The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is fostering a “defeatist” attitude, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokeswoman Lee Yen-jong (李晏榕) said yesterday, after the KMT criticized Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) for saying that he would fight to the end in case of a military conflict with China, even if he “only had a broom.”
The two major parties have been verbally sparring since KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) on Feb. 14 said that he would seek a peace treaty with China if the party won next year’s presidential election.
Military benefits have been cut drastically due to the DPP’s pension reforms, KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director-general Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) told a news conference yesterday, adding that Su saying he would use a broom as a weapon in an attempt to “instigate a lofty war readiness” was irresponsible.
Photo: Lin Liang-sheng, Taipei Times
If the premier were to be forced to head into battle wielding only a broom, it would mean that innumerable soldiers had already been sacrificed, Hung said.
Any DPP member who would speak in such a way evidently does not understand why the DPP suffered losses in the nine-in-one elections last year, he said.
“Peace is what both sides of the Taiwan Strait desire. War is a disaster; it’s not a game designed for seizing power and it’s not a tool for manipulating elections,” he said.
Asked if he knew that Su was speaking rhetorically and had no intention of going to war with a broom, KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said: “Of course I know he was just expressing his resolve [to fight for Taiwan], but speaking like this will make people think Taiwan needs only buy brooms for weapons.”
In response, Lee said that the KMT has been distorting Su’s and President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) emphasis on the need to protect the nation’s democracy and free speech.
The DPP neither seeks war with China nor fears it, she said.
Taiwan plays an important role in safeguarding regional peace and stability, and must be resolute in carrying out that role, she said.
The public wonders whether Wu’s proposed peace treaty signifies an intention to “surrender” to China, and many have questioned the likelihood of China abandoning its plans to annex Taiwan and rule it under its “one country, two systems” framework, she said.
If China could not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation, any agreement would be tantamount to Taipei voluntarily sacrificing its sovereignty, she said.
Citing a report published in the magazine Foreign Policy, Lee said that the biggest enemy Taiwan faces is not China’s People’s Liberation Army, but rather a “defeatist attitude” that is pervasive in Taiwan.
The KMT has shown that it prefers to use scare tactics in response to public criticism over its proposed treaty, rather than face up to doubts over the proposal, she said.
Lee questioned the KMT’s intentions, asking whether the party was playing along with Beijing’s “united front” tactics.
To sign a treaty with China would equal “selling out” the nation’s hardworking military personnel, including veterans who escaped to Taiwan after having fought the communists in the civil war, she said.
Lee called on KMT presidential hopefuls Eric Chu (朱立倫) and Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to explain their positions on Wu’s proposed treaty to voters.
Separately, Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) said that he understood the spirit behind what Su was saying, and that he strongly supported the premier.
Yen said he hoped that the public was not confused about what Su was saying, as the premier had no intention of “fighting the enemy with a broom.”
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