Fri, Apr 27, 2018 - Page 8 News List

China could learn from two Koreas

By Masao Sun 孫國祥

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency on Tuesday last week confirmed that the Blue House expects to announce an agreement to end the state of war with North Korea at today’s high-level summit between Seoul and Pyongyang. This would would bring an end to 65 years of hostilities between the two nations, which have been smoldering ever since they signed an armistice to end the fighting in the Korean War in 1953.

North Korean state media on Saturday reported that the government would halt nuclear missile tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles and would close its nuclear testing facilities, which if true, signals the end of a program that saw four nuclear tests and 89 missile launches conducted since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un assumed power in 2011.

At the beginning of this year, the Korean Peninsula was engulfed in nuclear brinkmanship, with observers in many countries agreeing that the two Koreas and the US were at the point of no return: War seemed inevitable.

Kim has now indicated that he wishes to channel his nation’s resources away from the military and into the development of a socialist economy.

Winds of change are blowing along the Korean Peninsula and there is now a light at the end of the tunnel.

As 19th-century British prime minister Lord Palmerston famously said: “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.”

Consider this in relation to the cross-strait relationship between Taiwan and China. Since 1949 and the end of the Chinese Civil War and the creation of two rival governments, Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and Mao Zedong (毛澤東) used personal smear campaigns, labeling their counterpart a “bandit” and sought to cast their rival as the figurehead of a “local government” in an attempt to set the terms of the debate.

In 1991, then-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) amended the Constitution to limit the sovereign territory of the Republic of China (ROC) to Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, and also announced an end to the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion (動員戡亂時期臨時條款).

As such, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was no longer viewed by Taiwan’s government as a “rebel group,” but was recognized as a reciprocal political entity.

The Lee administration announced that it would no longer compete with the People’s Republic of China for recognition as “China” on the world stage.

Both sides should have been able to bury the hatchet and work toward peace.

However, unable to let go of outdated thinking, Beijing continued to obsess over the idea of a “unification of the Great Chinese nation” and not only advocated that it was the legitimate successor state, which means that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is the only legitimate and legal representative government of China, but also opposed Taiwan starting afresh, rejecting the idea that Taiwan is a sovereign and independent state.

It persisted with its hierarchical, master-and-slave cross-strait relationship, casting itself as the “legitimate” dynasty and the ROC as “illegitimate” one.

Beijing still arrogantly declares that “Taiwan is part of China,” ensuring that the clouds of war continue to hang over the Taiwan Strait.

China’s armed forces also continue to hold periodic live-fire exercises, war games, naval encirclements of Taiwan, long-term exercises and other forms of military coercion and hostile behavior.

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