Tue, Jan 11, 2000 - Page 8 News List

Soong's cross-strait ideas are a poison pill

By Jan Shunn-Fa

Independent presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜) proposal that cross-strait policy be built on the basis of a "quasi-international relationship between two relative sovereignties" (相對主權的準國際關係) essentially degrades Taiwan into the status of a colony, a non-self-governing territory, and a territory placed under trusteeship.

The term "quasi-application" refers to a situation under which it is permissible for a legal relationship, as a result of its nature, to be subjected to partial and conditional application of the regulations for other legal relationships.

For example, the Civil Code provides that legal exchanges may be subjected to a "quasi-application" of the regulations on sales. However, an exchange is, after all, not a sale. Therefore, the Civil Code's provisions on the obligations in sales are not completely applicable to an exchange. In other words, an exchange may only be subjected to some of the regulations on sales.

Therefore, defining the cross-strait relationship as a "quasi-international relationship" is the equivalent of acknowledging that the relationship between the two sides of Taiwan Strait is not an international relationship and that the two sides, rather than being two independent countries, are one central government and one local government.

However, when a local government is a "special administrative region," the central government inevitably applies principles comparable to those applicable to international relationships to resolve any legal conflict between the authorities of the local and central governments.

For example, whenever China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region have had conflicts in judicial authority, the principles of international conflict of law have invariably been applied. It essentially constituted an application of "quasi-international relationship" principles.

In other words, it was a quasi-application of international conflict of law principles governing the differences between the domestic laws of different states to handle a conflict in the legal relationship and authorities of "two relative sovereignties."

The so-called "quasi-international relationship" under public international law in general regulates the relationship between an state entity and a non-state entity. The so-called non-state entities are usually colonies, non-self-governing territories, and territories under trusteeships.

According to the declarations regarding non-self-governing territories in Article 11 of the UN Charter, member states responsible for the administration of non-self-governing territories shoulder the obligation for the well-being and political aspirationsof the inhabitants of the territories, and must periodically transmit reports on the conditions of these territories to the UN Secretary-General.

Under international law, the people in non-self-governing territories do not have any right to demand the establishment of their own countries.

Soong's proposed "quasi-international relationship between two relative sovereignties" indicates that under his cross-strait policy the relationship between China and Taiwan is a relationship between a central and a local government, and a parent country and a non-self-governing territory.

It essentially describes the relationship between China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, which fits the legal definition for a "quasi-international relationship."

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