Thu, Oct 05, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Chen praises EU integration model

APPROPRIATE?The president asked a delegation of German VIPs whether the unification model they utilized would be feasible for Taiwan can China

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday said the unification model used by Germany and the EU deserves Taiwan's attention, but pointed out the importance of equality and respect for a nation's sovereignty.

Chen made the remarks as he met a delegation of German parliamentarians at the Presidential Office yesterday morning, while extending his appreciation for the EU's efforts at urging the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to resolve their disputes using peaceful means.

Chen told his guests that he would like to know whether they thought the unification model used by East Germany and West Germany and the integration model of the EU could serve as a model for Taiwan and China.

Chen, however, pointed out that prior to the reunification of East and West Germany, the two countries signed treaties and both had EU seats.

Chen also indicated that the integration of EU's 25 countries was built on the basic principles of sovereignty, democracy, peace and equality.

"The EU's success is based on the spirit that all members are equal, recognize each other as independent, sovereign states and all respect the free will of their own people rather than resorting to military force," he said.

Chen also expressed opposition to lifting the ban on arms sales to China, saying that Beijing was working on a three-stage plan to win a decisive war with Taiwan.

"If the EU lifts the embargo, it would be selling weapons to undemocratic China to use against democratic Taiwan," Chen said. "I believe it runs counter to the founding spirit of all EU members, including Germany."

Until China improves its human rights records, Chen said that the EU must not agree to China's request to lift the ban.

Germany and France were pushing for the lifting of the ban on arms sales to China as recently as last year, but since German Chancellor Angela Merkel took office last November, Germany has changed its position on the issue and is no longer pressuring the EU to lift the ban. Several party caucuses in the German Bundestag, or parliament, are even planning to come up with a motion to demand that the EU not lift the ban.

The EU arms embargo was a response to the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre, in which Chinese troops brutally crushed pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing.

During a summit meeting with the EU last month Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫嘉寶) restated his country's plea for the EU to lift its ban on arms sales to China .

The EU said they "recognized the importance of this issue" and agreed to continue working on a European code of conduct for the arms trade.

Chen yesterday pointed out the threat posed by China's military buildup, saying that China's military budget had increased by double digits over the past few years and that it had deployed more than 800 ballistic missiles targeting Taiwan along its southeast coast.

"There were only 200 missiles aimed at Taiwan when I took the oath of office in 2000, but now the number has jumped to 800," he said.

Since Beijing passed its "Anti-Secession" Law in March last year to sanction the use of military force against Taiwan if the island declares statehood, Chen said that the Chinese government has been gearing up efforts in preparation for a military attack against the nation.

"China has set a three-stage goal: to establish contingency-response combat capabilities by next year, build up its combat capabilities for large-scale military engagement by 2010 and ensure victory in a decisive battle by 2015," he said.

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