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Mayor best not to get involved on China issue

◎ By Peng Ming-min 彭明敏 / Translated by Paul Cooper

Foreign relations do not normally fall within the jurisdiction of a local leader, but Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) was plagued with questions on the China problem even while he was still on the campaign trail. Asked to accept the so-called “1992 consensus,” he shot back with a curt: “First tell me what the 1992 consensus is.”

Newspapers say that his basic stance on China is one of “mutual understanding, mutual respect and mutual exchanges,” and that “China is a foreign nation, and as a foreign country it should receive all of these, like any other foreign country does.”

However, there are problems with this outlook.

First, is it necessary to “understand” China more than it already is? The Chinese Communist Party governs 1.3 billion people and the world has conducted, or has access to, broad and penetrating research on every aspect of China: its history, culture, society, politics, foreign relations,

economics, education, military and ethnic makeup. Bookshelves around the world creak under the weight of periodicals and publications on China. It would be difficult to seek to know more about the place than has already been scrutinized and written upon.

China is open about its intentions to annex Taiwan and has permeated the nation, gaining a firm grip on classified information. How much room is there for the two nations to understand more about each other?

Second, whenever it has the opportunity, Beijing obstructs, suppresses and embarrasses Taipei. Taiwan is the world’s orphan, the “other woman.” How can talk of “mutual respect” even begin?

Third, there is the issue of “mutual exchanges.” Millions of people move back and forth between the two nations every year. Chinese officials of all ranks, seniority and importance come to Taiwan on “inspection tours” as if they were central government officials touring regions under their jurisdiction. Back and forth they go, while Taiwanese officials fete them, keeping them informed of conditions, making reports and openly speaking of “unification” when talking to the media.

When the pandas were shipped to Taiwan, the Republic of China (ROC) flags were taken down from the sides of the roads and tucked away out of sight, as if the two animals would be angered by the sight of the national flags.

Hundreds of Chinese students, all decked out in communist uniforms, strutted the stage of the National Theater, performing their own national dance, but when Taiwanese visit China, they just keep their heads down, afraid to poke them out from the shell into which they have retreated.

Heaven forbid the words “nation,” “president,” “democracy,” “freedom” or “human rights” be uttered — and that is not even to consider broaching the subject of the national anthem and flag. The most senior Taiwanese leaders sing the Chinese national anthem, pandering to authorities there.

Fourth, how can China be treated as if it is just another foreign nation when it has 2,000 missiles aimed at Taiwan from the other side of the Taiwan Strait and it has promulgated its “anti-secession” law as a form of intimidation. The pity is that Taiwan is just too weak to do anything about it.

Otherwise, the nation would be within its rights according to international law to destroy those missiles as part of a legitimate defense.
China is a foreign nation that is manifestly hostile toward Taiwan, so of course it does not deserve to receive the same treatment as other nations.

Ko has only just stepped into his post. He has a lot of things to deal with. He has no need to get embroiled in the bottomless mire that is the China problem. It would be far better for him to act as a detached observer, watching from afar.

Peng Ming-min was an adviser to former president Chen Shui-bian.

Taipei Time 2015-01-08

 

柯P與中國

彭明敏 

外交非台北市長所主管,但柯P一開始競選即被台灣脫不離的魔咒纏住,被迫對中國問題表態。被要求接受「九二共識」,他答以「先告訴我什麼是九二共識」,回應尖銳而嚴正。報載他對中國的基調是「互瞭、互重、互流」、「中國是外國,任何外國在此能享受者,它也應能享受」。問題是:

一、雙方「瞭解」不夠嗎?中共統治十三億人口,全世界無不爭先恐後對其歷史、文化、社會、政治、外交、經濟、教育、軍事、民族性等等做廣泛且深入的研究,有關刊物和資料,汗牛充棟,任人涉獵,對中國的瞭解,無法再更全方位而立體。中國欲併吞,台灣上下被徹底滲透,台灣國家機密也被掌握,故彼此瞭解,清清楚楚,明明白白,一點「誤解」的餘地都沒有,不知還要瞭解什麼?

二、至於「互重」,不談也罷,中國對台灣的阻擾、打壓、羞辱,無所不至。台灣成為世界孤兒「有棺材無靈位」,連小三都不如,尊嚴掃地,還說什麼「互重」?

三、「互流」還不夠嗎?每年數百萬,此「中」與彼「中」,混淆不清,在兩地之間,溢來溢去。中國大小官,接踵而至,以中央官員「巡視」地方的姿態,到處趴趴走,當地官員疲於「奉迎」、「宴請」、「簡報」,對方官員公開接觸媒體提倡「統一」。貓熊運入台灣,沿路「國旗」都收藏起來,怕二隻國際寵物看了會不開心。數百中國學生穿著紅軍制服,在台灣國家劇場表演歌舞,我方訪中,只怕龜縮不夠,「國家」、「總統」、「民主」、「自由」、「人權」都不敢提,遑論「國歌」、「國旗」。最高將領,在中國唱其「國歌」,獻媚卑屈之狀,不忍卒睹。如此交流不知所為為何。

四、中國非普通「外國」,以二千飛彈瞄準台灣,以「分裂法」公開威脅台灣,可悲台灣太弱小,否則依國際法得行使「正當防衛」權,先下手摧毀這些飛彈。中國既是有強烈敵意的外國,當然不得享受其他友好國家所享受的權益。

市長新政伊始,萬事待興,千頭萬緒,不必被捲入中國問題的無底泥沼深淵,寧可作為冷靜客觀的觀察者,默默思考則夠了罷。

(作者為前總統府資政)

自由時報〈自由廣場〉2015-01-06

 

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