Preparing the nation for global recognition

By Peng Ming-min 彭明敏  / 

Fri, Jul 01, 2016 - Page 8

There have been reports that a majority of Taiwanese want the nation to join the UN, regardless of what the US and China might think.

According to the same reports, people are also dissatisfied with Taiwan’s international status. The constant threats and pressure from China is certainly the main reason for this, but the “non-normality” of Taiwan itself is another important factor.

If Taiwan itself is not normal, its international status cannot improve, even without China blocking it. Taiwan would remain an international aberration even if it continued to console itself, collectively talking about being sovereign and independent. It cannot even define its territory, so why the talk about sovereignty?

The most “non-normal” thing about Taiwan is that after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was chased out of China, it ruled the nation for about 70 years. Relying on a metaphysical slogan — “one China, different interpretations” — it claimed that its territory included the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and other members of the UN.

Taiwanese’s feelings of identity and territory have been destroyed by the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda and the KMT’s brainwashing, and their common sense has been so numbed that they no longer think that there is anything strange about the KMT’s delusional territorial claims.

The first step toward Taiwan’s normalization must be to accept that the surreal and delusional territorial claims are tantamount to recognizing that the nation has no defined territory.

It is like the way someone who says “wherever I lay my hat is my home” has, in fact, no home. A place without a defined territory cannot be a nation and it cannot receive international recognition.

Taiwanese have been deceived and living in an illusory state of pretense for far too long. It is time to come down and step on solid ground and prove that Taiwanese no longer believe in the absurd, exaggerated delusion and pragmatically, humbly and rationally announce to the world that Taiwan’s territory is restricted to Taiwan proper and the Penghu Archipelago. As for the status of Kinmen and Matsu, that would require further discussion.

The size of the area is similar that of the Netherlands and the population is greater than in three-quarters of UN nations. The educational level, social development and industrial potential is superior to more than half the world’s nations.

Due to Chinese obstruction, Taiwan has been unable to join the UN as an equal member of the international community.

The world must be made aware of this great humiliation and injustice. China might be strong, but innumerable challenges to its survival exist, and the consensus among the international community in general and the US, Japan and the EU in particular is that they will no longer accept military attacks by dictatorships or authoritarian governments on democratic and free nations.

If Taiwanese continue to work hard to improve and consolidate democracy and develop the nation’s industry, it is just a matter of time before things change. When that happens, there will be a wave of recognition of Taiwan.

Based on a foundation of reality, the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should build a national consensus behind the creation of a new constitution or the amendment of the current one.

If the government is unable to take the first step, Taiwanese can forget about normalizing the nation.

Peng Ming-min is a former presidential adviser

Translated by Perry Svensson