The pro-unification New Party yesterday sought to distance itself from Chinese academic Li Yi (李毅), who was on Friday last week deported from Taiwan for supporting “unification by force,” by saying it pursues peaceful unification.
New Party Deputy Chairman Lee Sheng-feng (李勝峰) made the remarks after Li delivered a short speech via video at a party forum in Taoyuan to discuss how Taiwan should respond to Beijing’s unification agenda.
Li’s video speech was a workaround after his deportation to China prevented him from speaking at a pro-unification parade that the Association for China’s Peaceful Unification had planned to have the following day.
The association said it canceled the parade to ensure “social order” and the safety of the participants.
Asked to elaborate on his purported support for “unification by force,” Li said what he actually advocates is unification through “threats of force.”
“In Taiwan, only 10 out of every 100 people support unification and they are people like [members of] the New Party, the China Unification Promotion Party and former Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱),” Li said. “None of you stand a chance of being elected as a lawmaker, a local government head or a [national] leader.”
Li said that if the trend continues, the majority of Taiwanese aged 60 and younger would be “independence-leaning” 20 years from now, and the chance of achieving peaceful unification would be almost impossible.
As Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has stated that the Taiwan issue cannot be delayed indefinitely, Li said the most possible scenario would be for Beijing to threaten the use of force to browbeat the Taiwanese government into signing a peace agreement and accepting peaceful unification.
However, Lee said that Li’s opinions only refelect his own position and not that of the New Party, adding that his party does not support the idea of using threats to force unification.
“[Such an idea] would not be accepted by Taiwanese society and frankly, the situation has not deteriorated to that point yet,” Lee said, adding that even Beijing’s use of force is conditional.
Lee said that it would be inaccurate to brand all of the younger generation as “independence-leaning,” saying that a more correct term would be “Taiwan-leaning.”
“They grew up in Taiwan and identify themselves as Taiwanese, but that is a completely different story from wanting to achieve independence,” he said.
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