US President Barack Obama takes a low-key approach toward China and is often humiliated by Beijing. As Obama is about to step down, he has embarrassed himself yet again by echoing Beijing’s “one China” policy this month.
Obama got only one thing right at his year-end news conference when he said that “it should be not just the prerogative, but the obligation of a new president to examine everything that’s been done and see what makes sense and what doesn’t.”
However, his other statements were absurd, as he claimed that there has been a longstanding agreement between Taiwan, the US and China that it is okay for Taiwan to be “able to function with some degree of autonomy.”
Taiwan is a nation established through democratic self-determination that has transformed itself into a sovereign state, and it insists on maintaining its sovereign national status. Although the US does not give official recognition to Taiwan’s status as a nation, Taiwan has never “agreed” to function with only “some degree of autonomy” within the Chinese framework.
The US definition of “one China” differs from China’s definition of “one China.” The US demands that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait refrain from any unilateral changes to the “status quo,” so Taiwan has agreed to a humiliating compromise by defining the “status quo” as meaning that Taiwan is a “sovereign state,” and continues to hope that the US and other countries will recognize this “status quo.”
However, whether or not to recognize this “status quo” is a political issue. As US president-elect Donald Trump commented during a TV interview, the US does not need China “dictating” to it.
Obama said that “Taiwanese have agreed that as long as they’re able to continue to function with some degree of autonomy, they won’t charge forward and declare independence.”
This statement is seriously flawed and does not represent the position of Taiwanese or the government.
The majority of Taiwanese actually see the nation as an independent state, so there is no need for a declaration of independence, and there is certainly no need to beg China for “some degree of autonomy.”
If the US were to recognize Taiwan’s national status, there would be even less need for the nation to “declare independence.”
According to the San Francisco Peace Treaty, which was signed in 1951 under the direction of the US and took effect in 1952, the sovereignty of Taiwan remains “undecided.”
Then-US president Richard Nixon tried to maintain official relations with the governments of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and then-Chinese leader Mao Zedong (毛澤東), and the administration of then-US president Jimmy Carter never prohibited US officials from contacting their Taiwanese counterparts even after it announced that it was establishing diplomatic relations with China in 1979.
Unfortunately, the US administrations that have come after Carter have paid blind obedience to China, as the issue is “extremely sensitive” to Beijing. Those US presidents have restrained themselves on Taiwan policy and abandoned the stance that democratic leaders should take.
China has come to take US self-restraint for granted, but it has ignored any restrictions it deems unfavorable to it.
Even Obama misinterprets this shameful Taiwan policy, which only goes to show that Trump does have a point.
After Trump and his administration take office, they should review the US’ “one China” policy and adjust the outdated approach that is becoming increasingly divorced from reality.
James Wang is a senior journalist.
Translated by Eddy Chang
For the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), China’s “century of humiliation” is the gift that keeps on giving. Beijing returns again and again to the theme of Western imperialism, oppression and exploitation to keep stoking the embers of grievance and resentment against the West, and especially the US. However, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that in 1949 announced it had “stood up” soon made clear what that would mean for Chinese and the world — and it was not an agenda that would engender pride among ordinary Chinese, or peace of mind in the international community. At home, Mao Zedong (毛澤東) launched
The restructuring of supply chains, particularly in the semiconductor industry, was an essential part of discussions last week between Taiwan and a US delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach. It took precedent over the highly anticipated subject of bilateral trade partnerships, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) founder Morris Chang’s (張忠謀) appearance on Friday at a dinner hosted by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for Krach was a subtle indicator of this. Chang was in photographs posted by Tsai on Facebook after the dinner, but no details about their discussions were disclosed. With
To say that this year has been eventful for China and the rest of the world would be something of an understatement. First, the US-China trade dispute, already simmering for two years, reached a boiling point as Washington tightened the noose around China’s economy. Second, China unleashed the COVID-19 pandemic on the world, wreaking havoc on an unimaginable scale and turning the People’s Republic of China into a common target of international scorn. Faced with a mounting crisis at home, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) rashly decided to ratchet up military tensions with neighboring countries in a misguided attempt to divert the
Astride an ascended economy and military, with global influence nearing biblical proportions, Xi Jinping (習近平) — general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), chairman of the Central Military Commission and president of the People’s Republic of China — is faithfully heralded, in deeds and imagery, as a benevolent lord, determined to “build a community of common destiny for all mankind.” Rather than leading humanity to this Shangri-La through inspirational virtue a la Mahatma Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln, the CCP prefers a micromanagement doctrine of socialism with Chinese characteristics as the guiding light. A doctrine of Marxist orthodoxy transplanted under a canvas