Sun, Mar 18, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan diplomat shuns unification with China

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA, LONDON

Taiwan rejects the Hong Kong model of "one country, two systems" unification with China, Taiwan's representative to Britain has reiterated in a "letter to the editor" of the Economist.

Edgar Lin (林俊義) wrote in the letter posted in the weekly's March 16 Web edition that the Hong Kong formula is nothing but proof of how a totalitarian system like Beijing's is incompatible with a working democracy.

To the Taiwanese people, Lin wrote, it is imperative that the condition of preserving the nation's democratic system and dignity of its people is met -- only then can Taiwan openly engage China at the negotiating table.

Lin's letter was a response to an article carried in the Economist's March 7 Asian edition that likened Taiwan's increasing trade dependence on China as being on a par with the "subtle, slow-boiling of a frog" and predicted that Taiwan could be peacefully unified with China in 20 years.

Rebutting the allusion as falling short of the truth through its "suggestion of ignorance and passivity," Lin wrote that Taiwan is fully aware of the potential pitfalls of its economic embracing of China and has taken care to see that the process remains under control.

"Indeed, there is a strong awareness, particularly within the circles of power, of the dangers of succumbing to China's dangling of economic carrots. While the carrots are too big to ignore completely, the Taiwanese government and people take care to see that the process remains under control," Lin wrote, adding that this is part of the reasoning behind President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) recent rhetoric which was a reminder to all of the threat that China could pose to Taiwan's freedom and democracy if the situation were to spiral out of control.

Lin was referring to Chen's address at a dinner party held in Taipei on March 4 of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs.

Chen said Taiwan wants independence, a new constitution, development and a change of its official name, and that "Taiwan" is the best name for the country to use in its bid to join the UN.

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