Mon, Mar 28, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Wu rides the rising waves of cross-strait relations

Beijing's passage of its 'Anti-secession' Law added a dangerous element to already complicated cross-strait ties, leaving relations in a 'volatile' state, according to Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu. Wu sat down last week with 'Taipei Times' staff reporters Joy Su and Melody Chen to discuss the government's stratedy in light of the law, his personal take on the situation and the turns ties might take

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Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu gestures during his interview last week with the Taipei Times.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Taipei Times: You've asked China to apologize for the damage the "Anti-Secession" Law has done to cross-strait relations. Can you describe what form this apology should take?

Joseph Wu (吳釗燮): Actions speak louder than words and we want China to take real action to show that it is sorry. First, China should completely respect Taiwanese public opinion and choice and the fact that Taiwan is a democratic country. Second, China needs to give up the use of military force under any circumstances. These are two aspects people want to see. This is what the parade on the 26th [Saturday] is about -- democracy and peace.

TT: What sort of policy would indicate Beijing's respect of Taiwan's democracy?

Wu: China has hurt the Taiwanese people in a lot of ways, outside of passing the Anti-Secession Law. For example, China has completely blocked news of any positive messages coming from Taiwan or events that take place in Taiwan. They won't let the Chinese people know what is happening in Taiwan.

For example, I trust that Taipei Time's Internet [site] has been blocked by the Chinese authorities. There is no exception. All news service [sites] have been blocked by China. Under such circumstances, how can China understand Taiwan? And if they can't understand Taiwan, how can they understand our democracy, or see how Taiwan's democracy could contribute to China's development?

So the first thing that has to be done is that all Internet [sites] need to be open to all. They need to let Chinese academics, officials and the people understand what the Taiwanese are thinking, doing. This is the first aspect.

Second, China continues to isolate Taiwan in the international community. It is hard to estimate how much this has harmed the Taiwanese people, but it is surely very significant.

Jeseph Wu:

* Date of birth: October 31, 1954

* Place of Birth: Changhua County

* Education: Masters, political science, University of Missouri-St.Louis. Doctorate, political science, Ohio State University

* Career: Mainland Affairs Council chairman. Former deputy secretary-general of the Presidential Office. Research fellow and deputy director of the Institute of Interational Relations, National Chengchi University.

* Interests and hobbies: playing the trombone, driving and magic tricks


There are many organizations that Taiwan has a right to participate in, but China stands in the way of such participation. The most obvious example is participation in the World Health Organization. They won't let Taiwan participate in normal international activities, but at the same time say they are taking care of Taiwan.

They have to stop the lies and they have to stop meddling in Taiwan's participation in international organizations. This is a concrete action that China needs to take.

Third, the pressure on Taiwan's military. If China announces that it won't use force to attack Taiwan, if it announces it will take back military deployment targeted at Taiwan, then I'd say we are seeing China apologize.

TT: Under what circumstances do you think an interim agreement that holds Taiwan to halting any moves towards de jure independence and China to renouncing the use of force for a set period of time would be possible?

Wu: The problem is not on our side. It is quite clear -- beginning in 2000 -- our president has made it clear over and over again, as long as China does not have any intention to use force against Taiwan, we will not formally declare independence, we will not change our national title, we will not put "state to state relations" into the Constitution and we will not abolish the National Unification Council or guidelines. We have made it very clear that it is not a problem for us not to formally declare de jure independence.

The problem is on the Chinese side. They continue to say, and very clearly, that they will never renounce the use of force against Taiwan. As long as China renounces the use of force against Taiwan, I think there are all kinds of possibilities for Taiwan to reach out to China, and for some sort of agreement with China on how to build peaceful relations.

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