Taiwan: NSC Meeting Aimed at Safeguarding Taiwans Democracy
The meeting was called on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis and the first anniversary of China's enactment of its anti-secession law, with which Beijing gives itself the option of using "non-peaceful means" to settle differences with Taiwan.
Chen said he wants to make sure that the Taiwan people will not be deprived of their freedom of choice, in order to practice the principle of "sovereignty in the hands of the people." "I also want to make sure that Taiwan's freedom, democracy and human rights, as well as peace across the strait, will not be unilaterally changed, " he said in reference to his definition of the meaning of Taiwan's status quo.
Democracy is Taiwan's most precious asset, whose multicultural nature almost guarantees noisy squabbles over any political issue, Chen said. "However, as a responsible government, we must always stand firm on our position and march forward with pragmatism, doing the right thing and walking the correct path so as to face history and the people," he said.
Explaining why he must remind the people of the 1996 missile crisis in the Taiwan Strait, he recalled that immediately prior to Taiwan's first direct election of its president March 23 of that year, China launched test missiles March 8 and 13 that landed near Keelung and Kaohsiung, Taiwan's largest ports in the north and the south, with one landing just 55 km from Taiwan proper.
At the same time, China was also staging live-fire military exercises involving land, sea and air troops simulating an invasion of Taiwan, Chen said, noting that Beijing did not call off the drills until March 25.
Even after that, Chen said, China has not ceased its verbal threats and military scare tactics against Taiwan, whose democracy has still managed to thrive and prosper, an indication that Taiwan's democratic development is "by no means a gift from heaven."
He cited for example that during the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, in an attempt to sway Taiwan's democratic process, China used various means to scare and threaten the people of Taiwan in the hope that they could be frightened into making choices not of their own accord.
Since he won his first presidential election in 2000, Chen continued, he has sent out many olive branches to China, only to get more missile deployments and military expansion in return.
China's People's Liberation Army has even set up a three-stage plan to invade Taiwan in 2007, 2010 and 2015 as required by its Anti-Secession Law, an obvious plan to use "non-peaceful means" to change the status quo in the strait unilaterally, Chen pointed out. "This is the most real and immediate threat to democratic Taiwan," he said.
He made the remarks before participants began to discuss the issue of doing away with what he has described as the "anachronistic" National Unification Council (NUC) and "outdated" National Unification Guidelines, which commit the country to eventual unification with China.
Attending the meeting were Vice President Annette Lu, Premier Su Tseng-chang, Presidential Secretary-General Tan Sun Chen, NSC Secretary-General Chiou I-jen, Vice Premier Tsai Ing-wen, Foreign Minister Huang Chih-fang, Defense Minister Lee Jye, Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu and other leading national security officials.