Taipei Times: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Taiwan, and as a national policy advisor, what would you recommend President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) do to tackle it?
Alice King (金美齡): The lack of unity concerns me the most. In the wake of the terrorist attacks in the US, we don't see any American blame President George W. Bush for the tragedy or criticize his administration for being slow in handling the aftermath. All agree on the need to stay united, rebuild the country and hunt down the perpetrators. In Taiwan, the opposition parties would link any stroke of misfortune to the government and pressure related officials to step down. During the long dictatorship of the Chiang family, few politicians dared to protest their White Terror practices. With the introduction of democracy, though, many have indulged themselves in bashing the government. The evolution is ironic and taxing.
To solve the problem, I suggest excluding those who call themselves "Chinese" from participating in the country's politics. Only those who pledge their loyalty to this nation deserve the citizenship and the right to assume political office. Despite their different platforms, the opposition parties in Japan all share the ultimate goal of making the county stronger. That is not the situation here. The other day I saw an advertisement on the exterior of a bus claiming only the "one country, two systems" model can save Taiwan. The person who placed this ad evidently took orders from Beijing, which has sought to annex the country. The presence of such China stooges poses a great danger to national security.
TT: How do you respond to charges such rhetoric may stoke ethnic divisions?
King: That is a cliched charge. Now the matter is purely about identity and has nothing to do with ethnic or partisan feuding. It is outdated to trace one's origin when deciding one's nationality. Take Americans for example. No matter where their parents came from, they call themselves Americans. My ancestors are said to have come from Manchuria, as King is a common last name in northern China. But my love for Taiwan runs so deep that I consider myself to be Taiwanese. It's fine with me that my two children, born in Japan, consider themselves Japanese. It is a matter of free choice.
TT: What are your impressions of the DPP, the Taiwan Independence Party (TAIP) and the newly formed Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU)?
King: The DPP emerged as the first and largest opposition party before winning the presidency last year. The bigger the party, the more diversified its elements. Today, quite a few members demonstrate a stronger interest in vying for a berth in the government than in upholding their original beliefs. Concerns about political correctness have caused the party to shun asserting Taiwan's statehood, especially in election time. This drift, I believe, prompted the exodus of pro-independence members who later formed their own party, the TAIP. Due to scant resources, the TAIP has had difficulty expanding its force, a predicament that is compounded by the negative portrayal of the party by the media. Gradually, many chose to drop out.
The material wealth enjoyed by the Taiwanese makes them reluctant risk-takers. That explains why an overwhelming majority content themselves with the status quo. It is a regretful but undeniable reality. It is important for leaders of any movement to avoid becoming overly radical. That is why I refuse TAIP invitations to seek elected office under its banner.