Tue, Jul 10, 2018 - Page 8 News List

Now is the best time to normalize our nation

By Pan Wei-yiu 潘威佑

China’s military capability and its ambition to become the dominant world power are rising along with its rapid economic development. The Belt and Road Initiative is a major component of its development strategy.

China regards Taiwan as a vital part of developing its hegemonic power, and as a result, it is continually increasing its military intimidation and its suppression of Taiwan in the international community.

Beijing’s threat to Taiwan’s international status and national security is growing by the day.

Similarly, based on its own national interests, the US proposed the Indo-Pacific strategy to curb China’s expansionist ambitions, and introduced legislation to enhance its ties with Taiwan — a continuation of former US president Ronald Reagan’s six assurances — the Taiwan Travel Act and the National Defense Authorization Act.

US Representative Dana Rohrabacher has also proposed a bill calling on the US government to resume formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

There is a reason behind the call for the US to establish formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan: In 2016, John Bolton, who is now US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, proposed that the US gradually move toward the establishment of formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Judging from the substantial scale of the new American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) compound, which opened last month, and its staff and facilities, the US-Taiwan relationship has been greatly enhanced.

Trump also addressed President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) as “the president of Taiwan” during a telephone call after his election, has appointed Taiwan-friendly politicians to high-ranking positions and signed the Taiwan Travel Act into law.

Through these concrete actions, he has made it clear that the US strategy is one of bolstering ties with Taiwan and helping enhance its international status.

However, as these drastic strategic changes are happening in the world, the Taiwan-centric government has chosen to “maintain the status quo” instead of coming up with concrete measures to substantially improve the nation’s international status.

Perhaps the top leadership is concerned with higher political subtleties that prevent them from taking action, but at the very least, the official title for the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US could be changed to “Taiwan Institute in America.”

This would comply with the principle of reciprocity by corresponding with the official title of the US representative office in Taiwan, similar to the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association, which operates the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan.

Looking back at the past 400 years, today presents perhaps the final, but also the best, chance for Taiwanese to establish their own nation.

Hopefully the Democratic Progressive Party administration — which controls the presidency as well as the legislature and the Cabinet — would adopt a more proactive attitude and mindset to take advantage of the rapidly changing international situation, which remains favorable the establishment of Taiwan as a normal nation.

It could do so not only by working with Taiwan’s allies internationally, but also by making preparations for the normalization of the nation’s status domestically.

When the time is right, Taiwan must be ready to seize the opportunity and achieve the goal of establishing a Taiwanese nation.

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