Mon, Mar 28, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Lee pushes for action after rally

MOMENTUM The former president said the public will voiced on Saturday should be followed up by policies that will address the growing China threat

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government must respond to the Taiwanese people's outcry during Saturday's rally against China's "Anti-Secession" Law with concrete actions, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said yesterday. It should urgently consider a comprehensive adjustment in its China policy and put the brakes on negotiations for direct cross-strait travel, he said.

"The March 26 march ended perfectly, yet it wasn't just the close of a political carnival," Lee said. "It was a new starting point for consolidating people's identification with Taiwan and declaring the Taiwanese people's strong will to defend their right of self-determination."

Lee made the comments at a symposium held by Taiwan Advocates, which invited academics and analysts to discuss the impact of China's Anti-Secession Law on cross-strait relations.

"That 1 million Taiwanese people came out was a display of the mainstream of Taiwanese public opinion, and officials should respond to that with practical actions and policies," Lee said. "Otherwise the march will just have been emotional venting, which won't solve the current [cross-strait] problems."

Lee said that China's legislation can be viewed as a watershed in cross-strait relations, and that the apparently negative development is also an opportunity for Taiwan.

"China transformed its political propaganda, which sold `peaceful unification' to Taiwan, from an ambiguous strategy accompanied by economic bait and military threats, to a legal war -- which has escalated tensions in the Taiwan Strait to a critical point and forced the world to alter its strategy in order to counter China," Lee said. "Taiwan should take advantage of this favorable moment to seek solid international support, so that we can advance the movement of making Taiwan become a normal country," he said.

Responding to a statement from Chi Mei Group founder Hsu Wen-long (許文龍) on Saturday that said "Taiwan and the mainland belong to one China," Lee said it was a consequence of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) economic policy of "active opening" to China.

"This is what I often say: those who hunt ghosts will be caught by ghosts instead," Lee said, citing a Taiwanese proverb.

Lee urged the government to completely adjust its China policy with new perspectives. It should stop implementing its "active opening" policy blindly, and instead keep in mind the "no haste, be patient" policy that he advocated as president.

"The so-called `no haste, be patient' policy is not a closed-door policy but a firewall that protected Taiwan's economic security and even national security," Lee said. "But regrettably, the government and opposition were so gullible that they bought the lie that the trend of Sinicization equals the trend of globalization. This has caused Taiwan's economic security to be weakened by loopholes."

Lin Hsiang-kai (林向愷), a professor of economics at National Taiwan University (NTU), pointed out that the unemployment rate in Taiwan has risen along with increased Taiwanese investment in China, and that the trend would likely worsen unless the government takes measures to stop it.

"If the government continues conducting the `active opening' policy yet fails to put effective controls on those corporations investing in China, unemployment will rise and the gap in income distribution will keep widening," Lin said. "If that happens, Taiwan will become besieged by China's economic power and have no choice but to accept unification."

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