Tue, Oct 06, 2015 - Page 8 News List

Obama’s mention of TRA carries significance

By Chen Yi-nan 陳逸南

At their joint press conference on Sept. 25 in Washington, US President Barack Obama told Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) that the US remains committed to its “one China” policy based on the Three Joint Communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).

Section 2 of the act says that “it is the policy of the United States to consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States.”

China’s expansionism has led to the broadening of its core interests to encompass regions such as the East and the South China seas and the Taiwan Strait, posing a potential threat to peace and security in the Western Pacific area. This means that Obama’s reiteration of the TRA is of profound significance and might be of relevance to the US’ pivot to Asia. This is something that Taiwanese should be paying attention to.

Section 3 of the act says that the US president “is directed to inform the [US] Congress promptly of any threat to the security or the social or economic system of the people on Taiwan and any danger to the interests of the United States arising therefrom. The President and the Congress shall determine ... appropriate action by the United States in response to any such danger.”

The book Taiwan Will Survive, published in May by James Wang (王景弘), quotes a letter that former US president Richard Nixon wrote to then-US president Jimmy Carter on Dec. 20, 1978.

“It is essential that you [Carter] ... give additional reassurances firmly and unequivocally [on the security of Taiwan]. The US should publicly go on record that any use of force against Taiwan would irreparably jeopardize our relations with the People’s Republic of China. I believe, also, that we should make it clear that we not only have the right to approve private arms sales to Taiwan, but that we intend to exercise that right for as long and to the degree necessary to deter any use of force against Taiwan,” Nixon wrote.

The memoirs of Frederick Chien (錢復), a former minister of foreign affairs, which were published in February 2005, mentions Washington’s six assurances to Taiwan, including “the US will not revise the TRA.”

Thirty-six years have passed and the TRA remains untouched. Nonetheless, Taiwanese should be on full alert lest China puts pressure on the US to nullify the TRA. The public should ensure that the act will continue to function as it was intended to.

As the saying goes: “The universe helps those who help themselves.”

May God bless Taiwan. Taiwan will survive.

Chen Yi-nan is the director of the Northern Taiwan Society.

Translated by Ethan Zhan

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