CHEN URGES E.U. NOT TO LIFT ARMS EMBARGO AGAINST CHINA
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, March 12 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian on Saturday urged the European Union not to lift its arms embargo against mainland China before Beijing improves its human rights record and implements genuine democracy.
The president made the appeal while addressing a provisional meeting of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party congress held at the Taipei International Convention Center.
President Chen pointed out that Beijing has refused to address the aspirations of the Taiwan people for democracy and peace, has never renounced the use of force against Taiwan for the purpose of unification, and has dismissed the efforts of the Taiwan people to pursue democratization as unilateral provocation.
Beijing's verbal attacks and military intimidation has continued unabated, Chen said, adding that it is now planning to use "non-peaceful" and undemocratic means to sabotage the fruits of Taiwan's democracy achieved over the past five decades.
With the situation in the Taiwan Strait stable and with the success of the Chinese Lunar New Year cross-strait charter flights, the two sides should move towards a further opening up to each other.
He lamented the fact that Beijing has instead pushed for the enactment of an "anti-secession" law, which he said has raised cross-strait tensions.
The president said that although China's national security has been less threatened over the past decade than at any other period in recent history, Beijing's defense budgets have increased by double-digit figures during the last ten years.
China has deployed 706 missiles targeting Taiwan, and the number is growing at 120 missiles every year, Chen said, adding that this has tilted the military balance in the Taiwan Strait and led the United States and Japan to say that "Taiwan is a mutual security concern" in a joint statement following a Security Consultative Committee meeting in Washington, D.C. late last month.
The president stressed that China's military expansion as well as its unfriendly attitude toward its neighbors have threatened the democracy and security of Taiwan as well as regional peace and stability. "Before China improves its human rights record and implements genuine democracy, there is no reason for the E.U. to lift its arms embargo, " the president said.
Noting that many E.U. members are founders of the modern democratic movement and that they have defended democracy with blood, Chen said that if they were to allow an "undemocratic and totalitarian" country to invade a free and democratic country, this would be the biggest blemish in the history of democracy.
The president also said recently that if the E.U. were to lift its arms embargo, imposed shortly after the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, it would be tantamount to "encouraging and supporting" an "undemocratic and non-peaceful country" to use force against a "democratic Taiwan."
(By Lilian Wu)
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