The Liberty Times Editorial: Dispute reveals ‘one China’ trap

Thu, Feb 17, 2011 - Page 8

Details of the events surrounding the extradition of 14 Taiwanese fraud suspects from the Philippines to China continue to emerge. Last Wednesday, Philippine Presidential Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr said Manila adheres to the “one China” policy and that the extradition of the Taiwanese to China was made out of respect for that policy. He said the dispute over who holds jurisdiction over the suspects would be better resolved by Taiwan and China themselves.

By citing the “one China” principle, the Philippines has checkmated the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), leaving it with no room to maneuver. Manila’s action showed that the government’s claim that Taiwan and China can each have its own interpretation of what “one China” means is a lie meant to deceive the public, and the reality is there is only “one China,” which is the internationally accepted view.

The funny thing is that in the statement issued in response to the Philippine government’s policy statement, Representative to the Philippines Donald Lee (李傳通) said that according to Taiwan’s understanding, the “one China” policy is a policy, not a Philippine law. However, why would the Philippines require domestic legislation to respect the “one China” policy? It is a political decision based on foreign affairs concerns.

If Ma’s government hadn’t insisted on the “one China” policy — which defines Taiwan as a part of China — the Philippines would not have been able to do as it pleased and extradite Taiwanese to China. Now that Ma himself insists on this “one China” policy and defines Taiwan and the mainland as two different regions of that one China, why is the government criticizing Manila for adhering to the “one China” policy?

Ma says that “one China” means the Republic of China (ROC), and the ROC has sovereignty over all of China. If Manila supported this view, then even Chinese suspected of breaking the law in the Philippines should be extradited to Taiwan.

The reality, however, is different. Just like the governments of most other countries, the Philippines respects the UN resolution that states the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is the only lawful representative of China. It is thus because of Ma’s claim that there is “one China, with each side having its own interpretation,” that the 14 Taiwanese were deported to China.

The most serious consequence of this action is that Manila in effect recognizes Taiwan as being part of China. If the governments of other countries followed the same formula, Taiwan’s sovereignty and the rights of Taiwanese would be compromised.

At a tea party on Feb. 7, Ma instructed government officials to refer to China in the future as the “mainland” or “the other side of the [Taiwan] Strait.” This daft self-complacency only strengthened Manila’s claim that it was acting in support of the “one China” policy, leaving the Ma administration with no ground to criticize Manila nor to ask China to return the suspects to Taiwan.

Ma’s administration has implemented sanctions against the Philippines. As it seems that China has no intention of letting the suspects return to Taiwan, is Ma also preparing sanctions against China to protect Taiwanese sovereignty, jurisdiction and human rights? If he only dares threaten the Philippines but is afraid of insulting China, wouldn’t he be opening himself up to ridicule for being a coward and a weakling?

Ma does not want to face up to the reality of Taiwanese sovereignty, but has lost himself in his dream of eventual unification. That is the reason why Taiwan has not been able to promote its status as a nation since Ma took over the reins of government.

To cover up his longing for unification, Ma has done what other pro-unificationists have done — constantly repeating the slogan of “protecting the ROC.” After repeating this mantra a few thousand times, they finally begin to believe that they really are protecting the ROC — but they are not.

As we have said many times before and as Manila’s actions this time have highlighted yet again, as long as you recognize that there is only “one China” and support unification, continuing to deny that Taiwan is a country, you are in effect destroying the ROC. In short, there is no space for the ROC in the “one China” concept.

Needless to say, in addition to Ma’s destruction of the ROC, Beijing’s many actions are aimed at the same goal. With China aiming more than 1,000 missiles at Taiwan, recruiting high-ranking Taiwanese military officers for its spy network, using economic warfare to control Taiwan, co-opting disappointed political hacks in the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and trying to win over members of the Democratic Progressive Party who are wavering in their convictions — all these hostile activities are aimed at preventing Taiwanese independence.

Ma and his supporters are for preventing Taiwanese independence, but don’t seem to understand that “preventing Taiwanese independence” and “destroying the ROC” are two sides of the same coin.

The extradition of the Taiwanese suspects to China was quickly followed by the revelation that a Taiwanese general was spying for China. China has shown its true face. The question now is whether Ma still feels self-complacent.

Translated by Perry Svensson