Wed, Jul 04, 2018 - Page 8 News List

The Liberty Times Editorial: US recognition of Taiwan possible

US Representative Dana Rohrabacher on June 20 submitted to the US House of Representatives a draft resolution calling on the US government to resume normal diplomatic relations with Taiwan and abandon Washington’s long-standing “one China” policy.

The draft also says that “the president, the permanent representative of the United States to the United Nations and other relevant United States officials should aggressively support Taiwan’s full participation in the United Nations and any other international organizations of which the United States is a member, and for which statehood is a requirement for membership.”

Similar resolutions have been proposed in the US, but under conditions very different from today’s. US President Donald Trump has adopted a new and different stance toward China, such as calling it a strategic competitor and imitating a trade war, as well as withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council.

Alex Wong (黃之瀚), deputy assistant secretary at the US Department of State’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, has said several times that China is altering the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait, and that any such disruption is of great concern to the US government.

These signs suggest that US-China and US-Taiwan relations are beginning to change in qualitative, rather than merely quantitative, ways.

It might be difficult for people living in nations where executive prerogative prevails to imagine what significance a resolution proposed by a member of the US Congress could have for US policymaking.

The US has three branches of government with separate powers, under which the powers of the president and US Congress are based on the will of the people. Therefore, when members of Congress make proposals, such as this one, their political implications in the flow of events cannot be overlooked, even though the time might not have come for the proposals to be passed into law.

In 1979, then-US president Jimmy Carter announced that the US was terminating diplomatic relations with the Republic of China and establishing ties with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Congress then took the initiative to propose and pass the Taiwan Relations Act. That act established the framework that has guided US-Taiwan relations over the past four decades, allowing Taiwan to take the path to democracy while maintaining its independence.

In policy practice, the act, as a domestic US law, has provided an effective counterbalance to the Three Joint Communiques between the US and China, and it has ensured that the US’ “one China” policy does not get too close to Beijing’s “one China” principle.

The way in which US presidents have implemented the act illustrates the deep consideration that the US government gives to foreign policy. Paired with a policy of strategic ambiguity, it has operated stably over a long period.

The act has from the outset allowed the US’ “one China” policy to actually be implemented as a “one China, one Taiwan” policy.

However, the “one China, one Taiwan” policy has not collided head-on with Beijing’s opposition to Taiwanese independence, “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan.”

The bottom line of the “one China, one Taiwan” policy, as implemented by successive US presidents, is one of recognizing that there is only one China — while Taiwan does not belong to the PRC — and not recognizing Taiwan as a sovereign state.

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