Tue, Feb 22, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Letter: If Taiwan were king

By Tom Bowie

If Taiwan were king

This Canadian has for the last two years watched and read about the ongoing debate about Taiwanese democracy and independence. I've read much about the history of Taiwan. I lived in Taiwan for a short time. I read this newspaper every day for over two years. I married a Taiwanese woman. I don't profess to be an expert on Taiwanese matters, but I probably know more than most.

I am a staunch supporter of Taiwan. Taiwan is an independent country and has been since 1949. I am more than a little sick of the international attitude toward Taiwan. I am tired of the international community bowing to China's demands, purely for economic reasons. I tired of seeing "Chinese Taipei" in the World Pool Championships, the Olympics, Miss Universe and the Special Olympics. I'm tired of the US spouting democracy for the world, yet ignoring Taiwan's democracy. I'm tired of Japan's silence in relation to Taiwan. I'm tired of the West using Taiwan to bottle up Chinese expansionism in Asia, yet always turning their backs on it. I'm tired of reading how Taiwanese officials are denied visas to enter other countries because of pressure from China. It has to end.

I wonder what the US and Japan would think of Taiwan changing its position and unifying with China? What would they think of Taiwan offering China a military and economic partnership? Overnight, China and Taiwan would dominate Asia militarily and economically. Overnight the power in Asia would shift. Overnight the Japanese and the US would be relegated to second-class status in the region. Overnight the "Chinese Century" would begin. What would they think of that?

I don't want to see Taiwan as a rump province of China. Taiwan has worked too hard to achieve what it has. It is an economic powerhouse and a democratic beacon for the world to emulate. If the world continues to marginalize Taiwan, they do so at their own peril. The very thing they most fear -- Chinese domination in the region -- would be achieved overnight if Taiwan were to co-operate with China.

Taiwan, you have many friends out there, but unless they speak up for you, they are not real friends. Taiwan could change China for the better. Perhaps it is time for Taiwan to take its rightful place in the world by unifying with China and bringing about positive change. Taiwan could be the "King Maker" in the Chinese Century.

Tom Bowie

British Columbia, Canada

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