Thu, May 10, 2018 - Page 8 News List

The Liberty Times Editorial: End of ROC is not end of Taiwan

Panama established diplomatic relations with China in June last year and the Dominican Republic followed suit on Monday last week. For China, these diplomatic switches are countermoves against a series of Taiwan-friendly moves by the US, and are intended to keep up the pressure on President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration, which refuses to accept that “Taiwan and the mainland both belong to ‘one China,’” as Beijing demands.

The “live fire” of Beijing’s policies targeting Taiwan is the attitude of its foreign affairs departments toward the Republic of China (ROC).

It says that only the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has the right to represent China. Consequently, they insist that the ROC’s flag, national anthem and all its political symbols must be banished from international venues and events, and that the political symbols of the PRC and the ROC cannot be displayed in the same place at the same time.

Years ago, then-president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) took a similar attitude. He said that a legitimate government — the ROC — could not coexist with an illegitimate one — the PRC. As a result, other nations could not have diplomatic relations with both of them and had to decide between them.

From the 1970s onward, the two sides wrangled over diplomatic relations, going through various ups and downs, just as they are doing now.

The “diplomatic truce” that prevailed during eight years of Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) presidency was just a halftime break, which Beijing permitted in exchange for Ma’s acceptance that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belonged to “one China” — a stance that put Taiwan in the position of a vassal state.

Panama first established diplomatic relations with the Qing Empire in 1910 and those ties continued under the empire’s successor state, the ROC.

The Dominican Republic established diplomatic relations with the ROC in 1941. These ties were the products of a time when the ROC was the only legitimate government of China.

With the passage of UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 in 1971, the “illegitimate” PRC took the place of the ROC in the UN, including the Security Council.

Apart from international realities and the domestic needs of various nations, the most important reason why UN members voted for the resolution was that the PRC really was the only legitimate government of China. Even Taiwan’s nativist government authorities do not deny it. It is the reality — legally and practically.

When the ROC’s diplomatic allies switch recognition to the PRC, it is no use to accuse Beijing of leveraging its “one China” principle.

Taiwanese have to look at the matter on a deeper level to see the true state of Taiwan’s foreign relations, namely that its diplomatic allies still recognize the ROC as representing China. The government does not ask them to recognize Taiwan as representing Taiwan, nor do they do so.

As long as this remains the case, how can Taiwan escape its predicament?

Beijing has continuously employed a two-fold strategy in relation to the ROC.

The first set of tactics is Beijing’s foreign affairs departments clearing the battlefield in international forums. Their task is to finish off the remnants of the civil war between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), so that the ROC ceases to exist in name and fact.

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