The Korean War began with North Korean leader Kim Il-sung launching an attack on Seoul, South Korea’s capital on June 25, 1950. This attack, was made with the tacit approval of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and three days later, Seoul succumbed to Kim’s forces.
On June 27, then-US president Harry Truman ordered the US Seventh Fleet to the Taiwan Strait to protect Taiwan from invasion by communist forces. Subsquently, a UN force, led by General Douglas MacArthur, was formed on July 7, following a decision by the UN Security Council. Those forces landed at Incheon shortly after and pushed the forces of North Korea back. At this point, however, Kim called on Mao Zedong (毛澤東) to dispatch his troops to the Korean Peninsula.
What was happening in Taiwan during this period? On Dec. 10, 1949, Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), who resigned as president earlier that year, flew from Chengdu in China to Taipei’s Songshan Airport. Central government agencies had already relocated to Taipei.
On March 1, 1950, Chiang announced he was officially resuming his duties as president. At the time, US reaction was rather cool. Not long before, in a statement issued on Jan. 5, Truman had announced that although the Cairo Communique and Potsdam Declaration had effectively placed Taiwan under Chiang’s control, the US would not provide any form of military support or consultation to his forces stationed in Taiwan.
Truman changed his policy less than six months later when he ordered the Seventh Fleet into the Taiwan Strait. However, no decision was made regarding Taiwan’s future status, as this question was deferred to a time when security in the region was more stable, a treaty was signed with Japan, or a decision reached by the UN.
Chiang responded to a UN call for assistance in its “police action” in Korea and offered to send 33,000 troops and 20 air transports to help. His proposal was, however, declined by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff on June 30, 1950, as they sought to limit the war to the Korean Peninsula.
It is generally understood that MacArthur’s judgments were formed by the instincts of a career soldier. He viewed Taiwan as a natural shield, a fortress island capable of repelling enemy submarines, ocean-going vessels and aircraft. As far as he saw it, Taiwan should be been given up under no circumstances.
Truman made the decision on April 11, 1951, to dismiss MacArthur for being “unable to give his wholehearted support to the policies of the US and of the UN in matters pertaining to his official duties.”
In his testimony to the US Senate’s Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees following his dismissal, MacArthur made clear that Taiwan’s status had yet to be decided by any official treaty and it consequently remained under Japan’s de jure sovereignty. Just as the Allies had placed Japan under the supervision of the US, Taiwan had likewise been placed under the supervision of the Republic of China, he pointed out.
At the same public hearing, MacArthur responded to questions regarding the Cairo Communique, by saying that previous decisions had been a serious mistake putting Taiwan at risk of falling into the hands of the communists and that this issue had to be dealt with properly by signing a treaty with Japan. The Treaty of San Francisco, signed in 1951, stipulated independent status for Korea and gave sovereignty over the Ryukyu Islands to the US, since transferred to Japan. As far as Taiwan was concerned, the treaty merely stated that Japan was to renounce its sovereignty over it. From that point on, Korea and Taiwan would have very different destinies.
Chen Yi-shen is chairman of the Taiwan Association of University Professors.
TRANSLATED BY TAIJING WU
For Xi Jinping (習近平) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the military conquest of Taiwan is an absolute requirement for the CCP’s much more fantastic ambition: control over our solar system. Controlling Taiwan will allow the CCP to dominate the First Island Chain and to better neutralize the Philippines, decreasing the threat to the most important People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Strategic Support Force (SSF) space base, the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island. Satellite and manned space launches from the Jiuquan and Xichang Satellite Launch Centers regularly pass close to Taiwan, which is also a very serious threat to the PLA,
Taiwan is beautiful — no doubt about it. In Taipei, the streets are clean, the skyline is gorgeous and the subway is world-class. The coastline is easily accessible and mountains can be seen in the distance. The people are hardworking, successful and busy. Every luxury known to humankind is available and people live on their smartphones. As an American visiting for the first time, here are some things I learned about the country. First, people from Taiwan and America love freedom and democracy and have for many years. When we defeated Japan in 1945, Taiwan was freed from Japanese rule. In
During a news conference in Vietnam on Sept. 10, a reporter asked US President Joe Biden about the possibility of China invading Taiwan. Biden replied that Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is too busy handling major domestic economic problems to launch an invasion of Taiwan. On Wednesday last week, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office published a document outlining 21 measures to make the Chinese-controlled Fujian Province into a demonstration zone for relations with Taiwan. The planned measures would expand favorable treatment for Taiwanese people and companies, and seek to attract people from Taiwan to buy property and seek employment in Fujian.
More than 100 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) vessels and aircraft were detected making incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Sunday and Monday, the Ministry of National Defense reported on Monday. The ministry responded to the incursions by calling on China to “immediately stop such destructive unilateral actions,” saying that Beijing’s actions could “easily lead to a sharp escalation in tensions and worsen regional security.” Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said that the unusually high number of incursions over such a short time was likely Beijing’s response to efforts