Fri, Mar 01, 2019 - Page 8 News List

Not a crisis, but an opportunity

By Gerrit van der Wees

Should other democracies not be more clear in showing China that they support their fellow democracies, and make it clear that they will help defend Taiwan?

The vagueness of the “strategic ambiguity” lauded by Haass is actually extremely unhelpful and has prompted China to take a more aggressive stance.

In any case, symbolism is inextricably linked to the substance of diplomatic relations. If it were “only symbolic,” why would China make so much fuss about it?

Instead of retreating back to a flawed “one China” cocoon, the US and other democratic nations need to display a new vision and base their policies on the fact that Taiwan is a free and democratic nation that deserves to be a full and equal member of the international community.

Countries need to move away from the convoluted constructs of the past and move toward clear policies that have their basis in the principles of freedom, democracy and self-determination.

Taiwanese should be able to make a fully free decision about their own future.

Gerrit van der Wees is a former Dutch diplomat. From 1980 to 2016 he served as editor of Taiwan Communique. He teaches history of Taiwan at George Mason University.

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