Thu, Sep 13, 2007 - Page 8 News List

Make referendum an issue in US

By Michael Lin 林正二

Because of Washington's troubles with Iraq, Iran and North Korea in addition to the rise of China, the US is leaning more and more toward China in the triangular relationship between the US, China and Taiwan.

It opposed Taiwan's peace referendum in 2005, ending the National Guidelines for Unification and the National Unification Council and now also the referendum on applying for UN membership using the name "Taiwan," although these were steps that furthered democratization.

The US says these referendums were attempts to unilaterally change the "status quo" across the Taiwan Strait.

A US official has even said that "Taiwan, or the Republic of China, is not at this point a state in the international community."

Under pressure from China, it could well be US concerns about China's strategic cooperation in solving the issues in North Korea, Iraq and the Middle East that forced the US to adjust its policy toward the "one China" policy framework established by the three joint communiques of China and the US.

Washington's pressure on Taiwan is based on China's bottom line.

But when we look at relations between the US, China and Taiwan, there is no real need for the US to give in to China so much. China still relies on the US for investment, open up its market and in high-tech development. Also, the actual contribution that China could make in solving the problems the US has with North Korea and Iraq is not that great.

Taiwan, on the other hand, always looks to the US for its livelihood. Now diplomatic relations between the two countries are diminishing and as soon as the US brings out its "one China" policy, there is nothing Taiwan can do.

The US of course feels that putting pressure on Taiwan is the most simple and effective way to preserve stability in the Taiwan Strait.

Can the US really afford to boss Taiwan around like this? Does it really not need Taiwan's strategically advantageous geographic position to protect its own interests?

Now that Taiwan is in a situation where it holds a lot of bargaining chips, the first thing it should do is change its diplomatic toward the US from being the weak party and nodding in agreement to everything the US says, to loudly and bravely telling the US the wrongs of its "one China" policy and poining out why this policy is not beneficial to the US.

Taiwan can point out that the "one China" policy, which the US established as a part of its strategy of getting closer to China in order to control the Soviet Union, isn't suitable anymore in the current era of globalization.

This policy is not useful in solving the conflicts between China and the US over trade and other strategic benefits that have arisen now that China is on the rise. It also isn't compatible with the "status quo" of one country on each side of the Taiwan Strait and goes completely against public opinion in Taiwan.

The two sides of the Strait aren't able to resolve their conflicting opinions as long as the US maintains its policy of keeping the issue of Taiwan's sovereignty unclear. This is the fuse that might set off the powder keg that is the situation in the Taiwan Strait, and that is the dilemma facing the US.

Moreover, Taiwan should use the problem of North Korea to improve its international circumstances and influence the upcoming presidential elections in the US. US President George W. Bush has already been reduced to a lame duck.

This story has been viewed 3197 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top