Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) yesterday urged Beijing to face the reality that the Republic of China (ROC) does exist, saying that both sides must adopt a pragmatic approach to tackle cross-strait problems.
Siew said the ROC was the only legitimate government representing China between 1911 and 1949. The ROC relocated to Taiwan in 1949 and has since built Taiwan into a democracy.
“It has all the requirements of a country, including the Constitution, national flag and national anthem,” he said.
However, the reality of international politics was that many -countries recognize China, Siew said, adding that China must neverthless not forget that there are more than 20 countries that have diplomatic ties with the ROC.
“If China does not want to recognize the existence of the ROC, they should at least not deny it,” he said in an interview with cable station GTV aired last night. “On the basis of mutual non-denial, both sides can gradually understand each other and work things out. We won’t see an immediate result and it will take a long time.”
Cross-strait exchanges were important, he said, adding that it would be difficult for both sides to talk about more sensitive issues if there were no mutual trust.
Citing the example of North and South Korea, Siew said the Korean Peninsula is still divided despite the first summit meeting between the two Koreas.
“So it will be better to adopt a pragmatic approach and build more mutual trust,” he said. “Without trust, things will not work out even if there is a peace agreement.”
Siew said cross-strait ties have been positive, healthy and practical and have proceeded gradually over the past two years.
Cross-strait differences could not be resolved overnight, he said, and political issues would have to wait until economic problems were resolved.
Because Taiwan is an island, Siew said it was important to open up and connect to the world. More connections would bring more opportunities, he said, adding that it was the road Taiwan must take if it wanted to survive and prosper.
Facing the rise of China, Siew said Taiwan must engage China and go with the trend of regional and economic integration, if it could not turn the tide.
“Regional integration is the way to go, but we must not proceed hastily,” he said. “Many people have mixed feelings about regional integration. Some love the idea, but at the same time, they are also afraid.”
Siew urged Beijing to build the image of a peacemaker and refrain from developing into a hegemony.
He was glad to see that leaders from both sides of the Taiwan Strait began to touch on the possibility of removing missiles aimed at Taiwan, adding that he hoped it would happen soon. However, he said that the matter would rely on China.
In other developments, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday said that a meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) did not look likely because two conditions have not been met.
A Ma-Hu meeting can only take place when there is a growing willingness and consensus among Taiwanese and when there is a higher degree of mutual trust between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, Wu said when addressing a group of visitors from the Committee of 100, a US non-partisan organization composed of US citizens of Chinese descent.
“Not a single one of the two conditions can be dispensed with. Since the willingness and consensus hasn’t been reached within the country and both sides of the strait haven’t developed sufficient mutual trust, we haven’t seen any chances and opportunities for a Ma-Hu meeting,” Wu said.
Only when China admits that the ROC exists independently and has its sovereignty, as well as the realities of democratic politics, he said.
Leaders from both sides of the strait understand that pushing for internal reform is a country’s internal matter, while maintaining external cross-strait peace is the best policy to ensure that both sides benefit, he added.
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