Sun, Oct 09, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Who is in control?

By Audrey Deng , Puli

Huang Jei-hsuan stresses the need for Taiwan to maintain a strong defense capability (Letter, Oct. 2, page 8). This is certainly an important consideration for Taiwan's future. However, he then continues by saying that, "The US warning that it might withhold its support if Taiwan does not better arm itself does not make sense and is unhelpful."

He strongly suggests that the US change its "one China" policy in order to encourage the Taiwanese people to strive for sufficient deterrent capability, so that the Taiwanese know that their investment in defense is going to result in them some day being recognized as an independent and sovereign nation. While I don't doubt that Huang is sincere in his analysis, and wants to help Taiwan, there are numerous misconceptions and logical flaws in his argument.

First, let's look at the "one China" policy. I believe that what this policy says is that, "There is one China, and Taiwan is to be a part of China" (this is based on the Shanghai Communique). But, as everyone in Taiwan knows, at the present time, Taiwan is not a part of China (the People's Republic of China or PRC).

Second, let's look at the "Republic of China" (ROC) on Taiwan. The ROC was refused admittance to the UN again this year for the 13th time. Is the ROC a legitimate government for Taiwan? The answer is clearly: No.

The ROC military troops came to Taiwan and accepted the Japanese surrender on Oct. 25, 1945, on the direction of US General Douglas MacArthur. Many researchers say that the ROC accepted the Japanese surrender on behalf of the Allied Powers, but that misses the point. The laws of war do not discuss who surrendered to whom, or who defeated whom -- what they do discuss is "the occupying power."

If you read General Order No. 1 of Sept. 2, 1945, what can you conclude about who is "the occupying power" as spoken of under the laws of war? "The occupying power" is clearly the US. Hence, the ROC is merely a subordinate occupying power under the US; it has the position of an "agent." Moreover, when the ROC fled China in December 1949, it became a government-in-exile.

In the post-war San Francisco Peace Treaty, Japan renounced the sovereignty of Taiwan, but it was not given to the ROC. Today, the ROC on Taiwan continues to act in the dual capacities of a "subordinate occupying power" and a "government in exile."

Looking at the "one China" policy from this standpoint, it is clear that there is no need for the US to revise it. To repeat the obvious: "The ROC is not a legitimate government for Taiwan." That was made abundantly clear when the US derecognized the ROC in 1978. The Taiwan Relations Act refers to the government structure in Taiwan as the "Taiwan governing authorities" and does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state.

Third, as with many other authors who feature in the Taipei Times, there is the curious notion that "certain actions must be undertaken so that Taiwan can be a normal country." In other words, since many officials in the international arena have denied that Taiwan is a sovereign nation, it is seemingly necessary to do various things so that Taiwan's sovereignty can re-bloom, or mature in its growth, since it apparently has shrunk, died or otherwise disappeared.

When discussing such topics, we need to distinguish between "popular sovereignty" (ie, the right to vote) and "territorial sovereignty" (or "state sovereignty"). The Taiwanese people have "popular sovereignty" but they don't have "territorial sovereignty" because it was not ceded to the ROC, nor to the Taiwanese governing authorities in the peace treaty (the transfer of territorial sovereignty is always between governments.)

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