Taiwan’s economic development could be at risk if its dependence on China for trade and economic prosperity continues to rise, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said yesterday.
Lee made the statement at a forum organized by the Lee Teng-hui Association for Democracy, a political association founded in 2010 with the aim of deepening democracy in the country.
The event was also co-organized by the Taiwan Advocates, a think tank founded by the former president, and the Taiwan Association of University Professors.
The host organization read the statement on behalf of Lee, who was unable to attend the event in person because he was recovering from flu.
“The key objective of Taiwan’s national economic security is to enforce its survival and developmental capacity in the current global economic system, based on two pillars — an identity built upon economic and trade independence and sustainable growth built on technological advantages,” Lee said.
However, an administration that puts Taiwan’s economy solely in the hands of China will put the country’s future development at risk, Lee said in the statement.
“Taiwan should confront and seek to address a widening wealth gap, which has given rise to calls to curb social injustice, a growing economic dependence on China that could imperil the country’s sovereignty and the impact of a changing international political and economic environment,” the 89-year-old wrote.
Lee wrote that two other problems face Taiwan: the effects of globalization and cross-strait development following China’s emergence as a strong economy.
Lee said that globalization has prompted the industrial sectors of many countries to migrate to China over the past two decades, but an overestimation on the scale effect of international economic integration has hindered the policy’s efficacy.
On the current administration’s insistence on pushing through the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), the former president said the major concerns of the government should be national sovereignty and security.
“In light of Taiwan’s China-leaning stance on its trade and economy, the country should not only work to consolidate relations on an equal footing, but should also maintain its stance at negotiations and never back down on any bargaining terms,” Lee said.
Lee said Taiwan should make an all-out effort to reinforce national competitiveness to better cope with changes in economic trends, adding that the public should regard it as a priority.
Lee concluded by urging “the opposition parties to fulfill their duty of supervising the government and make efforts to help boost Taiwan’s national competitiveness.”
Translated by Stacy Hsu, Staff Writer