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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times Opposition candidates blind to CCP

Opposition candidates blind to CCP

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate hopeful Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) has a message of assurance for voters concerned about the prospect of war in the Taiwan Strait: If he becomes president, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will not invade, because he does not advocate for Taiwanese independence.

Gou’s advisers have apparently impressed upon him that the issue of Taiwanese independence is “too provocative” in the current tense environment. Despite that the government has never advocated for independence, Gou’s assurances would be welcomed by the more credulous members of the electorate, especially as he maintains that the economy is the most pressing issue at hand.

In an open letter to Gou posted on Facebook, United Microelectronics Corp founder and former chairman Robert Tsao (曹興誠) disagreed, saying that the economy comes first in normal times, but when the CCP is threatening an invasion that would see Taiwanese killed or incarcerated, banished and brainwashed, these are not normal times. For Tsao — who wrote that at no point has any Chinese official said that committing to opposing independence would result in the CCP’s refusal to invade — the economy can wait.

Gou’s message that approaching the issue with an appeal to reason and shared prosperity betrays a misunderstanding of the severity of the situation and of the nature of the CCP. That he seeks the KMT’s presidential nomination and is trying not to be “too provocative” is no excuse. What the nation needs are candidates with credible vision.

On Sunday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met in Seoul, the second summit between the nations in less than two months, following 12 years in which there were no official bilateral visits at all. Both leaders are willing to normalize relations. During Yoon’s trip to Tokyo in March, he and Kishida announced plans to resume sharing military intelligence and restore Japan’s status as a favored trading partner.

In a post-summit news conference, Kishida said that “the international situation surrounding us also makes cooperation between Japan and South Korea indispensable.” Kishida has faced his own political challenges at home, preparing his nation for the emerging “international situation” — not just the threat of North Korea’s nuclear missile program, but also the CCP’s increased assertiveness and the possibility of a “Taiwan contingency” that would inevitably draw the Japan Self-Defense Forces in.

However, Japanese largely support an increased defense budget and are aware of the threat China poses. Yoon has a far higher mountain to climb in terms of public support and domestic opposition. Opinion polls show that a majority of South Koreans are unhappy with his efforts to mend ties with Japan, while the opposition — including some public and civic groups — says that Tokyo should make renewed apologies for the colonial era and the treatment of South Korean “comfort women” during World War II.

His rapprochement with Japan is politically risky, and he faces legislative elections next year, but he understands the importance of unity among like-minded partners, and is under no illusions about the regional tensions, as demonstrated during his visit to Washington last month.

Like Yoon, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr understands the importance of aligning with the US to protect his nation’s interests, taking a different path from his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte. We have yet to see such proactive vision or awareness in the opposition presidential hopefuls in Taiwan, from Gou, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) or Taiwan People’s Party Chairman Ko Wen-je (柯文哲). It is time that we did.

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2023/05/11

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Protesters gather outside police headquarters in Hong Kong yesterday.
Photo: AP

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