Monday, December 29, 2008

Wearing a Helmet, Welcoming the Pandas

Wearing a Helmet, Welcoming the Pandas
United Daily News editorial
A Translation
December 29, 2008

Cross-strait links have been kicked off amidst an air of festivity. The KMT-CPC forum concluded with much to show. A pair of pandas from Sichuan named Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan are coming to Taiwan as ambassadors of peace. Yet at a time when the Taiwan Strait is filled with the atmosphere of reconciliation, President Ma Ying-jeou donned an army helmet while reviewing the troops during live-fire exercises.

President Ma said that cross-Strait relations may be improving, but that does not mean we no longer need a military capability. We still need to make military preparations and enhance up our military capabilities. We must not negotiate out of fear.

President Ma is not raining on everyones' parade. He is merely reminding us that we must remain vigilant amidst peace. Indeed, the government must not reduce its military preparedness. Although the mainland has repeatedly stated that it desires a peaceful solution to the Taiwan problem, it has not changed its position on the use of force. The public must be aware of this, and remain cautious.

During decades of cross-Strait confrontation, the mainland's policy toward Taiwan has gradually softened. Early rhetoric calling for a "Taiwan bloodbath" and "the liberation of Taiwan" has changed to "peaceful reunification and one country, two systems," and to "maintaining the status quo," and finally to implicit recognition of "One China, Different Interpretations." This shows that the mainland authorities have adopted a calmer attitude. The "Anti-Secession Law" reserves the right to use of force against "de jure Taiwan independence." Nevertheless the mainland ought to make clear that it will not use force against Taiwan, for at least three reasons.

One. Those who support and participate in the Taiwan independence movement are a minority. The vast majority of the public on Taiwan want peaceful coexistence. It is unfair for the mainland to intimidate everyone on Taiwan in response to the behavior of a small number of radical Taiwan independence advocates. It also runs counter to the mainland's policy of "pinning its hopes on the people of Taiwan."

Two. Modern weapons of mass destruction are extraordinarily destructive. If the mainland attacks Taiwan, it could turn Taiwan into a wilderness. Would the mainland really want such a result? People may disagree about how many died during the 228 Incident in 1947. But bad blood lingers 60 years later. If the mainland is determined to attack Taiwan, the result may be corpses everywhere. How will they deal with the aftermath? How will they answer to history?

Three. The mainland has always referred to the public on Taiwan as compatriots. What is the rationale behind using modern weapons to kill one's fellow countrymen? Two decades after the Tiananmen incident, mainland officials still refuse to face the truth. One reason is they want to maintain social stability. The other is probably inner guilt. How can even one such mistake be allowed to occur on Taiwan?

Of these three reasons, we would like to place special emphasis on the third. On the 24th of this month, the United Daily News' "Public Forum" published an editorial entitled "Three times Chiang Kai-shek prevented the the United States from using nuclear weapons against the Chinese mainland." According to Chiang's diary, the United States was secretly preparing to attack the Chinese mainland during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. It was considering dropping atomic bombs. Chiang Kai-shek clearly expressed his opposition, and sought to dissuade or discourage advocates of such a move.

Ever since the Communist Party defeated Chiang Kai-shek and forced him to retreat to Taiwan, he thought of nothing but "retaking the mainland," and "avenging a national humilation." But the ROC's military power was far from sufficient. Since the United States was willing to help, by using its bombs, in principle Chiang should have been pleased. He should have taken the easy way out. But Chiang Kai-shek was determined not to do so, and made this quite clear in his diary. A nuclear strike against the mainland "would have an adverse impact on the people." Many who have read this article feel that the mainland authorities' attitude toward Taiwan ought to be the same as Mr. Chiang's. Only then can cross-Strait relations improve.

During the Spring and Autumn Period, warlords fought each other tooth and nail, year after year. Corpses filled the trenches. King Xiang of Wei asked Mencius, "How can we achieve peace?" Mencius replied, "By promoting unity." King Xiang of Wei asked "But who can promote unity?" Mencius replied, "He who is unwilling to kill others can promote unity."

During the ROC's 2008 presidential election one of the primary planks in Ma Ying-jeou's campaign platform was a peace agreement with the mainland. Following his election and inauguration he has continued to promote this proposal. This sort of unwillingness to kill others is the proper basis for cross-Strait interaction. A peace agreement offers people on both sides of the Strait the hope of peace. It offers a long-term framework for win/win cross-Strait interaction.

If the mainland relinquishes the use of force against Taiwan, that will help convince the public on Taiwan that the mainland has put humanism and human rights above political struggle. When the panda ambassadors for peace arrived on Taiwan, President Ma wore an army helmet and spoke of war and peace. The dramatic contrast reflects Taiwan's hopes and fears for cross-Strait relations.

2008.12.29 03:01 am




兩岸對峙數十年來,大陸對台政策一步步往和緩的方向演進,從早期的「血洗台灣」、「解放台灣」到「和平統一,一國兩制」,以迄目前「維持現狀」的說詞,以 及對「一中各表」的默認,在在顯示大陸當局已漸走向理性。至於《反分裂國家法》所保留的動武條件,亦只是針對「法理台獨」。但是我們仍然認為,大陸應當明 言不對台灣動武,理由至少有三點:


第二、現代武器殺傷力特強,大陸如進攻台灣,可能使台灣變成廢墟荒原。這樣的一塊土地,難道是大陸想要的嗎?再說,一九四七年一次意外的「二二八事件」, 死亡人數尚眾說紛紜,而仇恨之結已六十年難解;若大陸立意攻台,結果或將是「屍橫遍野」,那將如何善後?又如何向歷史交代?



蔣介石自從敗於共產黨退守台灣,無時無刻不以「反攻大陸」、「雪恥復國」為念。但台灣自身軍力遠遠不足,既有美國拔「彈」相助,理應喜出望外、因利乘便才 對。但蔣介石堅決不為,並在日記中明言,核襲大陸「對於民心將有不利之影響」。很多閱過此文的讀者都認為,大陸對台灣的態度,應向蔣先生看齊,庶幾兩岸關 係能有進一步發展的空間。




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