Sun, Mar 11, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Incentives threaten sovereignty: Lee

NEW AGE:The former president said Taiwanese can be identified not by looking at their descent, but by asking if they love Taiwan, put it first and identify with democratic values

By Peng Wan-hsin and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Former president Lee Teng-hui, center, smiles as he arrives at the Taiwan United Nations Alliance’s eighth membership meeting in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The nation should be careful about China’s incentives for Taiwanese, as they could further bolster China’s sovereignty claims over Taiwan, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said at the Taiwan United Nations Alliance’s eighth membership meeting yesterday.

China is using its benefits for Taiwanese to drain Taiwan’s talent and economic competitiveness, Lee said, adding that if the nation’s economy were to lose its autonomy and ability to develop, its democratic system would become a hotbed for China legitimizing its claims to sovereignty over Taiwan.

China is already blocking Taiwan’s international development through investments and purchases all over the world, Lee said.

It is attempting to turn the “Taiwan problem” into an internal issue and block interactions between Taiwan and other countries, he said.

Apart from blocking Taiwan’s international presence, China is also intentionally cultivating pro-unification individuals and organized crime groups in Taiwan, causing opposition between pro-unification and pro-independence supporters, which it uses to disrupt social order, Lee said.

Any national leader who creates opposition between pro-unification and pro-independence supporters or allows it to happen would be extremely irresponsible, Lee added.

“Taiwan must jump out of an illusory ‘Greater China’ mentality,” Lee said.

The result of doing so would be the natural appearance of new models, such as a Taiwanese identity that conceives of Taiwan as a subject, not an object, he said, adding that with such a new foundation, the anti-democratic “Greater China” mentality would immediately lose market in Taiwan.

“Do not use the time when someone arrived in Taiwan as the standard to determine whether they are Taiwanese,” Lee said.

The criteria for identifying new-age Taiwanese are clear, Lee said: They love Taiwan, put Taiwan first and identify with democratic Taiwanese values.

Being able to exist as “Taiwan” should be the only focus, he said, adding that his goal in life is to transform “the misery of being born Taiwanese” into “the happiness of being born Taiwanese.”

Although he is 96 years old, Lee is willing to continue fighting alongside others to make Taiwan a great nation and contribute to the international community, he said.

Meanwhile, alliance director Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) said it is unfair not only to the nation, but to the entire world that Taiwan has not been allowed to participate in the WHO, because the spread of diseases knows no borders.

Tsai hoped that Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), who was also at the meeting, could lead a delegation to the World Health Assembly (WHA) this year and make Taiwan’s voice heard in the international community.

Chen attended the WHA in 2003 and 2004 as director of the Department of Health, which has since become the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

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