In a recent article entitled “Not So Dire Straits,” published in Foreign Affairs, US academic Bruce Gilley suggested that Washington consider excluding Taipei from its Asian allies if a “Finlandized” Taiwan leans toward China.
Writing in an opinion piece in a local newspaper on Jan. 4, Department of International Affairs Deputy Director Huang Chih-ta (黃致達) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said that Gilley’s suggestion should be taken as a severe warning to Taiwan. If the Washington mainstream accepts Gilley’s suggestion, Taiwan risks not Finlandization but becoming the next Hong Kong.
China considers Taiwan as part of its territory and has tried to prevent Taiwanese participation in international organizations, completely denying its status as a country. Taiwan does not belong to China, and never has. This is an irrefutable historical fact borne out in international treaties and documents. The entity of China — either in its incarnation as the Republic of China (ROC) or the People’s Republic of China (PRC) — has never been able to prove its claim over Taiwan’s sovereignty in International Law and such a claim is totally illegitimate.
China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) recently came to Taiwan for cross-strait talks with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Many Taiwanese took the opportunity to make their voices heard and declare that Taiwan is not part of China. Some protesters waved Republic of Taiwan flags that they had made to demonstrate their determination to declare independence.
A JUDGE’S VIEW
Japanese academic of international law Shigeru Oda, an International Court of Justice judge in The Hague for 27 years — 12 of which he was also vice president of the court — published a paper on Taiwan’s sovereignty at the Japan Academy in 2006, saying that Taiwanese independence did not entail separation from the PRC, because there is fundamentally no basis for such a concept. He said he believes that Taiwan has divested itself of its past and transformed itself into a new democracy — New Taiwan — and that it should make the world aware of this fact.
According to him, peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait should start with self-restraint on the part of China, and its awareness that Taiwan is actually an equally independent sovereign state.
The term “Finlandization” refers to Finland’s transformation in the Cold War era. This was a foreign policy decision made by Finland — as it was threatened by the Soviet Union — to protect itself and maintain its own status as an independent sovereign state.
However, for Taiwan, Finlandization is impossible in the face of a powerful China, which may annex it anytime. Taiwan is more likely to become the next Tibet, Hong Kong or Macau.
The people of Taiwan should not be deceived by the KMT’s or the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) lies depicting an over-glorified unification of a greater China. We stand to lose our freedom, democracy and human rights if this happens. It would be a victory of evil over good, and a human tragedy.
If the Taiwan Strait, Bashi Channel and South China Sea fell into Beijing’s hands, this would also bring conflict and instability to the western Pacific region. Hopefully, Taiwanese can work together to build our own country.
Chen Yi-nan is a member of Taiwan Society North.
TRANSLATED BY EDDY CHANG
In September 2013, the armed wing of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) quietly released an internal document entitled, “Coursebook on the Military Geography of the Taiwan Strait.” This sensitive, “military-use-only” coursebook explains why it is strategically vital that China “reunify” (annex) Taiwan. It then methodically analyzes various locations of interest to People’s Liberation Army (PLA) war planners. The coursebook highlights one future battlefield in particular: Fulong Beach, in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District, which it describes as “3,000 meters long, flat, and straight,” and located at “the head of Taiwan.” A black and white picture of Fulong’s sandy coastline occupies the
US President Joe Biden’s first news conference last month offered reassuring and concerning insights regarding his administration’s approach to China. Biden did not mention the contentious meeting in Alaska where US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan confronted China’s top two foreign policy officials. The Americans implicitly affirmed the administration of former US president Donald Trump’s direct pushback against communist China’s repressive domestic governance and aggressive international behavior. Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) and Chinese Central Foreign Affairs Commission Director Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪) had explicitly demanded a return to the policies of
The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) between the US, India, Australia and Japan has found a new lease of life after China’s militarization of the South China Sea, acquisition and fortification of a new — and China’s first — naval facility in Djibouti, and growing naval activities in the Indian Ocean. With the Chinese navy consolidating its presence in the Indian Ocean and building a base in Djibouti, as well as foraying into the Mediterranean and Baltic seas, major European powers have been unsettled. France and Britain are already busy stepping up their naval presence in the Indo-Pacific region. In February,
Interrupting the assimilation of Xinjiang’s Uighur population would result in an unmanageable national security threat to China. Numerous governments and civil society organizations around the world have accused China of massive human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and labeled Beijing’s inhumane and aggressive social re-engineering efforts in the region as “cultural genocide.” Extensive evidence shows that China’s forceful ethnic assimilation policies in Xinjiang are aimed at replacing Uighur ethnic and religious identity with a so-called scientific communist dogma and Han Chinese culture. The total assimilation of Uighurs into the larger “Chinese family” is also Beijing’s official, central purpose of its ethnic policies