President Chen Shui-bian (
Chen made the call in his opening speech to the 32th annual meeting of the World Federation of Taiwanese Associations (WFTA), which began yesterday in Brisbane, Australia. Chen delivered his address via a live video link from the Presidential Office.
WFTA, which unites overseas Taiwanese communities, has been dedicated to the promotion of Taiwanese national identity and the advancement of international support for the right of the Taiwanese people to establish an independent country since the organization was established in 1974.
In order to achieve its objective of Taiwan Independence, WFTA and other pro-independence organizations have lobbied the the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government to change the country's official name from the "Republic of China" (ROC) to "Taiwan."
Chen, however, told the WFTA members that, "The biggest challenge Taiwan faces today is not which name is used but that China has been doing whatever it can to deny the fact that Taiwan is an independent country and to deprive Taiwan of the rights an independent country is supposed to have."
The tactics used by China were highlighted in the Pentagon's recent report, 2005 The Military Power of the People's Republic of China, Chen said, including its military threats, efforts to interfere in Taiwanese politics and efforts to prevent his re-election.
"Simply speaking, except for its traditional military threat, China has reinforced its `united front' tactics against Taiwan, attempting to divide the Taiwanese and then annex Taiwan," he said.
What Taiwan needs to do is to consolidate its people's psychological defenses, he said.
"We need to build a consensus about the country's future development. We also need to achieve a common position on cross-strait policies," Chen said.
"As long as we can unite and keep the same pace, we won't be afraid of the Chinese `united front' tactics and we can protect the sovereignty of Taiwan," he said.
Chen reiterated his two theories of the ROC's history and called on WFTA members to embrace them.
The first theory is "Four States' theory that says the nation's first stage was the establishment of the ROC in China in 1912. The second stage was when the ROC moved to Taiwan in 1949. Lee Teng-hui's (
The nation entered the fourth stage,"the ROC is Taiwan," after the 2000 presidential election and the first transfer of power.
Chen outlined his second theory, the "Three Stages" theory, that states that the ROC is an independent country, its sovereignty belongs to the 23 million Taiwanese and that any change of Taiwan's future can only be decided by its people.
The president said that the "Four Stages" theory represents the history of the country and the "Three Stages" theory stresses the country's future.
He said the two theories should not be treated separately but as a whole.
"In order to unite Taiwan and to build the common consciousness of being a new country, I hope the `Four Stages' theory can be understood and accepted," Chen said.
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