For quite some time, Taiwan and the US have not seen eye to eye over the proposed referendum on Taiwan's application for UN membership under the name "Taiwan." The US has blamed Taiwan for being aggressive and not giving due consideration to the US' needs in the Iraq war and the war on terror. Taiwan, on the other hand, complains that it is precisely the US' preoccupation with those two wars that has caused it to neglect the survival crisis facing Taiwan. Trust between the two parties is at a low, and the US feels Taiwan's president has violated his "four noes" promise, while Taiwan feels the US keeps changing its expectations.
Some commentators feel the current problems in this relationship are the result of differing views of the "status quo." That, however, has always been the case, so the problem isn't that there is a difference in the way the two sides interpret the "status quo," but rather how they respond to and deal with the differences between their interpretations. Can the US and Taiwan communicate or will the situation deteriorate and lead to a crisis.
A review of the developments in relations between the US and Japan and the US and South Korea holds many lessons. When the Cold War ended and the US-Japanese alliance lost its main enemy, the Soviet Union, mutual trust between the two was at a low because of economic competition. However, the two countries did not let factors such as the views or actions of a single leader obscure their view of the larger context.
They instead resolved their problems by recognizing the structural changes in the situation. This approach led to a redefinition of the US-Japanese alliance in 1996. The alliance and its role in the post-Cold War era were redefined, thus laying a foundation for its rapid future development.
When the US and South Korea, also alliance partners, were faced with similar problems, the main focus was placed on individual leaders and there was not enough structural analysis of the situation. The US felt that President Roh Moo-hyun's government was anti-US while the South Koreans felt that President George W. Bush's administration was dangerous because of its neoconservatism.
As a result, the North Korean nuclear issue has developed into a strategic division between the US and South Korea. This has complicated negotiations with North Korea.
People analyzing the state of US-Taiwan relations are liable to misjudge the situation.
The pan-blue camp, pro-China media and some allegedly pan-green commentators believe that President Chen Shui-bian (
The implication is that a change in leadership will smooth out the wrinkles in our relationship with the US, and we have even seen the presidential candidates jump on the bandwagon by promising their visions for Taiwan would differ from Chen's leadership style.
Instead, let's look at recent history. If we analyze Taiwan-US relations since Taiwan's democratization, we see that the US has toward the end of each four-year presidential term in Taiwan, accused the incumbent of being a troublemaker.
This was true of former Chinese Nationalist Party president Lee Teng-hui (
This is also why it is more fruitful to try to understand the structural changes in the relationship between the US, China and Taiwan on the one hand and the situation in the Asia-Pacific region on the other than it is to discuss Chen's personal contributions to or influence on the US-Taiwan relationship.
Taiwan has developed into a democratic state and a major world economy, China is rapidly becoming a great power although the US is still the lone superpower, but occupied with its "war on terrorism." The relationship between these three states has changed dramatically since the Cold War, meaning that Taiwan-US relations as we once knew them are unable to deal with the complex and transformed situation.
We must understand this to understand why Chen and former senior US officials Michael Green and Randy Schriver all responded to the disagreement over the UN referendum proposal by suggesting a review of the structure of the existing relationship between Taiwan and the US and recommended that talks between Taiwan and the US occur at a higher level.
Lai I-chung is head of the Democratic Progressive Party's Department of International Affairs.
Translated by Perry Svensson
China has started to call Tibet “Xizang” instead of Tibet for several reasons. First, China wants to assert its sovereignty and legitimacy over Tibet, which it claims as an integral part of its territory and history. China argues that the term Xizang, which means “western Tsang” in Chinese, reflects the historical and administrative reality of the region, which was divided into U-Tsang, Amdo and Kham by the Tibetans themselves. China also contends that the term Tibet, which derives from the Mongolian word Tubet, is a foreign imposition that does not represent the diversity and complexity of the region. Second, China wants to
Taiwan has a very important decision to make in the upcoming presidential election. One party stands for protecting the integrity of Taiwanese self-rule, the other two main parties who stand a chance at winning both cater to China and, if elected, would risk locking Taiwan into a position of being annexed by China against the will of a vast majority of the population. Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, and the KMT all need a history lesson. Taiwan was never ceded to the Republic of China (ROC). The
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) had engaged in weeks of political horse-trading between high-ranking officials, hoping to form a joint ticket to win January’s presidential election, but it all ended in a dramatic public falling out on live television on Thursday. The farcical performance involving mudslinging and quarrels among three men — the TPP’s candidate and Chairman Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), the KMT’s candidate, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou (郭台銘), an independent — and their aides in the evening before the official candidate registration deadline
Due in large part to the US-China trade war, Taiwanese supply chains continue to relocate from China and some manufacturers have increased the rate at which they have invested in Mexico to align their operations with the needs of customers and to comply with US policy. However, setting up manufacturing plants in Mexico is not without its complications, including the language barrier, different cultures, local regulations and finding qualified staff. Accumulating talent with proficiency in Spanish is the first step to developing the market in Mexico, and indeed Latin America as a whole. WHY MEXICO Mexico is a good location for three