Alarm over Chen's Independence Moves
February 05, 2004
Alarm over Chen's Independence Moves
Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian's decision to hold a referendum on March 20 is a serious incident, in that it overtly provokes the Chinese mainland by spelling out an issue that has hitherto been unspecific and murky.
It is an indication of Chen's determination to set the chariots rolling on the dangerous path of "Taiwan independence." This has exerted a severe negative effect on the cross-Straits relationship, and will bring about graver consequences as the situation evolves.
Chen Shui-bian is calculating when it comes to picking referendum issues. The first one is a threat to the mainland: If the missiles targeting Taiwan are not withdrawn, Taiwan will buy more weapons. The second one is a mutual framework for peace and stability.
A stick and a carrot, so to speak, which the wise can easily see through. There will be a thud on your head while you eat your carrot.
Once the mainland acquiesces to Chen's so-called "peace referendum," that would be equal to accepting the referendum as legally binding, which will trigger a series of other referenda and unequivocally lead to one on "independence."
But Chen has miscalculated. He has mistaken restraint and patience on the part of the mainland as weakness and helplessness. He is pushing the mainland into a corner, where we will have to safeguard our nation's sovereignty and territorial integrity at all costs if all efforts for peace fail.
From the perspective of international law, Chen Shui-bian does not have the right to use a referendum to determine the island's territorial status. The United Nations stipulates that "the principle of self-determination" applies only to colonized nations when they break off from colonial rule, or regions that are historically unclear on the issue of sovereignty. Taiwan obviously does not fit either case.
Even judged from the "referendum law" passed by Taiwan's "legislative yuan," Chen still does not have the right to initiate a "defensive referendum" because it is not under a direct threat from the outside. Therefore, the key is not what he decides to vote on in the referendum, but the reality that he simply does not have the right to hold a referendum in the first place.
Chen Shui-bian is behaving even more oddly by asking the mainland to withdraw missiles. As we all know, military deployment is part of a sovereign nation's internal affairs, which only the central government has the right to determine, and it is a decision that the highest authority of a nation will make depending on the threat it faces. If the Taiwan authorities give up on their independence agenda, the mainland will no longer have the threat of Taiwan being torn away from the motherland and the central government will certainly readjust its military deployment based on the needs of national defence.
Within the framework of one China, a common system of national defence will be economical and therefore a boon to both sides of the Straits. However, if the danger of Taiwan being separated from the motherland does not disappear, the People's Liberation Army will not abandon its military position.
Moreover, there is no peace treaty in place between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits, so the state of military hostility will continue. Why should the mainland unilaterally withdraw its missiles?
Of course, our missiles are not aimed at Taiwan compatriots, but rather towards "Taiwan independence" forces. We will never go to war lightly.
The fuse of war or peace is in Chen's hands. It's not that the mainland does not want peace, but Chen is pushing us towards war. He is playing with fire again. Taiwan compatriots should be on the alert.
(China Daily February 3, 2004)
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