Former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski has said the future of Taiwan will ultimately depend on the “grand relationship” between China and the US.
Speaking at a global security forum organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Brzezinski was asked about the role that he and former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger played in the opening of relations with China.
An audience member asked if Brzezinski, Kissinger and former US presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter had the working assumption that Taiwan would ultimately fall under the rule of Beijing.
“If that’s true as a working assumption, have your views changed since Taiwan has become a very viable and functioning democracy?” the person asked.
“I can only speak for myself. I can’t speak for Henry,” Brzezinski responded, saying “our view in the negotiations with the Chinese was that insofar as the United States is concerned, that we accept the communique that was issued by Nixon and [former Chinese leader] Mao [Zedong, 毛澤東], the Shanghai Communique, because that was a fait accompli.”
“But that in our view, this issue has to be resolved, if it is to be resolved, peacefully, and that our fundamental interests would be engaged if it were otherwise. And that we presume that this is also in China’s interest because, one way or another, historical change will determine the nature of the relationship between Taiwan and China,” he said.
“If historical change is such that we are still deeply and effectively engaged in Asia and present in it, it will have an obvious impact on the relationship between Taiwan and China and probably increases the prospect of a separate Taiwan existing, or existing for a longer time, quite significantly,” he added.
On the other hand, Brzezinski said, if the US became less involved on the international scene, Taiwan would find it increasingly difficult to resist the entreaties and pressure from Beijing and will in fact become part of China.
“And that’s something that we will not be able to interfere, nor will be inclined to interfere with under those circumstances,” he said. “In effect, it is something that will work out on the basis of what happens ultimately in the grand relationship between China and America, which in turn is dependent on the degree to which each of them stays healthy, effective, responsible and rational. And that is something that no one can predict with any degree of certainty.”
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