Mon, Jan 07, 2008 - Page 8 News List

LETTERS: A proposal for change

It is often easier to agree on aspirations than actions. In the 36 years since former US president Richard Nixon adopted the proposition that "all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China" (Joint Communique of the United States of America and the People's Republic of China, Feb. 28, 1972, also known as the "Shanghai Communique") the proposition has spawned a number of "one China" policies and has proved notoriously unhelpful to the formulation of good policies and actions.

But if we give the proposition its best interpretation, we might find that it does state an aspiration held in common by the people of Taiwan and the people of China. If there is such a common aspiration, it might be stated as follows: The people of Taiwan and the people of China hold in common the hope that their governments may, at such time as political differences between them are satisfactorily resolved, merge into a union that will ensure security, peace and prosperity for all.

If there is such a common aspiration among the people of Taiwan and China, then their respective governments should take concerted action toward realization of that aspiration. The two governments should agree that the present state of continuing tensions be replaced by a treaty acknowledging the conclusion of the Chinese Civil War and establishing a process of dialogue to resolve the differences between Taiwan and China. Upon the satisfactory resolution of these differences, the dialogue would then be directed to the merger of Taiwan and China to form a new union.

Such a treaty would eliminate all obstacles to the formalization of de jure statehood as desired by Taiwan, and at the same time would establish a process directed toward the ultimate union of Taiwan and China as desired by Beijing. The peacefulness of the process could be ensured by a non-aggression treaty, together with UN monitoring and control of any armaments of either party that could be targeted at the other.

Marty Wolff

Taipei County

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