Sat, Jul 28, 2018 - Page 8 News List

China must face global realities

By Masao Sun 孫國祥

On Wednesday last week, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) held an international academic seminar at the US Heritage Foundation think tank themed “Opportunities and Challenges of Cross-strait Relations.”

At the seminar, Chen spoke on democratic freedom as an important foundation for the development of cross-strait relations.

Judging by the content of the speech — and the reaction to it from various quarters — it is a definitive work that represents the culmination of two years of the Democratic Progressive Party administration’s thinking on cross-strait policy.

The position and policies advanced by Chen have caused politicians from across the aisle — government and opposition politicians, pro-unification and pro-independence campaigners, as well as academics — to provide their own interpretations of different points he made, mostly giving positive assessments.

Even Chinese academics, working within the constraints of their country’s authoritarian political system, have responded positively to the speech’s references to “progress.”

Furthermore, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Liu Jieyi (劉結一) was only able to fall back on hackneyed “actions speak louder than words” rhetoric and reiterate the demand that the government adhere to the so-called “1992 consensus” and the “one China” principle.

In fact, Beijing’s insistence on the “one China” principle and the “1992 consensus” is no different from its absurd claim to sovereignty over the entirety of the South China Sea. Not only are its demands inconsistent with the new cross-strait situation, they are also a key cause of the impediment to interaction and communication between the two sides.

Beijing likes to claim that it holds sovereignty over Taiwan, yet it is unable to achieve recognition for its position from the world’s leading democracy, the US. Furthermore, Beijing seeks to obliterate both the name Republic of China (ROC) and the Taiwan-centered movement and force Taiwanese to relinquish management of their own affairs and become a mere dependency of China, a state that the vast majority of Taiwanese could never accept.

The “one China” principle that China’s leaders doggedly pursue is not the historical, geographical, cultural and ethnic “one China” that exists in the imaginations of a minority of Taiwanese. No, Beijing’s “one China” is the annexation of the ROC by the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Ever since the establishment of the PRC by the Chinese Communist Party in 1949, and in each of the Three Joint Communiques signed by the US and China between 1972 and 1982, Beijing has consistently argued that the PRC is the only legal representative government of China and that Taiwan is part of China.

The US was unwilling to accept China’s position and would only agree to “acknowledge” China’s territorial claim over Taiwan.

US lawmakers enacted the Taiwan Relations Act into US domestic law, which recognizes Taiwan’s de facto sovereignty.

Despite this, Beijing has continued to employ its unreasonable Orwellian tactics to stir up trouble and use its economic “hard power” to coerce the international community into rejecting ROC sovereignty.

Former National Security Council secretary-general Su Chi (蘇起) in 2000 admitted that he made up the term “1992 consensus.” More than a decade later, China’s interpretation of the term no longer comes attached with the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) “one China, each side with their own interpretation” formula.

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