All eyes are now on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to see whether he will participate in the March 26 demonstration to be held in protest of China's "anti-secession" law.
Chen last Saturday publicly supported the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) call to hold a mass demonstration against the law. Chen called for 1 million people to mobilize against China's move.
As of yesterday however, Chen had yet to say whether he will join the demonstration.
According to National Security Bureau Director-General Hsueh Shih-ming (薛石民) on Monday, the bureau has analyzed and mapped out different proposals for the president to assess while deciding what to do.
Some political observers say that given the people's strong reaction to China's law and the country's democratic society, it would only be natural for the president to take part in the demonstration.
"What faces us is a grave issue," said Ku Chung-hwa (顧忠華), a political analyst and sociology professor at National Chengchi University. "It is significant for the president to take part in the rally in his capacity as the head of the nation."
Chen's presence could help draw international attention to Taiwan's plight and highlight the nation's unjust treatment in the international community, Ku added.
Political commentator Yang Hsien-hung (楊憲宏) said Chen should join the rally, and also suggested that he bring with him a Republic of China (ROC) flag.
"At a time like this where we need to raise a common voice against exterior forces, there is nothing wrong about holding an ROC flag," Yang said.
"Should Chen choose to join the march and hold the flag, it would be very meaningful," he said.
"The one and only purpose of the March 26 march is for us to show to the world that Taiwan, despite its bickering in the past, is speaking out with one voice against China's `anti-secession' law regardless of age, gender, social status and political affiliation," Yang said.
He said Chen risked "appearing weak" if he didn't join the rally. He also called for a diversity of political and civilian flags to be displayed at the march.
"The more different flags there are, the more it shows how Taiwan's diverse voices are united in opposing the anti-secession law enacted by China," Yang said.
China's anti-secession law is just an issue between Taiwan and China, but it is one that also affects Japan and the US, Yang said. Given the international implications, it's understandable that Chen is waiting for international reaction before deciding whether to join the rally.
"Chen needs to play his role tactfully," Yang said. "It is understandable that the president wants to decide on his response only after taking into account reactions at home and abroad."
Others echoed the suggestion of former president Lee Teng-hui (
Some political analysts said that Chen, being the national leader, could resort to more "official channels" to express Taiwan's voice to the international community -- a strategy that could be more effective than taking part in the rally.
"A nation needs to have integrity," said World United Formosans for Independence chairman Ng Chiau-tong (黃昭堂). "The president's duty as the head of state calls for him to play a different role than that of a civilian."