Sun, Sep 09, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Chen calls for deeper democratization

NOT THERE YET While Chen praised the nation's democracy, Vice President Annette Lu called on people to join the DPP's 'UN referendum' rally in Kaohsiung on Saturday

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Women show slogans at a ''UN for Taiwan'' event in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, AP

Following US President George W. Bush's recognition of Taiwan's democracy at the APEC summit on Thursday, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday said Taiwan must strive for a better-functioning democracy.

Bush told a business summit at the APEC meeting that the US relationship with Taiwan, along with other countries in the region, formed the "bedrock of America's engagement in the Asia-Pacific."

Bush praised Taiwan's emergence as a democratic society and, in the same breath, urged China to "show confidence by demonstrating a commitment to greater openness and tolerance."

Chen said yesterday he was proud of Taiwan's successful transition from authoritarianism to democracy and that he had always believed in the democratic institutions because it is the right direction to adopt.

"Although Bush praised Taiwan's evolution into a democracy as `one of the great stories of our times,' we must strive for a better democracy," he said while receiving European Parliament Vice President Edward McMillan-Scott yesterday morning.

At a separate setting yesterday, National Security Council Secretary-General Mark Chen (陳唐山) said the recent comments by US National Security Council senior director for East Asian affairs Dennis Wilder had given Taiwan an opportunity to achieve normalization.

Wilders said on Aug. 30 that the statehood of Taiwan, or the Republic of China (ROC), remained an undecided issue.

"[Wilder's comments] were like the masks on a plane that save our lives by providing needed oxygen during an emergency landing," Mark Chen said while addressing the World Taiwanese Congress in Taipei.

Wilder's comments enabled Taiwan to drop the title "ROC" and saved it from falling into the trap set by China, he said.

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) also referred to Wilder's comments yesterday, saying they showed that Beijing's claim of sovereignty over Taiwan was just as undecided.

"China's claim that Taiwan is a sacred and inseparable part of its territory is a lie," Lu said. "Had its claim been true, then why did it cede sovereignty over Taiwan to Japan in perpetuity in 1895?"

Although the Cairo Declaration of 1943 stated that following the surrender of Japan in World War II, territory that Japan had "stolen" from China -- including Taiwan and Penghu -- would be returned to China, it was a little more than a press release, Lu said.

Following the spirit of the UN Charter, Taiwanese became the legal owners of this land after Tokyo signed the San Francisco Treaty in 1951 renouncing sovereignty over Taiwan and Penghu, Lu said.

The 1952 Taipei Treaty affirms the 1951 pact, reiterating that the Japanese government would renounce any claim to Taiwan, Penghu, the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands. The treaty does not specify the legal successor government of these territories.

Describing the Cairo Declaration of 1943 as a piece of "historic waste paper," Lu said the 1952 Taipei Treaty should supersede the 1943 accord.

Lu made the remarks while addressing a hot-air balloon event in support of the UN campaign at the Presidential Office yesterday morning.

Lu said Taiwan's UN bid must continue despite the 13 failed attempts. After all, it took China 23 years and North Korea and South Korea 15 years to join the UN, she said.

Lu called on the public to take part in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rally in Kaohsiung on Saturday for its proposed referendum to join the UN under the name "Taiwan."

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