President Chen Shui-bian (
"The lesson we have learned over the past seven years is that China's fundamental position on the issue has not changed," Chen said.
"It does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state and it considers Taiwan as part of its territory, a local government, a special administrative region and a second Hong Kong," he said.
Chen was speaking during a meeting with a US delegation of experts on China led by David Lampton at the Presidential Office yesterday morning.
Lampton is director of Chinese studies at the Nixon Center as well as a professor of China studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington.
Over the decades, China has made an all-out effort to denigrate, marginalize and localize Taiwan, Chen said.
It is crucial the administration insist that Taiwan is a sovereign country and has the courage to rebut China's claim of sovereignty over the nation, he said.
Chen said the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration firmly rejects the idea of "one China" and does not recognize the existence of a "1992 consensus" between Taiwan and China.
"When it comes to sovereignty, China will never give in unless Taiwan yields," he said. "But as president of Taiwan, how can I face its 23 million people and our ancestors if I abandon Taiwan's sovereignty?"
He said that China's oppression of Taiwan dated back to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime.
"No matter who is in power -- the pan-blue camp or the pan-green camp, the KMT or the DPP -- China's suppression has always been there," he said. "Almost everybody knows why Taiwan left the UN and why diplomatic ties with the United States were severed. The diplomatic setbacks did not happen during my presidency but during that of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國)."
KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (
"Although China is a threat to us in diplomatic and security terms, it offers great economic opportunities. Cross-strait affairs should be dealt with according to the issue at hand," Ma said after meeting with volunteers at his campaign office.
On Chen's call for presidential candidates to regard China with suspicion, Ma lashed out at the government for refusing to have any exchanges with Beijing while promising to resolve cross-strait problems.
"If the KMT has the chance to take back power, we will never repeat the errors that the government has committed, such as creating unnecessary cross-strait tension," Ma said.
Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih
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