Lien’s ‘Taiwan is a troublemaker’ comment draws fire

By Mo Yan-chih and Chen Ching-min  /  Staff reporters

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 - Page 1

Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan’s (連戰) recent comment to outgoing Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) that “Taiwan is a troublemaker” drew criticism from opposition legislators yesterday.

In a meeting with Hu on Tuesday, Lien said that “for a long time internationally Taiwan has been [seen as] in truth a troublemaker.”

Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) yesterday said that Lien, having been minister of foreign affairs, premier and vice president, should know full well that Taiwan is suffering from China’s oppression on issues of sovereignty, international participation and diplomacy.

For him to accept Beijing’s so-called “one China” policy and cause the nation to be oppressed, Lien is “Taiwan’s troublemaker,” Hsu said.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said that Lien’s comments contrasted with his stance in 2000 when he criticized China for being the troublemaker.

Lien’s remarks now are an effort to win the affection of Xi, Pan said.

“Lien had been nurtured by the nation, has served in high-ranking positions and is even now earning a large pension. His words contradict what the nation has done for him,” Pan said.

While Lien was the first to make the remark to Chinese leaders, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said in March 2009 at a press conference in Belize: “We should turn Taiwan from a troublemaker into a peacemaker through reconciliation across the Taiwan Strait.”

Another comment made by Lien also drew criticism from the opposition, who said it belittled Taiwan’s sovereignty.

Lien, in a meeting with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Beijing on Monday, said that cross-strait relations should be based on the principles of “the one China framework, cross-strait peace, mutual interest and integration, and revitalization of the Zhonghua minzu (中華民族) [Chinese ethnic group].”

The Presidential Office dismissed allegations that Lien was serving as a messenger for Ma.

Presidential Office spokesperson Lee Chia-fei (李佳霏) said that the delegation of Taiwanese businesspeople and politicians visiting China was not an official trip.

Former KMT legislator Kuo Su-chun (郭素春), spokesperson for the delegation, yesterday said Lien made the comments on the basis of the so-called “1992 consensus.”

“Mr Lien’s remarks are no different from the ‘1992 consensus.’ He works very hard for peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait and his words should not be distorted,” Kuo said.

Kuo accused the Presidential Office of trying to distance itself from Lien and the delegation, adding that the office should show more respect to Lien.

In response, Lee said the Presidential Office made the comments in response to reporters’ inquiries, adding that the public should not overinterpret relations between Ma and Lien.

Separately yesterday, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) reiterated the party’s insistence on transparency in all cross-strait engagements and said that Lien’s comments during his visit to Beijing had violated that principle.

“No individual or political party should advance initiatives and political negotiations that have not been authorized by the people without regard to the huge differences across the Taiwan Strait,” Lin said.

Additional reporting by Chris Wang and Jake Chung