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'One country, two systems' won't work in Taiwan: former AIT head

2019/06/17 17:32:24

CNA file photo

Taipei, June 17 (CNA) The ongoing political turmoil in Hong Kong over a proposed extradition bill has exposed Beijing's "one country, two systems" formula as untenable in Taiwan and unacceptable to its population, former American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman Richard Bush said Monday.

"I think the outcome here in the whole case of the extradition bill just proves again to people here that the 'one country, two systems' is not workable here, not appropriate here," Bush said Monday at a forum about the risks to peace in Asia.

Taiwan's stance against China's formula for unification has been amplified by the massive protests in Hong Kong, where people fear that the extradition bill would threaten the human rights of Hong Kong nationals by subjecting them to China's arbitrary judicial system, Bush said.

"For right now, the confidence of the Hong Kong people in their government and the 'one country, two systems' has diminished, declined," he said.

The controversial extradition bill, whose legislative process has been suspended in the wake of massive protest rallies in Hong Kong over the past week, would allow Hong Kong authorities to extradite crime suspects to China, Taiwan and Macau, raising fears it could threaten the human rights of Hong Kong nationals by subjecting them to China's arbitrary judicial system.

Also speaking at the forum, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said Taiwan needs to hold on to its democratic values to curb the expansion of authoritarianism.

The case of Hong Kong, a former British colony, has shown how media freedom and autonomous administration have given way to Beijing's overarching power, Wu said, adding that Taiwan should never bow to dictatorship.

On the issue of the chances of military conflict in the Asia-Pacific region, meanwhile, Bush said tensions have been escalating in recent years due to the changing roles of China and the United States, respectively.

The U.S. had maintained "hegemonic stability" in East Asia since the Vietnam War, remaining a dominant power under which countries in the region, including China, could pursue political, economic and social modernization, he said.

Over the years, the U.S. had been comfortable seeing its allies relying on it for security and depending on China for prosperity, Bush said.

The growth and decline of power between the two countries, however, has led to challenges in maintaining the status quo, he said.

On the U.S.' part, for instance, its economic leadership has been called into question as its loose financial regulation system was much to blame for the global financial crisis around 2008, Bush said.

Currently, the unwillingness of U.S. President Donald Trump to keep actively engaged in East Asia's security and economic domains has raised more concerns, he said, adding that the U.S.' withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership was "a serious mistake."

Meanwhile, China has been building its military capability, taking provocative action against neighboring countries, Bush said.

For example, China has been challenging Japan's administration of the Diaoyutai Islands and has been building artificial islands in the South China Sea for use as military bases, he said.

As a result, the South China Sea has become a "real potential flash point," Bush said.

To maintain regional peace, it is important that China and the U.S. reach consensus on peaceful coexistence, ideally through the establishment of an economic order led by them both, together with Japan, for instance, he said.

There should also be a mechanism to avoid conflict, and the key is an acknowledgment by countries in the region that they do not have to make a choice between China and the U.S., Bush said.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)
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