Friday, April 29, 2005

Peace in our time?

Taiwan KMT, China End Civil War Hostilities
Taiwan opposition leader Lien Chan and Chinese President Hu Jintao closed the book on decades of hostility on Friday with a simple handshake in Beijing's Great Hall of the People.

The civil war enemies agreed in a two-hour meeting that they described as frank and friendly to work to end enmity between the Kuomintang (KMT), or Nationalist Party, and the Chinese Communist Party and avoid military conflict in the Taiwan Strait, one of Asia's most dangerous flashpoints.

"The two parties will work together to facilitate the resumption of negotiations as soon as possible ... and facilitate the ending of a hostile state to achieve a basis for peace," Lien's spokesman told a news conference.

But that will depend also on Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), whose independence stance has heightened tension with a mainland China, which views Taiwan as its own and is bent on bringing the self-governed island back under its rule.
Civil war between whom? This was merely Taiwan's minority party making "peace" with the mainland, not the ruling party, and certainly not with the majority of Taiwan's people. Beijing has never backed off its view that Taiwan is a "rogue province," and that mainland China has the right to take it back, even by military force. To call it "civil war" includes the arrogant presumption that Taiwan is part of the People's Republic of China, that it's not a free and sovereign nation. And the article admits an ulterior motive for the trip:
But Lien's trip, seen as a divide-and-conquer gambit by China to isolate the DPP, has come under fire at home.

"We are disappointed that he went to an enemy country and did not express the majority view of Taiwan people, which is that Taiwan is a sovereign, independent country," the DPP's legislative whip, Chen Chin-jun, told a news conference.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend. In return for its "peace" overtures, I expect Beijing will start backing the KMT in future elections (don't be surprised if they engage in covert funding). Then if the KMT returns to power, will they reciprocate by selling out their country? By "country" I don't mean the PRC -- I mean a free and independent Taiwan.

It's the most important issue, of course, to the Taiwanese: do they want leaders who believe in sovereignty and freedom, or leaders who believe in peace "at the price of chains and slavery?" The KMT has just displayed their full hand. They're willing to bargain.

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