TAIWAN PEOPLE WANT TO BE THEIR OWN MASTERS: PRESIDENT
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, Aug. 13 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian on Saturday expounded on the issues of the nation's identity, cross-strait policy and the nation's future, stressing that the aspiration of the Taiwanese people to be their own masters is unstoppable.
The president made the remarks when he addressed via teleconference the 32nd annual conference of the World Federation of Taiwanese Associations which was held in Brisbane, Australia.
The president noted that despite twists and turns during Taiwan's process in pursuit of democratization, the island has been blessed so that democracy has been achieved without bloody revolution. For this, Taiwan cannot possibly be severed from its past, he added.
Chen noted that he referred to the official name of the country as "the Republic of China (Taiwan) " during his overseas visits and that the nation's name on the Web site of the Presidential Office has also been changed to "the Republic of China (Taiwan)."
He said he knows that some people might not be satisfied, but they should know that the transfer of power between two political parties is not revolution and that Taiwan cannot be severed from its history, adding that as a national leader, he has a responsibility to history and the Taiwan people.
He noted that he recently expounded "the four stages of the Republic of China, " with an aim of giving the public a clear and definitive idea about his ideas regarding Taiwan's sovereignty and national identity.
Chen said that the ROC was established in China in 1912. Between 1912 and 1949, the ROC was on the mainland of China. After 1949, the ROC "moved" to Taiwan. In the third stage, during the time when Lee Teng-hui was president (1988-2000) , "the ROC on Taiwan" was the catch-phrase used to describe the nation.
In the fourth stage after 2000, with the first peaceful transfer of power in the ROC's history, the new phrase should be "the ROC is Taiwan," according to Chen.
The president said that "the People's Republic of China is China, and that the ROC is Taiwan, not China, " urging the public to make a clear distinction between the two.
On the future of the nation, the president reaffirmed that the ROC is a sovereign independent country, the nation's sovereignty lies with the 23 million people on Taiwan and any changes concerning Taiwan's future will be decided by the 23 million people on Taiwan alone.
He continued that the biggest challenge for Taiwan is not which name it should call itself, but China on the other side of the Taiwan Strait, which he said has used every possible means to try to totally deny the rights and fact of Taiwan as a sovereign independent country.
He noted that the U.S. Defense Department in a report on China's military power last month said clearly that with China's continued military buildup, the cross-strait military balance is now tilting toward China.
The report said that China has used diplomatic, economic, legal, physiological and military means to try to influence the domestic political situation in Taiwan. China has stressed cross-strait historical, ethnic and cultural links in an attempt to spread the idea of unification within Taiwan, Chen said.
The report also said that China, using diplomatic means and verbal intimidation, tried without success to prevent President Chen from winning a second term in 2004, and that it issued a warning on May 17 -- three days before Chen's inauguration for a second term -- on the consequences Taiwan will face if it pursues separatism.
Faced with a series of "hostile and splitist moves from China, " the president reiterated his cross-strait guidelines of "one principle, three insistences and five oppositions." "The 'one principle' is to engage in dialogue, consultation and negotiation with China under the principle of democracy, equality and peace," Chen said.
For the sake of political stability and a breakthrough in cross-strait relations, the ruling and the opposition parties must reconcile, and the two sides of the Taiwan Strait should also reconcile, although the reconciliation must be based on the "three insistences," he continued. "Our insistence on the ideals of democratic reform will not change, our insistence on the mainstream path of national identity will not change, and our insistence on the mission of transforming Taiwan into a normal, complete, great and progressive country will not change," he said.
The "five oppositions" refer to the government opposing Beijing's "one China" policy, Chen said, adding that it is China's goal to make Taiwan a part of China. The government also opposes the "one country, two systems" framework that would make Taiwan follow in Hong Kong or Macau's footsteps, he continued. "We also oppose the '1992 consensus' placed within the context of 'one China' or 'one country, two systems, ' and reject any proposal that is premised on 'unification,' or makes it the only option," Chen said. "And we firmly oppose Beijing's so-called anti-secession law, which codifies the use of 'non-peaceful means' against Taiwan should the island move toward formal independence," the president added.
(By Lilian Wu)
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