Apr 13, 2006

Taiwan: Chen Offers Conditions for China Ties

Taiwan does not rule out any form of relationship with China, so long as Beijing abandons its authoritarian political system, President Chen Shui-bian said
Taiwan does not rule out any form of relationship with China, so long as Beijing abandons its authoritarian political system, President Chen Shui-bian said yesterday.

"Such an alternative relationship must, of course, depend on the consent of the people of Taiwan," he said. "But if China refuses to forgo authoritarian rule, no one can force Taiwan to ultimately unify with China."

The government and the people of Taiwan are determined to contribute responsibly to global peace and stability, Chen said, especially in the Taiwan Strait.

"Taiwan has no objection toward the people of China, but strongly opposes the Chinese Communist Party's one-party rule and authoritarian regime," he said.

The president made the remarks while receiving the European Parliament's Taiwan Friendship Group at the Presidential Office yesterday morning, made up of parliamentarians from the Netherlands, Germany and France.

Chen told his guests that China's one-party dictatorship posed a massive threat to democracy, freedom, peace and human rights.

The goal of China's authoritarian regime, Chen said, was to strengthen its control over its society and that its armed forces exist only to serve the Chinese Communist Party, instead of the nation or the people.

"It is obvious to all that there is no freedom of speech, freedom of the press or freedom of religion in China, and its human rights record is notorious," he said.

Chen said Beijing has tightened its control over the media and the Internet, actions that should not be acceptable to the international community. He called for the relaxing of media controls and greater freedom for the people of China.

He expressed gratitude toward the European Parliament for passing resolutions supporting Taiwan's bid to join the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer.

Chen also praised the European Parliament's resolution to continue the arms embargo against China as wise and correct.

The parliament's concern and opposition to China's "Anti-Secession" Law and call for peaceful dialogue to resolve cross-strait tensions also offered a helping hand to Taiwan in a time of need, Chen said.

Meanwhile, Chen made similar remarks after meeting US Representative John Linder, who was accompanied by American Institute in Taiwan Director Stephen Young, at the Presidential Office yesterday afternoon.

Chen said that Taiwan was willing to talk to China if it was willing to democratize.

"The biggest difference between Taiwan and China is the political system and way of life," Chen said. "We are willing to engage in sincere dialogue with China if it is willing to democratize."

"However, we do not want to see anyone in the world force the people of Taiwan to accept the option of unification with China, if it refuses to give up its one-party authoritarian rule," he said.

China was standing at a crossroads, he said, and the question was whether China's "rising" would develop into an awakening of democracy or a military threat.

Will China present itself as an opportunity or a peril to the world, Chen asked. Will it embark on the road of freedom and democracy or exactly the opposite, he said.

Source: Tapei Times