Tue, Sep 17, 2002 - Page 3 News List

EU strategist says China's aggression belongs in the past

By Lin Miao-Jung  /  STAFF REPORTER

A member of the EU's cross-strait think tank, Professor Werner Pfennig, yesterday delivered an impassioned plea to China to stop threatening Taiwan's people and to start thinking differently about cross-strait relations.

"No matter how much China suffered in the past, all this is no justification in the 21st century to humiliate and threaten people in Taiwan," he said.

Apart from his role in the EU think tank, Pfennig is also a professor at Freie University Berlin's department of political science. He was invited to present his paper on cross-strait relations in Taipei yesterday, during which he encouraged Chinese leaders to propose new ideas about handling cross-strait matters.

Pfennig was invited to Taiwan by the Peacetime Foundation of Taiwan because he was one of the drafters of a statement by the European Parliament that contained many words of support for Taiwan.

The Peacetime Foundation's executive director, Chien Hsi-chieh (簡錫 ), praised Pfennig in the opening ceremony for taking a stand against China's build-up of missiles aimed at Taiwan. He also called on EU member countries to issue visas to Taiwanese officials.

"We believe that cross-strait peace and the stability of economic development in the Asian region is in the mutual interest of all nations," said Chien.

In his speech, which he delivered to a group of students and scholars at the seminar, Pfennig said: "[The] `One China' [concept] can only be applied to the past, to culture, language, memories and many other things. It can serve as a vision for the future but how can it apply to the present? Normalization is not possible without the acceptance of the status quo."

He stressed that Chinese authorities are realistic in terms of economics. In that regard, China has been pushing for reforms and managed to double the growth of its economy over the past 10 years, he said.

However, in the political arena, Pfennig considered Chinese leaders to be "unrealistic."

"One big problem of Chinese leaders is that they made some wrong assessments about relations between Taiwan and China. They for a long time over-estimated the New Party and underestimated the Democratic Progressive Party ? It took leaders on the mainland a long time to understand the significance of Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) coming to power. He was not elected because people thought he would bravely lead them to independence and would proclaim a new state, a Republic of Taiwan."

Echoing Pfennig's view, Kuo Chien-Chung (郭建中), a professor at the Graduate Institute of China Studies of Tamkang University, said that Taiwan deserves more attention from the international community.

"Most countries have so far not recognized Taiwan as a nation. If Taiwan is not accepted in most international organizations, how can it develop normal relations with China?" Kuo asked.

He explained that normal relations had gradually been established between divided nations such as North and South Korea as well as East and West Germany, because all those countries had been accepted as members of the UN.

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