President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration keeps saying that it will maintain the “status quo,” yet that has not stopped China from prying away its diplomatic allies. Recently, China has even threatened to strip Taiwan of all its allies. Should the “status quo” become impossible to maintain, Taiwanese must not let fear stand in the way of new possibilities.
As philosopher Zhuangzi (莊子) said, life and death exist side by side, and whether a thing is alive or dead depends on one’s perspective. Perhaps China’s efforts to isolate Taiwan could turn out to be beneficial to the nation, which needs to clarify its unusual and confusing relationship with China. Taiwan must let the ties be severed when the time comes, and when that happens, there is no need to feel regret or anger.
With growing diplomatic pressure from China, Taiwan can either wait for Beijing to change its mind and become friendly, or take concrete action to improve the situation.
Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee (李大維) has said that there is more than one country that might establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan. If that is true, should the ROC lose its last ally in Europe, the government should make good use of its bargaining chips and take the opportunity to unravel its tangled relationship with China and discover new possibilities for the nation.
As the Lunar New Year approaches, people replace their old spring couplets with new ones. There comes a time when things need to change. The Tsai administration, which replaced the administration of former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), does not have to remain trapped by the identities of the ROC, Taiwan and China.
Chiang Huang-chih is a professor of law at National Taiwan University.
Translated by Tu Yu-an