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A drum group hired by the Guguan Community Development Association in Taichung County’s Hoping Township performs on an islet in the Dajia River yesterday during a ceremony to ward off disasters.



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Lawmakers disagree on Ma comments

DOUBT: Tsai Ing-wen said the president inspires little confidence and any peace accord between Taiwan and China should be dealt with by someone who is trusted

Monday, Oct 20, 2008, Page 3

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers reacted differently yesterday to comments in an Indian quarterly by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on the subject of a cross-strait peace accord.

While KMT lawmakers keenly supported Ma’s initiative to ink a peace accord with China during his term in office, DPP lawmakers were highly skeptical of such an agreement, expressing fears that it would undermine Taiwan’s independent status.

In an interview published in India and Global Affairs quarterly on Saturday, Ma said he hoped to pursue a peace pact with China during his term in office, in response to a question on whether he thought the more than 1,000 missiles targeted by Beijing on Taiwan would be removed during his presidency.

KMT Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) endorsed Ma’s efforts to make peace with China, saying that signing a cross-strait peace deal would be the right thing to do. But he cautioned that Ma still needs to overcome many challenges.

Lu called for a cross-strait bill and improved understanding with China to pave the way for the clinching of the proposed peace accord.

KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) said that signing a cross-strait peace agreement would mean a normalization of bilateral relations. If that happened, Taiwan would enjoy greater international space and the prospects of peace in the strait, the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world would be better guaranteed, he said.

Lin praised Ma for putting forward what he called a politically far-reaching proposal.

DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲), however, opposed the idea of a cross-strait peace pact on the grounds that it would make Taiwan an appendage of China and push Taipei to embark on a path of unification with Beijing.

Kuan suggested that a referendum be held to decide whether the president should sign such a peace accord with China.

DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) accused Ma of preparing a big gift for the upcoming visit by China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) at the cost of Taiwanese interests by raising the proposal without setting any pre-conditions.

DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday there would be huge controversy if Ma proceeds with talks on a peace accord with China, given that people in Taiwan have very little confidence in him.

“Many people in Taiwan have little confidence in Ma’s handling of cross-strait affairs, and if he takes the lead to sign a peace accord with China, I believe it will be very controversial,” she said.

Tsai contended that a peace accord between Taiwan and China should be dealt with by someone who has the people’s trust.

“Negotiating or signing any peace accord will definitely involve the questions of sovereignty and national security,” Tsai said. “If these two questions cannot be properly addressed, a peace accord will harm the country.”

At a separate setting yesterday, Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Fu Don-cheng (傅棟成) said Ma proposed the signing of a peace treaty during his inaugural address.

As cross-strait negotiations are conducted step by step, Fu said, the government is well aware that “certain conditions” must be met before a peace agreement can be reached.


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NASA pulls ‘province of China’ Web site reference

HOME AGAIN: A blogger who took NASA to task returned to Taiwan from the US in July last year, quitting a well-paid job because of his patriotism

By Tseng Wei-cheng
Monday, Oct 20, 2008, Page 3

“It is a country’s basic right to maintain its name, yet Taiwan’s name has been abused by others over and over again, revealing that there are still deficiencies in Taiwan’s right to exercise sovereignty.”

— Shortcake, a Taiwanese blogger
A NASA Web site that offers researchers downloadable satellite data no longer lists Taiwan as “Taiwan, Province of China” on the page. After a Taiwanese blogger who goes by the pseudonym “Shortcake” wrote about it in his blog, a large group of Internet users sent protest e-mails to NASA, which changed the name to “Taiwan” on Thursday.

Shortcake said the Web site used to refer to Taiwan as “Taiwan,” but speculated that the government’s talk of a “diplomatic truce” with China led to the change on the NASA Web site.

The blogger said this violated the 1996 Memorandum of Understanding signed by the US Department of State, which stated that the US government and its officials should refer to Taiwan as “Taiwan.”

Shortcake wrote a protest letter to the agency and invited fellow Internet users to copy his letter and send it to NASA. Within a day, NASA edited the Web page and changed Taiwan’s name back to “Taiwan.”

Shortcake went to school in the US and worked there for more than a decade. In his blog, he discusses acts by governments, agencies and international organizations that degrade Taiwan’s national sovereignty.

This is not the first time he has written a letter of protest and called on other Internet users to join in the written protest. Most organizations, after receiving letters of protest, change Taiwan’s name to Taiwan on their Web sites, he said, citing a US railway company, Google Maps, the WHO, the Global Invasive Species Database and Nokia as examples.

Shortcake returned to Taiwan in July last year, quitting a well-paid job because of the passion he felt for his country, he said.

Shortcake said he had promoted activism because he felt that Taiwan is often degraded in the international community.

“It is a country’s basic right to maintain its name, yet Taiwan’s name has been abused by others over and over again, revealing that there are still deficiencies in Taiwan’s right to exercise sovereignty,” he said.

He said he felt he had the duty to protest this treatment and help the nation combat it.

Over the years, Shortcake said he has been pleased to find many like-minded people. As long as people are willing to speak out, Taiwan has a good chance of having its name respected, he said.




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