During my twenty-two years in the US Senate, I became a student of Taiwan and its history. I was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy, and have made at least 25 trips to Taiwan and have been invited as an observer to two of the nation’s presidential elections.
Taiwan’s continuous economic miracle has seen the nation transition from a mixed agricultural-industrial society at the end of Japan’s 50 years of jurisdiction to today’s economic powerhouse, unmatched by most nations of the world.
Just as outstanding has been Taiwan’s decades of resistance and democratization that finally overcame the initial reign of terror and subsquent dictatorial rule of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), and attained a sophisticated democratic system affording human rights, free speech, free elections and a free press.
Today’s Taiwanese are a unique and proud people all their own.
All surveys find that they overwhelmingly identify as Taiwanese, not Chinese, and do not consider Taiwan by any measure to be a part of China.
Beijing’s “one country, two systems” rings just as hollow and unacceptable in Taiwan as it does in Hong Kong.
Taiwan’s national name, the Republic of China, which is based on a foreign Chinese constitution that never defined it as a legally applicable place to begin with, is totally out of touch with the realities Taiwan faces, is in conflict with and objected to by the People’s Republic of China, is unrecognizable in international society and should therefore be rectified to “Republic of Taiwan” through a national referendum process.
This would finally fulfill the 1945 UN Charter, whose provisions stipulate self-determination for once-colonized peoples, and achieve a resolution that Taiwanese deserve.
In return, Taiwan can and will be a great contributor to the world with its know-how, specialties and exceptional resources, which have largely been disregarded due to its Beijing-imposed isolation.
Universal recognition that China was the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, but chose to hide the outbreak’s proven consequences, highlights a glaring character flaw in the Communist government, while recognition that the WHO’s leadership was significantly influenced by Beijing, downplaying the severity of the virus, has resulted in a universal loss of the global health body’s credibility.
Had there been transparency and honesty, allowing for a prompt reaction to the severity of the coronavirus, millions of lives worldwide might have been saved.
It is a fact that Taiwan sent out an early warning to the world that there were signs of a serious viral epidemic in Wuhan, China.
Due to effective measures implemented by President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration, Taiwan has limited the number of COVID-19 cases to 441 and seven deaths in a population of 23.5 million.
A similar achievement per capita in the US would have limited the number of deaths nationwide to 85, instead of more than 101,500.
The free world’s opinion of China has deteriorated to a point where the majority of those polled strongly disapprove of its attitude and its refusal to take responsibility for what has happened — two US states have filed charges against the Chinese government.
It is time for the nations of the free world to unite behind proposals to extend full and formal diplomatic recognition to Taiwan and inclusion in the WHO.
Frank Murkowski is a former US senator and former governor of Alaska.
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