This morning Apple Daily published an open letter from respected Taiwan scholar Bruce Jacobs, directed at the two presidential candidates.

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An Open Letter to Frank Hsieh and Ma Ying-jeou
(給謝長廷和馬英九一封公開信)

By Bruce Jacobs (家博)

Over eighty per cent of the residents of Taiwan (台灣住民) want this country (本國)to be a member of the United Nations. As both of you have recognized in the past, this country is a sovereign nation (有主權的國家). According to international law, the best definition of a sovereign nation appears in the “Convention On Rights And Duties Of States” signed in Montevideo on December 26, 1933. According to this Treaty, a sovereign state has four characteristics: “a ) a permanent population; b ) a defined territory; c ) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.” This nation clearly has all four of these characteristics. In addition, the people of this nation freely and democratically elect the nation’s government.

This clear unity among the people of this nation in desiring to participate in the United Nations has been lost in partisan bickering. I urge you both to put aside partisan interests and to concentrate on national interests.

In order to demonstrate to the world the desire of the people of this nation to belong to the United Nations, I would urge you both to reach a three-point agreement:

1. In discussing membership of the United Nations, you put aside the issue of “name” and do not refer to “Taiwan” or the “Republic of China.” In discussing membership of the United Nations, you can both refer to “this country” (本國).
2. In discussing membership of the United Nations, you put aside the issue of whether this country shall “join the United Nations” (入聯) or “return to the United Nations (返聯).” Rather, you can both refer to “participating in the United Nations” (參加聯合國).
3. You both urge all voters to support both UN referenda in the March 22 election.

With both of you supporting the two referenda, it is highly likely that both referenda will pass. This will send an important message to the world community that this nation is a sovereign nation that both wants and deserves to be a member of the United Nations. On the contrary, failing to pass the two referenda would send exactly the wrong message to the world community.

Such an agreement between the two of you would also go far towards diminishing political division in this nation and help to forge a new national unity.

Respectfully yours,

J. Bruce Jacobs (家博)

作者為澳洲蒙納士大學亞洲語言與研究講座教授暨台灣研究室主任.

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Good luck. Based on the election results, I see a lot of pious words but little real cooperation on this. Further, since the KMT is working with China, it doesn’t seem very likely. And then there is the Bush Administration, which issued another round of attacks on the UN referendum just prior to the election.