Wed, Jan 26, 2011 - Page 8 News List

The Liberty Times Editorial: TRA explicates US view of Taiwan

This historical background is essential for an understanding of how it is that Obama can raise the TRA with Hu and how it is that Hu dared not bring up Beijing’s “Anti-Secession” Law with Obama. Given the historical and legal factors mentioned above, the “Anti-Secession” Law is domestic Chinese legislation that has no legal hold over Taiwan and does not belong in any discussion with the TRA. The fact that Beijing’s opposition to US arms sales to Taiwan came to naught is a case in point.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is on record as saying that his government would never call on the US to go to war on Taiwan’s behalf. He seems to think that Taiwan’s sovereignty is an issue to be decided by the KMT and the CCP, with eventual unification as the goal. This is naive to say the least.

When Beijing ordered missile tests to intimidate Taiwan in 1996, then-US president Bill Clinton sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to the Taiwan Strait in response. Taiwan did not have to ask for this. The point was that Taiwan’s -sovereignty had been jeopardized. At the time, Clinton reiterated that the US had not changed its consistent stance on Taiwan’s sovereignty. This sovereignty has never belonged to either the PRC or the ROC, and it is not for these two parties to decide, either individually or jointly.

The US’ “one China” policy is markedly different from Beijing’s “one China” principle, and it has nothing to do with the so-called “1992 consensus.” As far as the US is concerned, there is only one China, of which the sole legitimate government is that of the PRC, and whose territory does not include Taiwan.

Furthermore, the ROC government, which no longer has any claim to represent China, continues to shelter on Taiwan, but it does not own the rights to Taiwan’s sovereignty. Ma has to realize this and he should not think that Obama’s approval of the softening of cross-strait tensions or praise of the ECFA should be read as an approval of the “1992 consensus” cooked up between the KMT and CCP to claim that Taiwan is a part of China.

On the contrary, Section 15, Article 2 of the TRA clearly states that “the term ‘Taiwan’ includes ... the islands of Taiwan and the Pescadores [Penghu], the people on those islands ... and the governing authorities on Taiwan recognized by the United States as the Republic of China prior to January 1, 1979, and any successor governing authorities.”

In other words, Taiwan is still Taiwan, irrespective of whether there is a change in the governing authorities, and Taiwan itself is considered to be an actual country.


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