Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said yesterday that nationalism in China would reach its height in 2008 and that Taiwan must be clear about its identity at that time in order to safeguard against a possible Chinese invasion.
Lee made the remarks in an interview with Open weekly magazine that hits newsstands today.
"2008 will be the year when China's nationalism reaches its pinnacle. The dam in Sanxia (
"[China's] aim is to claim Taiwan to be part of China, using this great nationalism," he said.
To prevent Taiwan from being annexed by China, Lee asserted Taiwanese will have to intensify their national recognition by that time, so that the nation will be strong enough to counter China's nationalism.
Lee said he hopes the government will strive to ingrain Taiwan's national recognition into people's minds, so that in six years, 90 percent of the entire population will acknowledge Taiwan to be their homeland.
In Lee's view, the most vital elements for a flourishing country include strong leadership, a clear national identity and sense of purpose, as well as a spirit of unity. Only by clearly establishing these values can the people know what the nation's mission is, he said.
Lee also reiterated his belief that Taiwan and China are two different countries and that their relations should be "special state-to-state" in nature, calling upon Taiwan's citizens to accept the tenet.
Only by reaching such a consensus can Taiwan devise ways to cope with China if were to attack, according to Lee.
Lee also took the opportunity of the interview to proffer advice to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in his new role as DPP chairman.
Lee said that Chen should not only take advantage of the new power bestowed upon him, but that he should also work to sharpen his leadership, adding that the biggest crisis faced by the DPP is "a lack of experience."
Lee said jokingly that he would play an eternal "bad cop," mounting pressure on the government until it acts to uphold the people's interests, and that is the purpose of the existence of TSU.
A dauntless critic of the government's policy to open up direct links, Lee said the government should carefully consider the consequences of the policy before succumbing to outside pressure on the matter.
Lee also addressed the issue of the president's proposed cross-party "alliance for national stabilization." Lee compared Chen's plan to his own think tank, the Taiwan Advocates, saying that the group is like the alliance initiative except that it functions behind the scenes.
He said media reports that the group was founded so as to form an alliance behind the scenes, therefore, are accurate.
He called the group a "do tank" and said its mission is to help preserve political stability by assembling a group of talent to work together for the betterment of the country.
He said Taiwan Advocates welcomes the participation of anyone sharing the same political beliefs and is not limited to TSU members.
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