Taiwan’s future ‘brighter’ than China’s

AUTHOR AUTHORITY::A Japanese-Taiwanese writer who is a keen observer of cross-strait relations, said that from a long-term perspective, Taipei will be better than Beijing

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Jan 21, 2013 - Page 3

Taking a long-term perspective is required to make an appropriate assessment of the future development of cross-strait ties and if people took such a view, they would find that Taiwan’s future looks brighter than China’s, a Taiwanese writer based in Japan said yesterday.

“Over the long term, Taiwan would be able to win out over China because of three things: the high level of civilization of its citizens, the maturity of its society and the high incorporation of universal values in society, which is what is known as ‘soft power,’” Ko Bunyu (黃文雄), 74, a Taiwanese-Japanese professor and writer said in Taipei.

The Tokyo-based professor has observed China and Taiwan for five decades and prefers to assess the development of cross-strait relations beyond a political point of view. Ko said Taiwanese should be optimistic rather than pessimistic about Taipei’s relationship with Beijing because “time is on our side, not the other way around.”

Ko is known for supporting Taiwanese independence and being anti-China, as well as playing down Japan’s war crimes during World War II. He has published more than 200 books in Japanese and more than 60 in Chinese.

Born in Kaohsiung in 1938 during Japanese colonial rule, Ko went to Japan to study in 1964 and has stayed in the country ever since, working at Takushoku University as a professor and advocating Taiwanese independence through the World United Formosans for Independence organization.

In a speech titled Contrary Thinking about Taiwan, which he delivered at a lecture organized by Avanguard Publishing, Ko said it was better to examine Taiwan-China relations with a long-term view and from a cultural and social perspective.

Ko cited the evolution of relations between Sri Lanka and India as a good example for Taiwanese to follow when thinking about relations with China, adding that Sri Lanka’s social structure is “somewhat similar to that of Taiwan.”

With regard to the heightened tensions over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan, which calls them the Senkakus, Ko said a local, rather than an all-out, war could break out between Tokyo and Beijing over the territorial spat. However, China’s naval forces would not likely be able to match Japan’s and the Chinese military appears to be split on the issue, with its army and air force opposed to the use of force.

Citing a recent conversation with Japanese academics, Ko said they believed that several countries, such as India, Russia and South Korea, “would be happy to see a Sino-Japanese war” because they could exploit the conflict to their advantage.