Wed, Feb 20, 2019 - Page 8 News List

Examining the security situation

By Tu Ho-ting 杜和庭

With the increasing and monumental security threat from China, news media and experts like to compare the situations of foreign countries to that of Taiwan to predict the nation’s future.

However, due to Taiwan’s unique strategic location, history, and social and economic relations with its biggest threat, China, many analogies drawn between these countries and Taiwan are far-fetched or even erroneous.

Chang Ya-chung (張亞中), a professor of political science at National Taiwan University and an avid supporter of unification, suggested that Finland’s dealing with Soviet Union during the Cold War sets a good example for Taiwan. In order not to irritate the Soviet Union, Finland wisely adopted a balanced policy by not joining NATO or even the European Economic Community.

“Neither did Finland trust the commitment from far-away Washington, nor did it trust Paris and London. That is why Finland could survive during the Cold War and even outlived the Soviet Union. So Taiwan should not unilaterally follow the US’ global strategy and be its spearhead to counter China,” he said.

Chang’s argument is wildly off the mark and intentionally misleading.

First of all, the Soviet Union had not been hostilely claiming that Finland was part of its territory since the end of World War II, but rather signed a treaty with Finland to recognize its status of neutrality in 1948.

Furthermore, the Helsinki Accords, signed by then-US president Gerald Ford and then-Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in 1978, stipulated that the two powers would respect the 1945 borders demarcated for Europe by wartime leaders Franklin D. Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill in Yalta.

Rather than purely pragmatic realpolitik considerations behind Finnish policymaking, the security of Finland during the Cold War was a result of the balance of power. It would not have been possible without the two superpowers’ strategic calculations and compromise.

After the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991, Finland changed its policy accordingly. Not only did it join the EU in 1995, but it established close relations with NATO, becoming a member of its Partnership for Peace program in 1994.

Although Finland still declares itself a neutral country, it knows perfectly well that where its security interests truly lie.

Taiwan’s situation is completely different from that of Finland. It would be a big gift for China if Taiwan decided to adopt Finland’s approach.

The only reason that Taiwan still exists after 1979, when Taiwan and the US cut diplomatic relations, is its strong military capability and the US governments’ strong support.

Regarding Taiwan as an integral part of its territory, China would not hesitate to invade this democratic island once it considers Taiwan is vulnerable to its attacks.

Noticeably, the threat China poses to Taiwan is dauntingly increasing.

Communist China has a notorious and long history of deception. Its political promises are worthless. The indelible images of China’s bloody crackdown in Tibet in 1959 after it promised Tibetans a high degree of autonomy in 1951 and its ruthless breach of the “one country, two systems” principle in Hong Kong by seriously diminishing democratic rights and freedoms are vivid reminders.

The day Taiwan naively believes that it could secure peaceful cross-strait relations under China’s deceptive conciliatory gestures and rejects US security support would be the day Taiwan pays dearly for its terrible mistakes.

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