Tue, Dec 23, 2003 - Page 9 News List

China's missiles threaten status quo

While US President George W. has taken Taiwan to task for plans to hold a referendum on China's military intimidation, he appears to have forgotten that the true threat to peace comes from Taiwan's totalitarian neighbor

By Lee Chang-Kuei

ILLUSTRATION MOUNTAIN PEOPLE

Taiwan has never seen an election race as tight as this one. With four major campaign platforms -- strengthening democratization, rectifying the name of Taiwan, upholding referendum rights and writing a new constitution -- the DPP is giving Taiwan's people a wake-up call with regard to national identity.

The KMT condemns President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) for committing "treason" with such platforms, yet reiterates the "one China" principle for a stable society and prosperous economy as the theme of its campaign. This is a debate over history, national identity, democracy and the recognition of Taiwan's independence from China.

The so-called debate over history is over the issue of whether Taiwan belongs to China. The people of Taiwan have been under the rule of the Dutch and Spanish, beginning about 10 generations ago, until the Ching Dynasty ceded Taiwan permanently to Japan. Japan then ruled Taiwan for 50 years.

It is the perception of the Taiwanese people with a nativization consciousness that the real political bondage of Taiwan began on Oct. 17, 1945. After Japan's defeat in World War II, the Chinese National Party (KMT) government sailed to Taiwan on US naval vessels, protected by accompanying US carriers, and then landed at Keelung. With the consent of the top military commander of the US in Far East, the Japanese armed forces in Taiwan surrendered to Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石). The KMT government was given the legal authority to temporarily occupy Taiwan.

In 1949, the Chinese Communist Party took over China, declaring the establishment of the People's Republic of China (PRC) with Beijing as the capital. In December of that same year, Chiang declared Taipei as the temporary capital of the ROC government headed by the KMT. On June 27, 1950, the US president declared that the action of the US navy in sailing into Taiwanese waters and engaging in military attacks violated the UN Charter.

San Francisco treaty

During this time, the Allies and Japan negotiated a peace treaty. Neither the KMT in Taiwan nor the communists in Beijing were invited to take part in the peace conference in San Francisco in 1950. The peace treaty resulting from the conference stated that Japan officially relinquished sovereignty over Taiwan and Penghu. However, nothing was said about officially transferring that sovereignty to either the KMT government or the Chinese communist government. In 1949, Chiang Kai-shek simply accepted the surrender of the Japanese forces in Taiwan on the behalf of the Allies. Moreover, in 1950, the US president also declared that the determination of the future status of Taiwan must await restoration of peace in the Pacific or a decision by the UN. So, the sovereignty issue of Taiwan remained undecided. It is an indisputable fact about the legal status of Taiwan.

The myth embraced by the PRC -- that Taiwan is part of China -- is a lie. The PRC has not ruled Taiwan for one day. It is not uncommon for China to make this kind of lie. A more recent example, when SARS was spreading to Taiwan and other parts of the world, Beijing lied to the World Health Organization (WHO) that it had already established mechanisms and channels to help Taiwan prevent the spread of the epidemic.

The PRC accepts neither "one China and one Taiwan" nor "two Chinas." In other words, to the PRC, the Republic of China no longer exists. On the other hand, the ROC on Taiwan is not recognized by the international community. The UN and the Allies never did resolve Taiwan's status. Only the people of Taiwan can decide for themselves whether Taiwan is independent from China.

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