Some modest proposals
Recently, I saw several articles published in the editorial section of the Taipei Times regarding how Taiwan is being harassed by China in the international theater.
These harassments consist of everything from the name of Taiwan, China's crackdown on "pro-green" Taiwanese business people and entertainers ("Opening to the Enemy," June 30, page 8) and the repeated campaign against Taiwan's membership in UN ("Long view needed in economic diplomacy," Aug. 28, page 8).
On all of the above issues, may I present my view, to see if the Taiwan government can take quick action in developing a new strategy and implementing it as early as possible for the benefit of the Taiwanese people and their future freedom and happiness.
Perhaps, you might like to forward this letter to President Chen Shui-bian (
Taiwan's name: Recently, we were watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics and saw the Taiwan called "Chinese Taipei." One of the US viewers asked, "Where is the country `Chinese Taipei? Is it in China?'"
From time to time, we also read articles in newspapers and magazines and are very confused about the distinction between the Taiwan-owned China Airlines, China Petroleum, China Steel, China Shipbuilding, and China-owned entities with similar names.
One American even walked into a travel agency asking for a China Airlines flight to Beijing!
Since early years of the Cold War in the 50s and 60s, there have been postal problems between China and Taiwan. Mail gets returned to the sender if he or she uses the name "Republic of China," because such mail is often sent to China instead of Taiwan.
Therefore, we have always used the name "Taiwan" or "Formosa" when the addressee is in Taiwan and tried not to use the word China, to be sure that the mail reaches to the Taiwan addressee.
Chen spoke on behalf of Taiwan's UN bid during his recent interview with members of the UN Correspondents Association.
He said that Taiwan's unfair exclusion from the world body was tantamount to being an "international vagabond" and thus the country was the "victim of political apartheid."
Despite Chen's comments, Taiwan was again rejected this year in its annual bid for UN membership.
The key issue is China's "one China" card. In fact, the "one China" view was inherited from the civil war between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party.
Based on the above facts, Taiwan should not stubbornly try to keep the name "Republic of China" or "ROC" to challenge China for its seat in the UN. Indeed, Taiwan now has not tried to revise the decision of UN, made more than 30 years ago, to have the PRC take Taiwan's seat to represent China.
(The ROC, on behalf of Taiwan, abandoned its UN membership at that time).
As long as Taiwan used the word "China" as part of the country's name, the UN would not and could not accept Taiwan's proposal.
Even so, Chen mentioned the examples of North and South Korea and West and East Germany. But Taiwan and China are not currently on an equal footing in the same way that the Koreas and Germanys are. Therefore, it would be wise for Taiwan to seek a new strategy.
One of the strategies that should be considered and developed is to not bother too much about acquiring UN membership, but instead concentrate the nation's efforts on maintaining a neutral position -- similar to what Switzerland did some years ago.