Fri, Apr 20, 2007 - Page 8 News List

Time to say no to US' `one China'

By Michael Lin 林正二

The US government has made it clear that it will not back Taiwan's plan to apply for WHO membership under the name "Taiwan." On the diplomatic front, the major obstacle facing Taiwan is the US' adherence to the "one China" policy. Unfortunately, during the recent televised debate between the four Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential hopefuls, none of them pointed out how inappropriate the "one China" policy is or came up with a clear and comprehensive diplomatic strategy for Taiwan to gain international recognition.

I believe that Taiwan's diplomatic strategy towards the US should stress its core values and adhere to the principles of reciprocity and coexistence in urging the US to revise its outdated "one China" policy, while letting the US understand that whatever Taiwan does will benefit the US.

Taiwan should begin by accentuating its democratic achievements and its geopolitical and economic strategic value.

Taiwan and China share a linguistic and cultural background. Taiwan's democratic experience is the most important example for leading China down the path to democracy. As democracy deepens, the Taiwanese people are developing an increasingly strong awareness of Taiwan's independence and sovereignty, and the US government's antiquated "one China" policy only hurts the future development of cross-strait relations. This will have an impact on Washington's ultimate goal of a peaceful transformation of China.

Second, Taiwan enjoys a unique strategic geopolitical position in the Asia Pacific region and it supports the US-Japan alliance which will stop China, a continental nation, from expanding its naval capabilities. However, if the US continues to abide by its "one China" policy, Taiwan will not be able to exert its geopolitical advantage, thereby allowing the already powerful China to engage in maritime expansion.

Third, Taiwan outshines China in management, integration of mid and downstream industries and research and development. In addition, China's exports to the US are mostly made by China-based Taiwanese companies, so if Washington refuses to adjust its "one China" policy, it will in the end be restricted by China's giving precedence to politics over the economy when dealing with Taiwan.

Taiwan should then take aim at Washington's cross-strait policy and Taiwan's democracy.

First, the objective of US cross-strait policy is to help the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to settle their differences peacefully. However, Beijing is making every effort to block Taiwan in the international arena. If the US does not want to adjust its "one China" policy and help Taiwan join important international organizations, there will be no room for cross-strait negotiations on an equal footing.

Second, the circumstances when the US first formulated its "one China" policy were very different from today's growing Taiwanese consciousness. By adopting a policy that obscures Taiwan's sovereignty, the US will not be able to help Taipei and Beijing settle their differences.

Third, the US' China-leaning cross-strait policy has not only violated the basic rights of the citizens of Taiwan to purse their freedom, democracy and happiness, but it has also violated the founding spirit of the US and the administration of US President George W. Bush's policy of seeking global democratization.

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