Fri, Dec 22, 2006 - Page 3 News List

US writer questions legality of China's claim to Taiwan

ASK THE TAIWANESE Ian Williams stressed that Taiwan's future should be decided by its people, not by a government which is banking on military might


A commentary on the "Foreign Policy in Focus" Web site by US-based journalist Ian Williams says that "China's arguments against Taiwanese self-determination are not particularly legal or ethical."

Questioning Beijing's arguments of China having a billion people and a huge economy, Williams said that the fact that China has more than 900 missiles pointing at Taiwan was indicative of the weakness of Beijing's arguments.


"In the modern world, few governments can pledge with a straight face to `liberate' an island full of people it pretends are compatriots by blowing them off the map," he added.

Despite the scope for wrangling on historical and legal claims, Williams suggested that the real question was what status the Taiwanese themselves wanted for the country.

"According to modern international practice and the principles of democracy, the Tai-wanese do indeed have the right to `declare' what is manifestly already true: that they are an independent, sovereign state," he said.

No to Beijing

Williams added: "It is also clear that the Taiwanese, on the political level, do not want to be ruled by Beijing."

The journalist covering the UN pointed out that Taiwan has long been trying to join international organizations, notably the UN, and that Taiwan has more attributes of sovereignty than many members of the global body.

Worthless claims

Williams said that Beijing has been blocking Taiwan's international participation because nationalism is used as a ruling ideology in China.

He added that "reunification with Taiwan is a token over which the cadres in Beijing can jostle for leadership by out-shouting each other."

"Historical claims are essentially worthless. In a modern, civilized world, the views of the people themselves matter most," he wrote.

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