Taiwan Voters Choose Peace With China
By James Donahue
There was very good news
from Taiwan this week. The opposition
Nationalist Party won a landslide victory in legislative elections. Voters thus made it clear that they do not support
the hard-line China policies of President Chen Shui-bian and are about to boot his Democratic Progressive Party out of office.
will have their chance to choose a successor to Chen during presidential elections on March 22. Nationalist candidate Ma Ying-jeou is favored to win that election. Polls currently give him a 20-point lead.
The election may already
have eased tensions between Taiwan and China
over Chen’s threats to formalize an independence Taiwan
acquired in civil war some 60 years ago. Mainland China claims Taiwan as its own sovereign territory and threatens to attack if Chen's government attempts
to declare Taiwan an independent state.
China has set up missiles at the Taiwan
Straits and has had warships patrolling off the coast to show just how serious it is about this matter.
has worked well. The threat of an attack has staved off any political moves by Chen’s government. The patient wait appears
to have been very wise on the part of Chinese leadership. Such an attack could have drawn the United
States in a conflict with China.
The US has supported Taiwan
militarily and President Bush once pledged to defend Taiwan
in the event of an attack.
Nationalist Ma favors
stronger ties with mainland China. In
fact, the Democratic Progressive presidential candidate Frank Hsieh also is advocating a softer approach
to Chinese relations.
advocates the party’s pro-independence line in principle, but he says he rejects some of Chen’s hard-line policies
including moves to limit Taiwanese economic ties to Mainland China.
He favors an expansion of direct charter flights between Taiwan and China.
and the Nationlists, by contrast, would remove the asset requirements on investments and sanction scheduled flights between
China and Taiwan.
They do not rule out eventual unification.
We support the Nationalist
platform. This is a critical time for nations to begin joining forces and working together to solve world environmental and
financial problems. The time of separationism must be over if we expect to have any kind of future on this planet.