Thu, Mar 02, 2017 - Page 8 News List

The Liberty Times Editorial: Taiwan must embrace disruption

On Feb. 28, 1972, the US and China issued the Shanghai Communique, which states that the US “acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China.”

In other words, the US did not express any diverging opinion on this point. This communique, along with the Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations Between the US and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) issued on Jan. 1, 1979, and the Joint US-China Communique on Arms Sales issued on Aug. 17, 1982, later came to be known as the Three Joint Communiques that provide the foundation for relations between the US and China.

Now that US President Donald Trump is questioning the “one China” policy, 45 years after the Shanghai Communique was signed and issued during the Cold War, it has become necessary to review it.

According to reports broadcast by Voice of America, former US ambassador to China Winston Lord, who took part in the drafting of the Shanghai Communique, on Tuesday last week said that the US has been vague about its “one China” policy because it does not accept the “one China” principle, according to which Taiwan is a part of China.

Another former US ambassador to China, Stapleton Roy, said that although the US’ “one China” policy has not changed, Taiwan’s political situation has changed considerably, with direct presidential elections having been introduced in 1996 together with changes in how people view their national identity. According to Roy, if the communique was to be a renegotiated today, the conclusion would be different.

The statements of these two former ambassadors show that the US needs to make pragmatic adjustments to its policy toward China, as many changes have taken place since the signing of the Shanghai Communique, which marked the beginning of relations between the two countries.

It is well known that the Shanghai Communique was the beginning of a strategy led by then-US national security adviser Henry Kissinger to co-opt China as part of then-US president Richard Nixon’s strategy to put pressure on the Soviet Union, while at the same time extracting the US from the Vietnam War.

The past 45 years saw the end of the Vietnam War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and although Russia has not been very willing to cooperate with the US, it has been far from a threat to it. More importantly, over the past several decades, Taiwan has moved away from authoritarianism and the party-state system and developed into a free democracy. Considering that, the US’ “one-China” policy based on the Shanghai Communique is clearly outdated.

Meanwhile, China has been using its relations with the US to increase its influence. As suggested by US-based China expert Michael Pillsbury, Beijing has been secretly exploiting the US’ influence to pave the way for China to replace the US as the dominant world power, a goal that it aims to achieve by 2049.

Today, Beijing is still an authoritarian government that allows its citizens little political freedom — and there are no signs it will change anytime soon. It also challenges international security, world order and creates disturbances in the South and East China seas, as well as engaging in unfair trade policies. This makes it clear that the US has been helping an adversary grow stronger and even to become a potential threat that will be detrimental to the US’ strategic interests.

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