In a recent article entitled “Not So Dire Straits,” published in Foreign Affairs, US academic Bruce Gilley suggested that Washington consider excluding Taipei from its Asian allies if a “Finlandized” Taiwan leans toward China.
Writing in an opinion piece in a local newspaper on Jan. 4, Department of International Affairs Deputy Director Huang Chih-ta (黃致達) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said that Gilley’s suggestion should be taken as a severe warning to Taiwan. If the Washington mainstream accepts Gilley’s suggestion, Taiwan risks not Finlandization but becoming the next Hong Kong.
China considers Taiwan as part of its territory and has tried to prevent Taiwanese participation in international organizations, completely denying its status as a country. Taiwan does not belong to China, and never has. This is an irrefutable historical fact borne out in international treaties and documents. The entity of China — either in its incarnation as the Republic of China (ROC) or the People’s Republic of China (PRC) — has never been able to prove its claim over Taiwan’s sovereignty in International Law and such a claim is totally illegitimate.
China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) recently came to Taiwan for cross-strait talks with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Many Taiwanese took the opportunity to make their voices heard and declare that Taiwan is not part of China. Some protesters waved Republic of Taiwan flags that they had made to demonstrate their determination to declare independence.
A JUDGE’S VIEW
Japanese academic of international law Shigeru Oda, an International Court of Justice judge in The Hague for 27 years — 12 of which he was also vice president of the court — published a paper on Taiwan’s sovereignty at the Japan Academy in 2006, saying that Taiwanese independence did not entail separation from the PRC, because there is fundamentally no basis for such a concept. He said he believes that Taiwan has divested itself of its past and transformed itself into a new democracy — New Taiwan — and that it should make the world aware of this fact.
According to him, peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait should start with self-restraint on the part of China, and its awareness that Taiwan is actually an equally independent sovereign state.
The term “Finlandization” refers to Finland’s transformation in the Cold War era. This was a foreign policy decision made by Finland — as it was threatened by the Soviet Union — to protect itself and maintain its own status as an independent sovereign state.
However, for Taiwan, Finlandization is impossible in the face of a powerful China, which may annex it anytime. Taiwan is more likely to become the next Tibet, Hong Kong or Macau.
The people of Taiwan should not be deceived by the KMT’s or the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) lies depicting an over-glorified unification of a greater China. We stand to lose our freedom, democracy and human rights if this happens. It would be a victory of evil over good, and a human tragedy.
If the Taiwan Strait, Bashi Channel and South China Sea fell into Beijing’s hands, this would also bring conflict and instability to the western Pacific region. Hopefully, Taiwanese can work together to build our own country.
Chen Yi-nan is a member of Taiwan Society North.
TRANSLATED BY EDDY CHANG
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