US President Donald Trump’s planned meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) next month has unnerved many in Taiwan, primarily due to the possibility, however slim, that the two might sign a fourth US-China communique or pursue a policy that puts Taiwan at a greater disadvantage than Washington’s long adhered to “one China” policy.
Although the meeting has yet to be officially confirmed, to defuse the potentially disastrous effects of a Trump-Xi meeting and release Taiwan from the “one China” cocoon that has long ensnared it — partly because of its self-imposed illusions — New Power Party Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) on Monday offered an interesting perspective on dealing with the policy.
Lim told a legislative session that since the “one China” policy, which has been the diplomatic cornerstone of Sino-US ties, simply “acknowledges” that there is only one “China” across the Taiwan Strait and that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is the sole legitimate government representing “China,” Taiwan could easily find a way out by staying out of the old “two Chinas” war between the PRC and the Republic of China (ROC).
Lim’s logic seems to be in line with the government’s stance. Responding to Lim’s question about whether the government still maintains — in the international arena — that it represents “China,” Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Leo Lee (李澄然) said it only states that “the ROC is an independent nation ... that represents 23 million Taiwanese living in Taiwan proper and the outlying islands of Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu.”
The PRC is widely perceived by the international community to represent “China,” Lee said.
“It seems that our stance does not contradict the [US’] ‘one China’ policy. Then the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must make it clear to the international community that we do not oppose, nor intend to challenge, the ‘one China’ policy: We simply need to emphasize that there is only one China, but there is also one Taiwan,” Lim said.
Lim said that such a narrative could protect Taiwan from Beijing’s constant attempts to mislead the world by blurring the distinction between the US’ “one China” policy and its own “one China” principle, which declares the PRC’s sovereignty over Taiwan: “There is only ‘one China’ in the world; Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory; the government of the PRC is the sole legitimate government representing China.”
Although Lim’s proposal might be interpreted by some as an effort to push Taiwan toward independence, it is indisputable that the remnants of the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime’s assertion that the ROC represents the whole of “China” have contributed to the nation’s international isolation and the many “abnormalities” in its political system.
For example, the Overseas Community Affairs Council, which has about 270 employees, is required to provide services to more than 40 million overseas Taiwanese and ethnic Chinese, just to conform to the “greater China” concept.
The continued existence of the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission — which was established in 1928, before the promulgation of the ROC Constitution in 1947 — is also incomprehensible, given that Mongolia is now an independent nation and Tibet is pursuing a similar status — not to mention that neither Mongolia nor Tibet is part of the nation’s territory or a diplomatic priority of the government.
Taiwan has been hijacked by — and held hostage to — the KMT’s ideological illusions for far too long. It is about time that changes are made to better represent reality and set Taiwan on the path to becoming a “normal” nation.
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