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President Chen's 2006 National Day Address(excerpt : cross-strait relations)

  • Date:2006-10-10

October 10, 2006 As an oceanic island nation, Taiwan's potential for national development can be cultivated only through external economic and trade links and international cooperation. Sound self-defense capabilities, a stable international environment, and peace in the Taiwan Strait are the essential foundations on which Taiwan will be able to ensure its survival and steadily pursue its development. There has been no large-scale military conflict in the Taiwan Strait for almost fifty years now. The all-important turning point was Taiwan's victory in the 1958 Battle of the Taiwan Strait, which allowed Taiwan to fend off danger, ensure peace, and lay the foundation for its future survival and development. We must never forget that bloody lesson: A robust national defense capability is our only shield and our only assurance of securing lasting peace. Until this very day, however, China has never renounced its objective of annexing Taiwan by force. In recent years, it has ceaselessly deployed ballistic missiles along its southeast coast targeted at Taiwan. There are more than 800 such missiles at present, which is four times the number in 2000. China also continues to augment training and preparations to launch a war against Taiwan, scheming to utilize military intimidation and threats to achieve its goal of forcing Taiwan to surrender without having to fire a shot. Here, once again, I earnestly call upon the opposition parties to expedite and complete their reviews of all major military procurement bills so that the nation's armed forces can finish upgrading their armaments and enhance their combat preparedness as soon as possible. Moreover, only by doing so will we have the substantive power and bargaining chips needed to engage in consultations and dialogues with China. Our investment in national defense is intended neither to spark an arms race with China nor to aggravate cross-strait tensions. Rather, it is an investment in peace, security, and stability. Only by possessing a strong self-defense capability can the outbreak of war effectively be prevented, and lasting peace in the Taiwan Strait be achieved. In recent years, China has continually resorted to dollar diplomacy and money politics to squeeze and limit Taiwan's international space. In face of this new challenge and condition, Taiwan is not willing, nor has it the need, to engage in a foreign aid contest. We need new ideas and approaches, and must make democracy, human rights, and humanitarian concerns as the basis of our future diplomatic efforts. In addition to consolidating our diplomatic allies, we should take further steps to establish a values-based alliance with the global community of democracies. Further, we should utilize multilateral cooperation mechanisms, such as summits with the leaders of our diplomatic allies in Latin America, Oceania, and Africa, as well as through the Democratic Pacific Union (DPU) to deepen Taiwan's bilateral relations with each of its allies. Programs designed to promote mutually profitable trade and enhance humanitarian assistance can also help us succeed in creating reciprocal regional advantages and shared prosperity. Thereby, Taiwan will be able to play a more positive, constructive role in the international community, and to open up new diplomatic vistas more energetically. As to the development of cross-strait relations, this surely cannot be confined to the mere interactions within the narrow framework of Taiwan-China relations. We must broaden our scope of action and expand our field of vision to the comprehensive level of the evolution of international political and economic dynamics. Following upon the success of its policy of economic reform and opening up to the outside world, China's overall national power, especially its military power, has grown rapidly, giving rise to widespread misgivings in the international community. Although Beijing has repeatedly claimed that this process is a "peaceful emergence," most nations of the world perceive it as a threat. Without democracy, there is hardly any prospect of peace. China is a totalitarian state that persists in its hostility toward freedom, democracy, and human rights. As long as China fails to democratize, the basic nature of this threat will never change, and relations between China and the world, including Taiwan, cannot possibly be normalized. No matter how lively the economic and trade relations and the movements of peoples are between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, as long as China continues to be ruled by a one-party dictatorship, the obstacles and barriers standing between the two sides can never be eliminated, and it will be extremely difficult to achieve any genuine, significant breakthrough in the basic nature of cross-Strait relations. Constructing a meaningful, substantive relationship will be possible only if China's leaders adopt the universal values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and peace to create a language shared by both sides of the Strait and, based on this language, cooperate in developing a framework of interactions for peace and stability. 【Source: Office of the President】