Sun, Dec 21, 2003 - Page 8 News List


China's aversion to risk

The US' position on Taiwanese independence and the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) staunch support for the status quo is fatally shortsighted. They are focusing solely on preserving the status quo without questioning whether it is desirable and sustainable.

The sole rationale for maintaining the present ambiguity over the non-independence of Taiwan is that this stance might increase the chances of Taiwan's survival. (This assumes that the US and the KMT would, if China were not present, prefer that Taiwan exist as a sovereign state.)

However, there is only one scenario where the status quo would preserve Taiwan's sovereignty: if China undergoes a peaceful democratic revolution. Unfortunately, that possibility is not very likely. The continued modernization of the Chinese military increasingly weights the strategic calculus in China's favour. Eventually, even the most conservative and risk-averse of the Chinese leadership will find it difficult to pass up the opportunity Taiwan presents to fuel the flame of Chinese nationalism.

It is this conservatism that is Taiwan's biggest ally. The current Chinese leadership is unlikely to risk war with the US; however, this posture is changing as the leadership becomes younger and more aggressive.

Regardless of the US' wishes to avoid confrontation with China, some sort of escalation is inevitable in the future as China flexes its political, military and economic muscle.

Under these conditions, it is clear that Taiwan has only one option. If events are heading toward a confrontation despite the maintenance of the status quo, it is time for Taiwan to reject it now while the Chinese leadership is risk-averse and while the US is belligerent.

Clarification of Taiwan's status is overdue. Addressing the issue now will force the US to support Taiwan in any confrontation with China or support the invasion of a democratic and sovereign state by an autocratic one.

This is a calculated risk, but it is preferable to certain military annexation or economic absorption at a time of China's choosing and on its terms. In short, it is time for Taiwan to call China's bluff.

Benjamin Adams

United States

No debate necessary

I do not see any reason to debate whether Taiwan should be governed by Beijing. The people of the world need to reflect each day on the cruel and insane practices of China.

Does anyone want a country where religion is oppressed by torture? China has destroyed Buddhist monasteries and killed more than 1 million Tibetans.

China is not working for peace and a nuclear-free world when it comes to North Korea. The leaders of China enjoy the nuclear crisis with North Korea because it makes China appear more important.

If the nuclear issue is resolved, then the leaders in Beijing will lose some of their authority.

Mark Hunter


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