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Free, democratic Taiwan not China's enemy: Lee Teng-hui

2018/06/24 23:36:55

Former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝)

Okinawa, June 24 (CNA) China's worst enemy is that it does not genuinely embrace democracy and freedom and Taiwan, which does so, will not be its enemy, former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said on Sunday in Japan.

Lee made the remarks at a dinner gathering with Taiwanese expatriates in Okinawa, in which he said that Taiwan will someday present itself on world stage with its own name.

In the 21st century, China has become an assertive player on economic, political, military, and technological fronts, but it has been seen as a hegemony, not a civilized country upholding the ideas of democracy and freedom, Lee said.

Lee said that China has become the "most destabilizing factor" in Asia and has caused disturbances that threaten the security of countries in the region.

China's ambitious "One Belt, One Road" project -- an initiative with the main focus on investing large sums of money in infrastructure development in its targeted countries -- will turn many of the countries into "economic colonies of China," Lee said.

An overbearing China is felt most keenly by Taiwan because China has targeted more than 1,000 missiles at Taiwan, often flown an array of military aircraft around Taiwan, lured away its diplomatic allies and obstructed its international participation, he said.

Economically, China has continued to steal high technologies from Taiwan, proposed lucrative packages to poach Taiwan's human resources, and pressed Taiwanese businesspeople in China to give up their own political beliefs in favor of China's, Lee added.

China has also tried to build up its networks of operatives in Taiwan by offering money or using the tactics of seducing or luring to divide or disturb Taiwan's society, he said.

On one hand, China has coined the term "Chinese Dream" to promote the idea of a "Greater China," while on the other, it has employed the phrase of "1992 consensus" to uphold its "one China" principle to suppress the development of Taiwan, Lee said.

China's uses of a series of tactics, including verbal intimidation, military threats, economic coercion, social division, and buying off, are aimed at annexing Taiwan to realize the unification of China, Lee said.

"We are not afraid of China's deliberate efforts to degrade Taiwan. Down deep in our hearts, we cannot degrade ourselves," Lee said.

Some people, who are trapped by the idea of a "Greater China," have got lost, not knowing there to go or what to do, Lee said, adding that they have succumbed to the Chinese hegemony and are bought off by China for short-term interest.

Lee criticized the Chinese regime for running counter to the universal human value of democracy and freedom, and projects itself as a country of great power and prosperity.

He accused China of using the "Chinese Dream" to fool the Chinese people for the purpose of maintaining the Communist Party's rein on power, Lee said.

"Taiwan is not your enemy, not now and not in the future. Your greatest enemy is true democracy and true freedom," Lee said in reference to the Chinese government.

The Chinese government should think about building permanent democracy and freedom and seeking eternal happiness for all Chinese people, Lee said.

If China wants to become a world power, this should not be achieved by exporting hegemony; rather, it should be achieved by becoming a civilization that exports universal values, Lee pointed out.

Earlier Sunday, Lee unveiled a monument erected in Peace Memorial Park in the Mabuni Hill area of the city of Itoman to commemorate Taiwanese who died in the Battle of Okinawa, one day after Okinawa Memorial Day.

(By Yang Ming-chu, Shih Hsiu-chuan and William Yen)