Former President Chen Shui-bian appealed for independence referendum

Former President Chen Shui-bian received Sankei Shimbun's interview and appealed for Taiwan's independence referendum against China to current President Tsai.

By Nora Chang

Taipei, Sep. 6 — Japan’s newspaper Sankei Shimbum (Industrial and Economic Newspaper, 産経新聞) publishes an exclusive report with Taiwan’s former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) for his first media interview in 10 years. During the interview, he said current President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), should call for referendum on Taiwan Independence to let the world know that “Taiwanese people do not want to be a part of China”.

According to the report, the interview was conducted informally owing to Chen’s judicial condition. He emphasized that Taiwan is facing a serious crisis due to tremendous diplomatic and military pressure from China. To resist, Taiwan should implement the independence referendum as early as possible to make an announcement to the world.

“Based on the poll, Taiwanese do not want to be united by China. However, President Tsai is only maintaining the status quo as a defensive method. We do not have powerful military force and can only keep up the good fight through democratic means,” says Chen.

We do not have [strong] military forces, but what we can do is resort to democratic ways to counter [China].

Chen is also upset with former President Ma’s policy towards China that he opened up too many opportunities unconditionally for it without taking Taiwan’s benefits into account so as to speed up its encroachment. He even claimed that Ma-Xi Meeting in 2015 was merely Ma’s personal grandstanding.

On the other hand, Chen is very grateful to Shinzo Abe’s (安倍晉三) administration as it is the most friendly one to Taiwan in history and criticizes Tsai for not being positive enough in responding to their kindness.

As for the US-China trade war, Chen expresses that Taiwan has always been only a pawn for the US to be used against China when necessary. Even though it’s a great opportunity for boosting Taiwan’s international visibility, Chen thinks Taiwan should not except too much from Trump’s government.

Speaking of his own political scam and lawsuit, Chen says to Sankei Shimbum that it’s a miscarriage of justice and he is having an extremely rough time. “It is a cross I have to bear for Taiwan’s democratization,” says Chen.