Both Taiwan’s democracy and national status are in extreme danger. At a time when things are going generally well around the world, Taiwanese voters ended up electing a government that wants to bring the country crashing down by turning it into a non-democratic nation and depriving Taiwanese of their right to self-determination.
The hegemonic ambitions China has shown during its “rise” have startled its neighbors and there are increasing calls for the US to “return” to Asia just as Washington is busy restocking its military deployment around China’s periphery as a counterbalance.
However, the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) does not understand that it can use this situation to its advantage if it slowed down and showed some patience in order to protect Taiwan’s status as a sovereign country. Instead, they are ignoring Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) “dying instructions” of “upholding democracy” as they move full-speed ahead and kowtow to non-democratic China.
The US has made a Herculean effort to avoid having to acknowledge China’s claims to sovereignty over Taiwan, but Ma turned around and threw the interests of Taiwanese under the bus when he sent former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) to Beijing to hold “heartfelt” discussions with China and to make it clear to Beijing that Ma’s policy consists of a “one country, two areas” formula.
What on Earth does the “one country, two areas” formula refer to?
A long-time advocate for Taiwan, former US diplomat John Tkacik, recently said during testimony before the US Congress that these new changes in Taipei’s policies basically mean that the Ma administration agrees that Taiwan is a part of China and that as a result, it would gradually move away from the circle of democratic Asian nations and “become part of China’s security interests.” Tkacik feels it is a pity that the Ma administration has chosen to go down this path and it has hurt US interests in the process.
However, Taipei does not understand how to take advantage of the changing situation and safeguard Taiwan’s status. Instead, it has turned around and openly accepted that Taiwan is an area of China, robbing Taiwanese of their right to freely choose their own future.
Taiwanese officials posted in the US have responded by saying that the US has a clear understanding of the Ma administration’s China policies and that Washington has not expressed any concerns over Wu’s “one country, two areas” statement. Such remarks represent a huge change in the Asian region and to claim that the US has not expressed any concerns over the Ma administration saying Taiwan’s sovereignty belongs to China is a load of garbage.
However, if Taiwan does indeed decide to end it all by surrendering to the Chinese communists, the US will not have any reason to oppose the outcome and for those who are pro-China and anti-Taiwan, this would offer a way of removing the burden the US places on their shoulders.
Taiwanese voters might think Ma has what it takes to handle China and protect the continued existence of the Republic of China (ROC). However, his “skill” lies in ruining Taiwan, killing the ROC as per China’s instructions and latching Taiwan inextricably onto China.
James Wang is a political commentator in Taipei.
Translated by Drew Cameron