Sat, Feb 27, 2010 - Page 8 News List

Taiwan’s status still undetermined

By Chen Yi-shen 陳儀深

In 1972, US president Richard Nixon and his special envoy Henry Kissinger held negotiations with Chinese premier Zhou Enlai (周恩來), and the two sides issued the Shanghai Communique. In 1979 the US broke off diplomatic relations with the ROC. Since 1979, the US’ relations with Taiwan have been regulated by the Taiwan Relations Act. The questions of the Soviet Union and Vietnam were among the main political factors behind these developments. The main concern of the US has been that China should agree not to use military force against Taiwan, but China refuses to make such a pledge.

Only on the question of arms sales to Taiwan has the US retained some degree of freedom to maneuver. As to the Beijing government’s one-sided insistence that there is only one China and Taiwan is a part of it, why has the US refrained from objecting? One of the reasons publicly given by the US is that Taiwan’s government holds to the same position as China.

These days Taiwanese people’s chances to express their point of view are not restricted, as they were in the days of martial law, to the occasional appearance at US congressional hearings, street protests and people held in the Taiyuan (泰源) and Green Island (綠島) prisons. The government of Taiwan must speak up for its people. We need a president who genuinely identifies with Taiwan, in command of armed forces that identify with Taiwan, to uphold Taiwan’s sovereignty and interests in the international arena. If we can’t be clear about this aim, then all kinds of political movements, from street protest to parliament, within or outside the system, will amount to nothing but word games.

Chen Yi-shen is chairman of the Taiwan Association of University Professors.

TRANSLATED BY JULIAN CLEGG

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