When asked to comment on Taiwan's attempt to rejoin the United Nations half a dozen years ago, Baroness Thatcher quipped, "Do some useful thing."
The former British prime minister, who was presented with the Morgan Stanley Great Britons Lifetime Achievement award at Guildhall in London last week, didn't just say it's an exercise in futility for Taiwan to try to get back to that world body under any title. She meant it. Any referendum on Taiwan's admission to the United Nations certainly is an inane exercise in futility.
Of course, Margaret Thatcher did not suggest what that some useful thing is. But at least one thing is certain: an attempt to improve relations with China.
A great prime minister, Mrs. Thatcher was credited with the British return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.The improvement of Sino-British relations was an anchor of her foreign policy to stiffen the resolve of the West to stand up to the Soviet Union. Together with Ronald Reagan, she was able to see the end of the Cold War.
In accepting the award, Baroness Thatcher said modestly, "I am proud to have played my part in helping to transform the British economy and in restoring Great Britain's standing on the world stage." She did indeed.
Thatcherism means for the United Kingdom a victory in the Cold War and the liberation of the British economy.She presided over a government that knew it had to take public opinion along with it, if real and lasting change was to be made. Her greatness was judged by the scale of the legacy she has left the country.As David Cameron, the Conservative leader, says well, Baroness Thatcher made the landscape in which the Britons live today.
Taiwan voters will go to the polls on March 22 to elect a new president. Ma Ying-jeou, Kuomintang candidate for president, and his Democratic Progressive Party rival Frank Hsieh, should call off two referendums on Taiwan's admission to the United Nations, which certainly are not "some useful thing" Baroness Thatcher referred to. Either standard-bearer, when elected, has to take public opinion for improvement in relations with China along if real and lasting change in the life on Taiwan is to be made.