Mon, Apr 17, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Former security chief proposes new body

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Ting Yu-chou speaks yesterday at the launch of Taiwan Security 2005-2006.

PHOTO: CNA

The credibility of national leaders, the issue of national identification, the economy, military might, cross-strait relations and the US government's cross-strait policies were the key elements affecting Taiwan's national security, a former head of the National Security Bureau said yesterday.

Former bureau director Ting Yu-chou (丁渝洲) proposed establishing an independent government body, the "homeland security ministry," under the Executive Yuan, noting that many countries around the world have adjusted their national security mechanisms since the Sep. 11 terrorist attacks in the US.

As Taiwan faced unprecedented challenges and risks, Ting said that wisdom, patience and skill were required to safeguard national security, especially in the face of the threat posed by China.

"How do we expect a divided Taiwan to defeat a rising China?" Ting said. "We cannot depend solely on the assistance of the US government, nor pin our hopes on China's goodwill. After all, there is no such thing as cheap or lucky security."

Leaders from both sides of the Taiwan Strait, Ting said, were duty bound to create a stable and peaceful environment for their people. These leaders should realize the fact that military means would not and could not resolve cross-strait disputes, he said.

Ting made the remarks yesterday morning during a book launch held in Taipei. The book, Taiwan Security 2005-2006, was published by the Cross-Strait Interflow Prospect Foundation, a private think tank. Ting is the book's chief editor and the author of its first chapter.

Commenting on the just-concluded economic forum between the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), Ting called on the administration to respond to the proposals brought back by the KMT in keeping with the the public and the national interest. Government responses should be feasible and seek to minimize risks, he said.

Chang Hsi-mo (張錫模) of the Sun Yat-sen Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies at National Sun Yat-sen University, who penned the second chapter of the book focusing on political security, said that Taiwan's democratic system was fragile because politics had become of interest to only a minority, and government policies were inconsistent.

In addition, politicians usually resorted to nationalism to stir up ethnic tension, seriously sabotaging the true spirit of Taiwan's democracy, Chang said.

Compounding the problem was China's military threat, Taiwan's crisis of confidence and the illusion of peace, he said. Together, the problems had dealt a serious blow to the administration's efforts to safeguard national security and manage crises, he said.

"We're sorry to see that the administration has failed to tell us exactly what they plan to do if China does launch a military attack or economic sanctions," he said. "Such lack of contingency planning is, in my view, the biggest crisis facing the nation."

Chang proposed that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) take full advantage of the National Security Council, which is the nation's highest decision-making body on issues of national security. To ensure the professionalism and independence of the organization, Chang said that political and partisan considerations should not be allowed to influence either the council or its daecision-making process.

The administration should also regulate foreign investment, both direct and indirect, in local media outlets and political parties, he said. During cross-strait negotiations, Chang said the government must insist on equality.

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