The China Post staff and agencies
President Chen Shui-bian made unusually strong pro-independence remarks yesterday in a message apparently aimed at provoking rival China and shoring up his base.
“Taiwan should be independent, Taiwan should go by its own name,” Chen said at a banquet marking the 25th anniversary of the pro independence group, the Formosan Association for Public Affairs.
President Chen declared “Four Wants and One Without” concerning Taiwan’s status and its relations with China.
?”Taiwan wants independence, wants name rectification, wants a new Constitution, and wants development,” Chen said at a dinner in Taipei celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Washington based Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA),a non-profit organization promoting Taiwan’s cause.
“Taiwan faces no such problem as to leftist or rightist policy lines,” he continued, saying there are only the problem of national identity, and the problem of whether to unify with China or to secure Taiwan’s formal independence.
Chen said Taiwan is a sovereign state independent of China, and its independence is Taiwan people’s common goal. The pursuit of Taiwan’s independence is not a dangerous regression but the noblest undertaking,” he said.
China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949, but Beijing still claims the self-ruled island as sovereign territory and has threatened to retake it by force.
Both sides retain “China” in their foramal names. Taiwan is known as the Republic of China and the communist ruled mainland is officially called the People’s Republic of China.
Chen said “Taiwan” is the best name to be used in the country’s bid to join the United Nations and other international organizations.
To become a normal and complete state, he said, Taiwan needs a new Constitution that suits the country. He said the high conditions set for an amendment to the Constitution are not something to be worried about, and we will succeed as long as everybody works together with concerted efforts and one goal. In his 2000 inaugural address Chen pledged that as long as Beijing had no intention of using military force against Taiwan, during his time in office, he would not declare independence, not change Taiwan’s name, not add the state-to-state theory to the Constitution, not promote a referendum on the independence versus unification issue, and there would not be the problem of whether to abolish the National Unification Guidelines and the National Unification Council — positions collectively known as the “Five Noes” doctrine.
However, Chen’s independence-leaning administration has taken steps to assert Taiwan’s separate identity. In the past year, he has substituted “Taiwan” for “China” at the post office and two large government-owned companies.
Mainland leaders view Chen with suspicion.
Chen’s remarks came after Beijing said Sunday it will increase military spending by 17.8 percent in 2007.