During a telephone interview with the Hugh Hewitt Show radio program aired on Thursday last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that “Taiwan has not been part of China.” This is reasonable, legal and truthful.
Once the word was out, it broke the hearts of those in the pro-unification camp and those sticking with the Republic of China (ROC).
Even more predictable, it infuriated Beijing, which is touchy about such issues.
The Chinese government’s response was also a slap in the face to former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and former National Security Council secretary-general Su Chi (蘇起), who to this day continue to talk about the “1992 consensus” and “one China, different interpretations” as soon as they are given the opportunity.
An examination of the historical context shows that Taiwan has never been part of China.
The imperial states and kingdoms that occupied parts of the territory known today as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) only began to arrive in Taiwan during the Yuan Dynasty, followed by the Ming Dynasty and its loyalist Cheng Cheng-kung (鄭成功), known in the West as Koxinga, and the Qing Dynasty.
These regimes never controlled all of Taiwan, and none of them were named, or could have their names abbreviated as “China.”
At the end of World War II, the Allies entrusted the administration of Taiwan to the ROC regime of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) leader Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), although they did not legally hand over Taiwan to the ROC.
The Cairo Declaration is not legally binding, while the San Fransisco Peace Treaty and the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty did not address who was to have sovereignty over Taiwan.
The Chinese Civil War between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had nothing to do with Taiwan.
However, when the Chiang-led regime, after a string of defeats, fled to Taiwan, they occupied it as a matter of course.
Whether examined historically, legally or from another perspective, the China that was established by the CCP — in other words, the PRC — has nothing to do with Taiwan, and former Chinese leader Mao Zedong (毛澤東) once even expressed support for Taiwanese independence.
On what grounds can a regime that has never ruled Taiwan claim it as part of its territory? That is incompatible with international law, as well as being unreasonable and irrational.
When communist China establishes diplomatic relations with another country, it demands that its new ally agree that there is only one China, that the PRC government is its only legal government and that the so-called “one China” principle purportedly shows that Taiwan is an “inalienable part” of China.
Many countries recognize the first two parts, but when it comes to China’s claim over Taiwan, they adopt “strategic ambiguity” by not recognizing, but only “understanding” or “respecting” Beijing’s unilateral claim.
For example, the US government merely “acknowledges” that this is Beijing’s point of view.
Washington does not recognize the “one China” principle, but it has its own “one China” policy.
Surely Ma and those of his ilk can understand the international environment and see how unreasonable Beijing’s attitude is — so why do they seem so happy to go along with and repeat the Chinese government’s lies?
Hung Yu-jui is a Japanese teacher and translator.
Translated by Perry Svensson
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