Sun, Jun 20, 2004 - Page 8 News List

US' `one China' review overdue

By the Liberty Times editorial

The US State Department's US-China Economic and Security Review recently recommended a US reassessment of the "one China" policy.

Given China and Taiwan's changing situations, the policy's viability, success and future should be reviewed.

Also deserving of review is the topic of how the US can improve its support of Taiwan's national defense, and how it can help Taiwan break through its international economic isolation resulting from China's stranglehold.

The US report notes growing doubts concerning China's ability to find a peaceful resolution to the Taiwan question given its recent conduct toward Taiwan and Hong Kong. Similar doubts are growing regarding its promise to give Hong Kong autonomy.

As China's strength grows, its Asian neighbors are concerned that the US war on terrorism is causing the West to show less interest in the region.

The "one China" principle embodies China's ambitions for sovereignty over Taiwan, and is a formula used to block Tai-wan's international recognition.

Yet in the real world, "one China" incorporating Taiwan just doesn't exist, except as a baseless myth.

China insists that "There is only one China in the world, and both China and Taiwan belong to that one and same China" -- even though the Chinese Communist Party that now rules Beijing had itself advocated independence for the Japanese colonies of Taiwan and Korea during the Yenan Period (1935-1945).

The People's Republic of China has never had control over Taiwan in its half-century in existence. Taiwan and its people have never paid taxes to this Chinese government, nor have they enlisted in its armed forces.

The two nations have been separate for these 50 years, and it wasn't until 18 years ago, when Taiwan started allowing war veterans to return to China to visit their relatives, that any kind of interaction between the two sides was even allowed.

Surely this is sufficient evidence for the existence of two countries, not "one China."

Even older evidence against "one China" is known by every schoolchild: the Qing government suffered a defeat at the hands of the Japanese in 1894, and the following year signed a treaty permanently ceding Taiwan to Japan. In the San Francisco Peace Treaty after World War II, Japan merely gave up sovereignty of Taiwan -- and this sovereignty was at no time ceded to China.

From the point of view of international law, Taiwan's status remains unsettled, and China was certainly never given the right to rule it.

In 1945, when the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government appeared on their shores, the Taiwanese saw them as a foreign power who were to use Taiwan as a base from which to retake the mainland. This, however, did not change the fact that Taiwan's sovereignty did not belong to China.

Since the KMT government was thus a foreign government, the PRC is even more so, and "one China" is nothing but an illusion.

This illusion has material consequences for Taiwan, whose people are internationally isolated and whose government is a diplomatic orphan. Yet in spite of this illusion, the Taiwanese are building on the reality of their freedom, embarking on reforms toward democracy and localization, and uprooting the lie that Taiwan is a part of China.

Yet the "one China" policy was adopted decades ago by Taiwan's main supporter in the international community, the US.

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