Lee says China causing a new `cold war'

STAFF WRITER

Mon, Oct 24, 2005 - Page 1

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) warned that a new global showdown could be emerging because of China's expansionist ambitions, and said that democratic Taiwan was on the frontlines of that conflict.

"Although the Cold War has come to an end, a new cold war may arise," Lee said.

Lee, who is travelling in the US, made the remarks to hundreds of Taiwanese expatriates at a forum held by the Taiwan Advocates in a conference center in Pasadena, California.

"China's attempt to annex Taiwan remains unchanged," Lee said.

"What's worse, the anti-democratic forces within the nation are now allying themselves with Beijing to undermine the democratic achievements of [Taiwan]."

Speaking of Taiwan's future, Lee stressed that the Taiwanese people's drive to maintain the welfare of their homeland will never change, now that their freedom has been won after hundreds of years of colonial rule.

Taiwan should seek to map out an advantageous strategy that recognizes the big power struggle that is in the making: the US is pursuing goals from a global perspective, while China is attempting to become a regional hegemony.

With regard to the nation's economic performance, Lee said that Taiwan's economy should grow at the rate of 6 to 7 percent annually. In the past, Lee said, it was considered terrible if the employment rate hit 2.5 percent.

However, it has now climbed up to 4.4 percent, while growth is now forecast to hit less than 4 percent this year.

"This is what the government has to review," Lee said. "There is no way the nation can enhance its `Taiwan awareness' if the government cannot even solve the economic problems plaguing its people."