Thu, Nov 09, 2017 - Page 8 News List

Taiwan independence: It’s in the air

By David Pendery 潘大為

I am not an ardent Taiwan independence activist: I am more of a unification activist, but it cannot be denied that the majority of Taiwanese clearly appear to be leaning in this direction and hoping for this outcome.

There is only one way that Taiwan can actually achieve this goal — by way of the government, with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) at its head.

Only a government announcement and the creation of a legal framework in terms of global law would actually achieve independence — exactly what Catalonia has attempted.

Taiwan has never done anything like this.

The ultimate responsibility for this miserable fiasco rests with former dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his failure to achieve independence after Taiwan lost its seat at the UN, but let us not focus on Chiang. We must focus on Tsai, and her own negligence in making progress in this direction.

Tsai adheres to de facto independence and maintaining thet “status quo” — a spineless approach to cross-strait relations that has done nothing to advance Taiwan’s interests in the international arena, to say nothing of true freedom and self-reliance for Taiwanese.

Tsai’s talk of a “new model” of cross-strait relations might be useful in its way, but it does not break any new ground. This will have to change, although admittedly an actual declaration of independence might still be a distant possibility.

In terms of new thinking, and as far-reaching and impractical as it might sound, it could be worth thinking about the creation of a “borderless” world in which all of these considerations and conflicts would not even be required or need to be addressed.

This would include entities such as the EU as well as a similar unifying body in Asia.

An Asian Union would be a reasonably practical approach and the hope would be that this would be an environment in which borders are removed (such as the EU’s Schengen area).

Something like a “world passport” would take the place of all the separate documents that are now required to travel, and prove identity and nationality.

However, most nations are unlikely to go along with the idea of dissolving their borders. A lot more negotiation would be needed before we could get anywhere near this idea, but it still seems positive in important ways.

This option would solve a lot of problems and allow Taiwan to be involved in global affairs as an essentially independent nation, although the final question of actual independence might still not be answered.

Scotland has shown it would not be against the idea after it voted to remain in a happy union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Kurdistan seems to be a bit different.

The Kurdish seem to have a stronger sense of independence in which they are separate and truly autonomous, not a piece of Turkey or a slice of Iraq.

Taiwan strikes me as somewhat similar to Catalonia.

Catalonia is a potential nation within another nation, with which it has very close economic, political, cultural and linguistic ties.

Indeed, there are many against independence in the region because they feel that Catalonia is Spanish, and that Spain in turn encompasses, girds, demarcates and circumscribes Catalonia.

The same goes for Taiwan.

That is, Taiwan really is Chinese in significant respects, culturally, linguistically and even economically, but not so much politically.

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