Former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo delivered a very short, succinct and accurate speech in regards to the US relationship with Taiwan in November last year. This information has again angered Beijing, which has stated that the existence of a free and independent Taiwan will not be tolerated. Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) has said Pompeo’s language is interfering with the sovereignty of China.
Pompeo was stating the facts. Taiwan has never been a part of the People’s Republic of China or the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), therefore it is not a territory of China. The history outside of CCP propaganda and interpretation is clear on this.
The reality is that former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) was the undisputed leader of the Nationalist government in all of China from 1928 to 1949. The communists started a civil war, which they won. This then forced Chiang and his people to flee to the island nation known as Formosa.
The independent nation of Taiwan was then established on the island of Formosa and recognized by the UN along with nations around the world. These are the facts.
The current confusion regarding the status of Taiwan was bad foreign policy created in error by former US president Jimmy Carter, who instructed the US government to formally unrecognize Taiwan’s sovereign nation status to appease China.
A further lack of clarity came out of the administration of former US president Richard Nixon with the help of former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger.
This led to the misguided foreign policy that has become known in the US as “strategic ambiguity” in regards to the Taiwan/China relationship.
This change in definition by the US government does not change that Taiwan was and has remained an independent nation, and it does not state that Taiwan is part of China.
China has been using the phrase “one country, two systems” for decades to say it would accept sovereign rule in a territory like Hong Kong, allowing for Hong Kong to have its own political and independent judiciary systems, but with the acknowledgement that its foreign affairs concerns defer to China.
It sounds nice in theory that China would allow Taiwan to remain an independent nation, but somehow become part of China. Again, the facts are clear: Taiwan has never been a part of the People’s Republic of China or the CCP.
People have seen China’s true colors and intent along with its lack of credibility in its commitments to foreign policy, especially in its “one country, two systems.”
This was illustrated when Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and the CCP dishonored the Chinese rulers that negotiated the transfer of Hong Kong back to China. This transition was to proceed peacefully over a 50-year period, from 1997 to 2047.
The world agrees that Hong Kong was part of China, even though it was colonized by Britain in the 1800’s. The British agreed to return Hong Kong to China in the 1990s. This was formally done on the world stage at the UN, with a signing ceremony including witnesses from other nations.
There was within the negotiated treaty a guarantee from China to Hong Kong that the latter would remain a self-governing territory with an independent judiciary for 50 years.
In just 22 short years since the signing of that treaty, Xi, China and the CCP have dishonored this agreement and the Chinese people. This is evidenced by the heavy hand of Beijing’s police force in Hong Kong and the introduction of China’s National Security Law eroding Hong Kong’s independent judiciary.
Now, China wants to apply the “one country, two system” to Taiwan and have all nations think it would handle this relationship equitably. Unfortunately, China’s actions speak differently.
The difference with Taiwan is again that it has never been part of China or the CCP. This is why it will take a worldwide coalition of countries to recognize Taiwan as an independent sovereign nation. This must be done before China errs in its efforts at “reunification.”
If China were to act forcibly as it has vowed to do, this then would force the Western democratic nations to respond in defense of Taiwan, a similar independent democratic nation. This most likely could foment the next great world war at a great loss in human lives and capital on all sides, but also at China’s expense and shame.
The remedy is for countries that believe, as most do, that Taiwan is an independent nation to recognize it diplomatically.
China should also immediately relinquish false territorial claims over Taiwan.
There should be international encouragement and agreement that any talks in the relationship between Taiwan and China must be done peacefully.
This is why my office introduced the “Taiwan Invasion and Prevention Act” before I retired from the US Congress at the end of the 116th Congress this year.
The legislation instructs and recommends that the US government, along with other nations, work together to facilitate peaceful negotiations concerning Taiwan and China. It states that if China forcibly invades Taiwan, then the US will defend Taiwan.
The legislation is intended to send a strong, clear message and clarify the “strategic ambiguity” policy of the past. It is also meant to deliver a message of unity among Western democratic countries to China, the CCP and Xi before they miscalculate their next move in regards to Taiwan.
That message is this: Allow Taiwan to exist independently as a sovereign nation.
The world has benefited much from Taiwan, whether in medicine, science, engineering, culturally or trade. We (all nations) should continue to work peacefully together and do all within our power to prevent another world conflict between nations.
Let us come together for the benefit of all and celebrate the success and independence of Taiwan. China is invited to do the same and would be regarded highly for doing so.
Ted S. Yoho was a US representative for Florida’s Third Congressional District prior to retirement.
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