Taiwan’s status is unique and unprecedented. Not only is it independent, it is generally accepted that, legally speaking, there is no need for it to declare independence.
That said, even though the reasons Taiwan has no need to declare independence appear similar on the surface, there are major differences in terms of their implications.
Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) changed the constitutional system and became the nation’s first directly elected president.
By “vesting sovereignty in Taiwanese,” he acknowledged that Taiwan had become an independent state via democratic elections.
The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Resolution on Taiwan’s Future also advocates vesting sovereignty in Taiwanese, deciding that the “status quo” is Taiwan is an independent state, and that any changes to this have to be decided upon by its 23 million people.
However, the pro-unification camp imposes a foreign constitution on Taiwan, deliberately confusing people with its agenda and proposes other reasons for the need to declare independence.
A classic expression of this is the rather disingenuous statement by former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in New York when he said: “Have you ever heard of a country declaring independence twice?”
“We were independent as far back as 1912, so why declare independence a second time?” he said.
What Ma said does not make sense and has a tenuous relationship with reality. The Philippines, for example, became independent twice, first from Spain and then from the US.
If Ma’s “we” referred to “Taiwan,” then in 1912, it was a colony of Japan, so there was no way it could be independent.
And if by “we” he meant the “Republic of China (ROC),” then it has never “declared independence,” and its territory does not include Taiwan.
When the ROC was established in 1912, it said that its intention was to “overthrow the autocratic government, to establish the republic,” which is say, to establish a new government to replace the Qing Dynasty, not to declare independence from it.
Then-ROC minister of foreign affairs Wang Chunghui (王寵惠) asked the US only to recognize “our government” as soon as possible.
When the People’s Republic of China (PRC) replaced the ROC, it did so by revolution.
Mao Zedong (毛澤東) did not “declare independence,” but “the establishment of the PRC central government.”
Ma’s nonsense conceals malice, deliberately ignores the undetermined status of Taiwan in the Treaty of San Francisco, challenges Taiwan’s democracy and the sovereignty invested in the people, and acknowledges China’s claim of sovereignty over Taiwan.
James Wang is a media commentator.
Translated by Lin Lee-kai
Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Forward Forum in Taipei, former Singaporean minister for foreign affairs George Yeo (楊榮文) proposed a “Chinese commonwealth” as a potential framework for political integration between Taiwan and China. Yeo said the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait is unsustainable and that Taiwan should not be “a piece on the chessboard” in a geopolitical game between China and the US. Yeo’s remark is nothing but an ill-intentioned political maneuver that is made by all pro-China politicians in Singapore. Since when does a Southeast Asian nation have the right to stick its nose in where it is not wanted
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has released a plan to economically integrate China’s Fujian Province with Taiwan’s Kinmen County, outlining a cross-strait development project based on six major themes and 21 measures. This official document by the CCP is directed toward Taiwan’s three outlying island counties: Penghu County, Lienchiang County (Matsu) and Kinmen County. The plan sets out to construct a cohabiting sphere between Kinmen and the nearby Chinese city of Xiamen, as well as between Matsu and Fuzhou. It also aims to bring together Minnanese cultural areas including Taiwan’s Penghu and China’s cities of Quanzhou and Zhangzhou for further integrated
During a recent visit to Taiwan, I encountered repeated questions about “America skepticism” among the body politic. The basic premise of the “America skepticism” theory is that Taiwan people should view the United States as an unreliable, self-interested actor who is using Taiwan for its own purposes. According to this theory, America will abandon Taiwan when its interests are advanced by doing so. At one level, such skepticism is a sign of a healthy, well-functioning democratic society that protects the right for vigorous political debate. Indeed, around the world, the people of Taiwan are far from alone in debating America’s reliability
As China’s economy was meant to drive global economic growth this year, its dramatic slowdown is sounding alarm bells across the world, with economists and experts criticizing Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) for his unwillingness or inability to respond to the nation’s myriad mounting crises. The Wall Street Journal reported that investors have been calling on Beijing to take bolder steps to boost output — especially by promoting consumer spending — but Xi has deep-rooted philosophical objections to Western-style consumption-driven growth, seeing it as wasteful and at odds with his goal of making China a world-leading industrial and technological powerhouse, and