accepting Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) “temporary” occupation of Taiwan to prevent communism from spreading, a situation that has remained until this day and has blocked Taiwan’s road toward the establishment of a state.

This historical process has turned Taiwan into an international orphan, but following the obscurantist educational policies of the party-state system, many Taiwanese are unaware of this situation, and most countries avoid offending China and are not doing much to solve the situation.

The result is that the opposition among Taiwanese against the Chinese suppression of Taiwan is not strong enough and that it is very rare to hear other countries criticize China.

This is why, if Taiwan wants to distance itself from China and become truly independent and sovereign, the most important issue is to develop the national economy, improve living standards and reduce the attraction of the Chinese economy.

This is the only way to provide the economic stability required to focus on national defense and resist external enemies.

It would allow for education to be improved, the public to be given a correct understanding of history and culture, and for the government to earnestly protect this beautiful country that is Taiwan.

After taking over as premier, Lai immediately said that reviving the economy and strengthening Taiwan would be his policy focus, which is entirely correct.

Lai has long experience in local politics and the national legislature, and has a deep understanding of the public’s problems and issues, the needs of different regions and national issues.

He is taking a soft approach while at the same time being proactive, and this new and fresh approach has given the government’s approval rating an immediate boost.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has picked the right man for the job, and we are finally getting a taste of what it means when the pan-green camp controls the government as well as the legislature.

One can only hope that after Lai implements his policy to strengthen Taiwan, Taiwan will one day receive the same respect that Israel does.

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