Wed, Nov 01, 2000 - Page 8 News List


Taiwan must define itself

As an American reader, I am quite frankly puzzled at the ROC's inherent national policy contradictions. While Hung Mao-tien (田弘茂) from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that "Taiwan is an independent, sovereign state," your Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) is attempting to form an acceptable definition of "one China," which of necessity is a political arrangement of some sort, and one which, again necessarily, means that the PRC and the ROC share some political structure.

MAC is not alone in pushing for some brand of unification: The China Post recently carried an editorial arguing that "President Chen and the DPP should abandon their separatist ideology and recognize that movement toward reunification is in the interests of the Taiwan people."

You currently have two branches of power working against each other: one seeks to gain more international space for Taiwan, while the other seeks to eventually eliminate national status in favor of political union with China. For an outsider, this seems truly bizarre. With such ambiguity in your policy, where not even your own leaders say definitively whether Taiwan (or the ROC if you insist) is a separate nation from China, is it any wonder that you face such opposition in joining the UN or other international organizations? How can a country such as mine diplomatically support independent, sovereign status for a country whose own leaders declare that Taiwan's status is undetermined?

What nation of significance is willing to worsen its relationship with China just to support the nationhood of a country (ROC) whose leaders are not even sure whether it is part of China or not? You may blame the PRC for obstructing your international relations, but much of the blame must be placed on the leaders of the ROC for creating such internally inconsistent policies.

As a foreigner, it is not my concern whether your people support independent status or some variety of unification. As an outside observer, however, from a country entangled in cross-strait relations, I cannot see any benefit in maintaining such a contradictory and unworkable policy. The US will never truly support a sovereign ROC, despite our common democratic systems, until the Taiwanese come to some basic, definite conclusions about whether or not they are part of China.

Neil Hop


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