Fri, 11 Mar 2005

From: Jawawa

~Accept consensus of 1992

Taipei and Beijing agreed in 1992 that there is but one China but they may individually and orally define it. The unsigned agreement has come to be known as the consensus of 1992.

The consensus of 1992 was the sine qua non Hu Jintao, president of the People's Republic of China, officially laid down again for resumption of Beijing-Taipei dialogue, disrupted since 1998, in a speech before the National People's Congress last week. The Chinese parliament is due to rubber-stamp an anti- secession law, which is believed to provide a legal excuse for an invasion of Taiwan, if Taipei declares independence.

We wish to urge President Chen Shui-bian, again, to accept the tacit agreement of 1992...Chen should not miss this now-or-never chance to declare his acceptance of the consensus of 1992. For the first time since 1949 Beijing has acknowledged Taiwan and China belong to "one and the same China," giving up its "Taiwan is part of China" mantra.

If President Chen openly accepts Hu's prerequisite for dialog, the proposed law, all set to pass, will be less harsh on Taiwan. -- The China Post, Taipei

The heir of Saint Peter

Perhaps the single most serious problem facing the Church is the health of the current heir of Saint Peter, Pope John Paul II.

Until John Paul II, it was reasonably safe to assume that the Pope would be Italian. John Paul's election in 1978 as the 263rd successor of Saint Peter as Bishop of Rome had been the result of a political compromise resulting from the split of the Italian camp and the drive by conservatives. The College of Cardinals has been internationalized and decentralized since John Paul headed the Holy See, hence a cardinal of any nationality should have a fair chance.

The new Pontiff will have to contend with mounting fundamentalism not just of Muslims but of Catholics who believe that the Church has made too many concessions in the past decades.

Catholics believe that the Holy Spirit guides the cardinals in choosing their next leader. With the challenges ahead and the gravity of the issues facing the Church, we should all be grateful that the cardinals are receiving instructions from a mystical force. -- The Manila Times

Japan's history

"Consideration for Japan's Asian neighbors" is one of the provisions for the screening of public school textbooks by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Specifically, the provision requires that Japan respect the spirit of "international understanding and cooperation" in its appraisal of history with its Asian neighbors.

But a senior education ministry official has made a comment that effectively negates this provision.

The "Asian neighbors" provision embodies this basic national principle. Objections to this provision by any senior education ministry official would raise questions about Japan's basic stance. This is hardly in the nation's interest.

Whether we have this provision or not, we must never make light of our history with our neighbors.

-- The Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo