Fri, Feb 23, 2001 - Page 13 News List

'Chinese Confederation' versus 'One China'

By Lee Chang-kuei 李長貴

The CCP also speaks loudly of Chinese culture, yet it had waged the Cultural Revolution, still brutally suppresses Tibet, massacred its own people in Tiananmen Square and is victimizing Falun Gong followers and other religious sects. Such dark aspects of Chinese culture foretell the pathetic fate of Taiwan's modernized democracy, economy, and society under the "one China principle." Taiwan's lesson, learned at great cost, is that only trouble comes out of China.

China has strongly demanded that Taiwan open up the "three links" -- direct transportation, communication and commercial links. Taiwan, however, ended up having to unilaterally launch the "small three links" to Fujian while China adopted a passive and uncooperative attitude.

This turn of events shows the massive self-contradictions in the "one China principle." China's says the three links are domestic affairs. If that were so, should they be governed by ROC or PRC law? Qian advocates handling them as domestic affairs according to PRC law, while the ROC thinks they have to handled according to a special status in accordance with the divided sovereignty of the two sides -- the "special state-to-state" relationship and "one China, with each side free to make its own interpretation." Qian just wants to ignore the fact that the two sides are separate political entities with independent sovereignties. The PRC's blind spot is of course "peaceful unification," since how can unification be accomplished unless you admit division in the first place?

The Triangular Relationship Between Taiwan, China and

the US

The triangular relationship between Taiwan, China, and the US is also very complicated. Before the US entered into formal diplomatic relations with the PRC, even at the time it signed the Shanghai Communique, the US maintained formal diplomatic relations with the ROC. The US declared in the Shanghai Communique that "all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China." However, the US' simultaneous passage of the TRA and entry into formal diplomatic relations with the PRC implied a recognition of "one China, two substantive political regimes," and a foreign policy of "one China, one Taiwan." The sum total of the US attempts to safeguard Taiwan via the TRA while opening diplomatic relations with a China intransigent over the status of Taiwan was a "three Chinas" policy. Under this one China is defined as the PRC, but the ROC on Taiwan is an independent entity while there is a future one China which incorporates both China and Taiwan.

Therefore, the one China acknowledged by the US is conceptually deeply ambiguous. From this ambiguity comes the US' policy for an ambiguous triangular relationship. This policy, on the one hand, has caused Taiwan repeated setbacks in international relations, yet, on the other hand, attests that the PRC has no control whatsoever over Taiwan. The one China that the PRC forces would-be diplomatic allies to accept is of course a mirage.

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