Sun, Dec 14, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Taiwanese shouldn't be pessimistic: Lu

Vice President Annette Lu was nominated to be President Chen Shui-bian's running mate on Thursday. Lu, who had adopted a low-key profile in the past several months, agreed to an interview with the `Taipei Times' right after the nomination. She talked to staff reporters Lin Chieh-yu and Debby Wu about US President George W.Bush's recent comments on Taiwan, their impact on Taiwan-US-China relations and what she sees as the key to winning next march's election

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Vice President Annette Lu talks with the Taipei Times on Friday at the Presidential Office. She said US President George W. Bush's recent comments about Taiwan could be seen as minor criticism that will have a major benefit for Taiwan in terms of national unity and international standing.

PHOTO: CHANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

Taipei Times: After US President George W. Bush met Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, he told reporters: "We oppose any unilateral decision by either China or Taiwan to change the status quo, and the comments and actions made by the leader of Taiwan indicate that he may be willing to make decisions unilaterally to change the status quo, which we oppose."

The media interpreted his remarks as clear opposition to Taiwan holding a referendum and suggested that this would have a negative impact on Taiwan-US relationship. What do you think?

Annette Lu (呂秀蓮): This is a very ironical issue. The UN has emphasized that peace is a sacred human right. This is a very sardonic issue because Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) is the person who is damaging the status quo in cross-strait relations, not to mention that China is a country which fully opposes the UN's aims of peace and human rights.

The US government, which admires democracy, freedom and human rights, surprisingly invited a leader from an authoritarian communist country to the White House while the leader of Republic of China [ROC], a country which fully practices the UN Charter, human rights and democracy, cannot be invited to visit Washington. The US still wants to please a dictator -- isn't that sardonic?

Bush did not make his point clearly in his remarks. He first warned China, and then when it came to Taiwan, he clearly pointed out the US opposed "a change of status quo," which Taiwanese read too much into.

Taiwan has been influenced by pessimism stemming from failures in the past -- the Taiwanese people were used to being administered and the good child has become a dumb child.

I hope our countrymen will not confine themselves -- because now they seem to want to confine the president and the vice president and tell them to stand in the corner as a punishment. It is China that has done wrong.

I think Bush's comments were minor criticism that were a major help to us. They helped Taiwan reach an emotional solidarity, and raised international concerns about the issue of Taiwan.

President Chen [Shui-bian (陳水扁)]did not fail this time, and Taiwanese should applaud him because we made another breakthrough in the international blockade, and had an opportunity to tell the world that "it is China who should have to stand in the corner." This is the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the overseas embassies and representative offices.

I don't think the Bush administration dares make a final decision on these issues. It has to face the US Congress, the media and win re-election. It also goes to Iraq to promote democracy, so reasonably Taiwan did not lose.

Taiwan now has turned the tables -- moving from defense to offense -- and this is a starting point created by President Chen.

TT: Has there been a change in the Bush administration's friendly attitude toward Taiwan? Is the Bush administration Taiwan's window of opportunity?

Lu: I have to point out that the Taiwan Strait doesn't belong to Taiwan. Every day there are over 400 international ships are moving in and out of Taiwan Strait. If the stability in the area is destroyed, this would be an international problem and Japan, the US and [South] Korea would all feel the impact.

From the perspective of universal values, Taiwan and the US share the same values. In its 200-year history, the US has not had a record of sacrificing its own founding values to please its enemies. It can compromise with its enemies, but it has never really sold its partners who share the same values down the river, so I don't believe the US will sacrifice Taiwan.

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