`APPEASEMENT BREEDS AGGRESSION': PRESIDENT
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, May 29 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian urged the international community Tuesday not to "overlook China's irrational demands and unreasonable behavior, " claiming that history shows that "appeasement breeds aggression."
Chen made the appeal in his opening remarks at a videoconference with the National Press Club (NPC) in Washington, D.C.
Also present at the videoconference were House Representative Lincoln Davis, former American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Richard Bush, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Randall Schriver, U.S.-Taiwan Business Council Chairman Rupert Hammond-Chambers and NPC President Jerry Zremski.
International media, including the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, the Voice of America, Kyodo News Agency, Jiji Press, Sankei Shimbun, and Washington-based Taiwanese media, also attended the conference.
The core issues between the U.S. and Taiwan always revolve around ensuring peace in the Taiwan Strait, Chen said, adding that increasing evidence indicates "the major factors for the intensification and escalation of cross-strait tension do not stem from Taiwan's continued efforts to deepen its democracy, but rather from China's rapid military expansion."
Quoting the results of an annual report released by the U.S. Defense Department May 25 on China's military power, Chen said that "the aim of China's military modernization surpasses the need to resolve a conflict in the Taiwan Strait. China has upset the military balance not only in the Taiwan Strait, but also in all of East Asia." "It has enabled the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to launch military activities outside of the Taiwan Strait, and could start with activities in its peripheral regions. China is marching toward becoming a global military hegemony," Chen went on.
He also used the recent World Health Assembly (WHA) annual meeting held in Geneva and the General Assembly of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) held in Paris as examples to show that China's unreasonable suppression has long excluded Taiwan from participating in the World Health Organization (WHO).
Chen further said that the OIE succumbed to pressure from China and passed a draft resolution to downgrade Taiwan's status from that of a sovereign country to that of a non-sovereign regional member. "The OIE's rationale was based solely on China's unilateral assertion that the PRC includes Taiwan and that the PRC government is the sole legitimate government representing the whole of China," Chen said.
Describing the argument as "unprecedented, surpassing and replacing Beijing's past official position, " Chen emphasized that "Taiwan has never been under the jurisdiction of China and that Taiwan and China are two independent nations on each side of the Taiwan Strait." "Taiwan is Taiwan, and China is China; there is one country on each side of the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan currently has official diplomatic relations with 25 countries around the world. Therefore, to include Taiwan as part of PRC not only ignores a historical fact, but also directly challenges the status quo in the Taiwan Strait by attempting to change and damage that status quo," Chen stressed.
He further said the international community, especially the free democratic camp led by the United States, Japan and the European Union, should not pverlook China's irrational demands and unreasonable behavior simply becasue of its size and power. "To maintain lasting peace in the Taiwan Strait and ensure security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, the international community must send the right message to China, " Chen said, adding that the world must guide China towards political democratization.
(By T.C. Jiang)
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