Amid increased tension between the US and China, former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday renewed her call for a referendum to declare Taiwan a neutral country, while urging the government to draft both men and women to serve in the military to boost the nation’s defense capabilities.
As the unpredictable policy of US president-elect Donald Trump could upset stability in the Asia-Pacific, Taiwan has to become a permanently neutral country to seek peaceful relations with other nations, Lu told a press conference in Taipei.
The political environment in South Korea and the Philippines — traditional US allies — has also changed dramatically, and Taiwan should declare itself a peaceful and neutral nation to avoid potential regional conflicts, Lu said.
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
The Legislative Yuan is expected to complete its review of and approve draft amendments to the Referendum Act (公民投票法) to lower the thresholds for launching and approving a plebiscite, making it possible to launch a referendum next year to proclaim Taiwan as a peaceful and neutral country, Lu said.
Lu has organized a referendum campaign for two years and collected thousands of signatures.
“The issue of independence and unification is outdated. Taiwan is an independent country, as we elect our president,” she said. “We give up confrontation with China, and we proclaim to the world that we want peace and neutrality. We will forge friendship with every country that is friendly to us, including China.”
Commenting on Chinese reactions to a congratulatory phone call made by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to Trump, Lu said the fact that Trump referred to Tsai as “the president of Taiwan” exposed the absurdity of the “one China” principle.
She compared the principle to the Emperor’s New Clothes, and said Trump’s acknowledgment of Tsai as the president of Taiwan highlighted the fact that “there is only one Taiwan.”
“I am fully in approval of that there is only one China, which I do not challenge, but there is also only one Taiwan in the world,” she said.
That Tsai secured the acknowledgment from the world’s largest democracy was an honor shared by all Taiwanese, Lu said, urging the Tsai administration to maintain national security and promote Taiwanese values while “normalizing” the country.
Lu also called on the government to scrap a plan to build an all-volunteer military force and instead draft men and women to military service to strengthen the nation’s military.
To maintain peace and neutrality, it is necessary to keep a strong armed forces, which should include compulsory conscription of women as well as men, she said.
According to the Constitution, citizens have the duty to perform military service, and that duty is not gender-based, she said.
She also called on the government to revise laws to increase penalties for people involved in Chinese espionage activities, and to boost the defense capabilities in eastern Taiwan, as China’s military is able to break through the first island chain and conduct attacks from afar.
‘FAILED TACTICS’: A lawmaker said Beijing’s actions in Hong Kong and Taiwan’s success at boosting its ties internationally have boosted identification as Taiwanese Self-identification as “Taiwanese and Chinese,” or solely as “Chinese,” has dropped to record lows, while 63.3 percent of the public regard themselves as Taiwanese, a survey released on Tuesday by National Chengchi University’s Election Study Center showed. Respondents identifying as Taiwanese and Chinese dropped to 31.4 percent, while those identifying solely as Chinese fell to 2.7 percent, the survey showed. The results reflect changes in attitudes since 1994 among Taiwanese toward independence and unification with China, as well as self-identification trends since 1992, commenters said. Support for independence was 25.8 percent, while about 5 percent of respondents said that they want the nation
ONLY EXCEPTIONS: The mayors of the two largest cities voiced concerns over hidden cases, while all other local governments are to follow eased CECC guidelines All local governments, with the exception of Taipei and New Taipei City, are to allow dine-in services at restaurants after the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday announced that it would on Tuesday lower a nationwide COVID-19 alert to level 2. The center on July 8 allowed the resumption of dining at restaurants nationwide — despite keeping the alert level at 3. At the time, this prompted all cities and counties, except Penghu Country, to keep local dine-in bans in place. Following Friday’s CECC announcement that COVID-19 prevention measures would be further relaxed, the Taipei and New Taipei City governments
‘NOT IMPOSSIBLE’: Acceptance to the UN would end the nation’s troubles, but it would be impossible to achieve without US backing, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun said The US might recognize Taiwan if war breaks out in the Taiwan Strait, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) said yesterday while discussing politics with former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). Speaking on Chen’s program on Smile Radio, You reminisced about his agrarian childhood, studies, the founding of the Democratic Progressive Party in 1986 and his eight years as Yilan County commissioner. Chen’s appointment of You as premier in February 2002 marked several firsts, as he was Taiwan’s youngest premier, as well as the first from a farming background and first democratically elected county leader to hold the office. Asked to share his views on
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday rejected the claim Beijing has been making about Taiwan’s status, while thanking US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman for raising concerns about Taiwan during her meeting with Chinese officials. Sherman met with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) on a visit to Tianjin on Sunday and Monday, with Wang urging Washington not to infringe on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Taiwan is part of China, a fundamental fact that would never change, and China has the right to take any action needed to restrain Taiwanese independence, Wang said, urging Washington to abide