Wed, Dec 10, 2003 - Page 2 News List

DPP says Lien's arms control plan is `naive'

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) was "naive" to propose arms control negotiations with China to reduce the military threat to Taiwan.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said judging by the KMT's previous failures in the seven negotiations with the Chinese Communist Party during China's civil war in the 1940s, which resulted in them losing control over China, the arms control talks could mean losing Taiwan.

"In the negotiations between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party, the KMT failed severely and finally lost the territory of China to the communist party. We don't want to see the eighth negotiation, which might cause irreversible results to Taiwan," Lee said, adding that Lien had expressed high expectations for the new Chinese leadership in an interview with The New York Times on Dec. 5.

Chen Chung-hsin (陳忠信), director of the DPP's Chinese Affairs Department, said Lien's proposal was "impossible" and "unattainable."

"Unless Taiwan gives up its sovereignty, the country would never be in a position to ask for such arms control negotiations with China, because Taiwan's military capabilities would never be comparable to China's," Chen said.

China's military capabilities are far superior to those of Taiwan, Chen said.

"Although the quality of Taiwan's weaponry is sound, the size of our armed forces can never compare with China's. China possesses a lot of weapons of mass destruction which could destroy Taiwan, but Taiwan does not possess enough offensive weapons to counter China's aggressive threats," he said.

According to Chen, China has constantly demanded that the US stop its arms sales to Taiwan, and therefore Taiwan has had to spend many years in negotiations with the US over the purchase of Kidd-class destroyers and submarines.

Chen said the arms control talks between the US and Russia during the Cold War, which Lien has proposed as a model for similar talks with China, had been conducted between two countries with equal military capabilities and that both sides were capable of destroying each other.

"China's renunciation of the use of force against Taiwan would depend solely on China's goodwill. We have asked China to sit down for talks regarding the cross-strait cargo links, but China never responded. I don't see any possibility that China would be willing to talk about military reduction," Chen said.

He said the only way to pressure China into renouncing force against Taiwan is to hold a "defensive referendum" to demonstrate the will of Taiwan's 23 million people.

"Although China might not respond to the results of the referendum, that's how international politics works," Chen said.

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