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
When Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping (習近平) wakes up one morning and decides that his People’s Liberation Army (PLA) can win a war to conquer Taiwan, that is when his war will begin. To ensure that Xi never gains that confidence it is now necessary for the United States to shed any notions of “forbearance” in arms sales to Taiwan. Largely because they could guarantee military superiority on the Taiwan Strait, US administrations from Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama practiced “forbearance” — pre-emptive limitation of arms sales to Taiwan — in hopes of gaining diplomatic leverage with Beijing. President Ronald
As the US marks one month under the leadership of President Joe Biden, the conversations around Taiwan have shifted. As I discussed in a Taipei Times article (“No more talk of ‘bargaining chips,’” Jan. 30, page 8), with the end of former US president Donald Trump’s administration — and all of the unpredictability associated with it — Taiwan would not have to worry about being used as a “bargaining chip” in some sort of deal with the People’s Republic of China. The talk of Taiwan being used as a bargaining chip never subsided over those four years, but under Biden, those
The Canadian parliament on Monday passed a motion saying that China’s human rights abuses against the country’s Uighur Muslim population in Xinjiang constitute “genocide.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has so far avoided using the word genocide in regard to Xinjiang, but if he did, it would begin to generate solidarity among G7 nations on the issue — which is something Trudeau has called for. Former US president Donald Trump used the word genocide regarding Xinjiang before leaving office last month, and members of US President Joe Biden’s administration have been pushing for him to make the same declaration, a Reuters report
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) talked about “opposing the Chinese Communist Party [CCP]” in a recent Facebook post, writing that opposing the CCP is not the special reserve of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Not long after, many people within the KMT received a mysterious letter signed “Chinese Nationalist Party Central Committee” containing what looked like a declaration of opposition to, and a call to arms against, the CCP. Unexpectedly, the KMT’s Culture and Communications Committee came forward with a clarification, saying that the letter was not sent by the KMT and telling the public not to believe