At the heart of the controversy over President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) proposal to scrap the National Unification Council and unification guidelines are the pledges made by Chen in his first inaugural address. Many feel that in making the pledges, Chen created more problems for himself than he resolved.
Vice President Annette Lu (
She also claimed that the precondition did not exist when the pledges were made.
Chen promised that as long as Beijing had no intention of using military force against Taiwan, he would not declare independence, change the national title, enshrine the "state-to-state" model of cross-strait relations in the Constitution or hold a referendum on independence or unification.
Chen's final pledge was that abolishing the NUC and unification guidelines "would not be an issue."
Peng Ming-min (
"He has lost a lot of supporters because of that," Peng said.
Peng, however, said that he believes there are complex reasons for why Chen did so. He also believes that Chen was well aware that he would run the risk of losing support by making the pledge.
Chen was later criticized for agreeing to discuss the issue of "one China." Beijing, however, insisted on setting that as the precondition for the resumption of cross-strait talks.
As the US government has expressed the hope that Chen will reiterate the pledges, Peng said that he wonders why the US did not strongly condemn China's Anti-Secession Law, the enactment of which he sees as more serious than doing away with the unification council and guidelines.
Peng said that he cannot be certain whether Chen will reiterate the pledge, but that the US government must realize that the premise of the pledges no longer exists, as the status quo in the Taiwan Strait is dynamic, rather than static.
"US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once said that China is the only country in the world that is not threatened by any other country," Peng said. "It makes me wonder why China keeps making double-digit increases in its military budget each year. The answer is simple and clear: they want to make themselves so strong that the US won't be able to interfere in whatever happens in the Taiwan Strait. When China is ready, the first thing they will do is change the status quo."