In light of the ongoing war in Ukraine, United Microelectronics Corp founder Robert Tsao (曹興誠), who is known for his pro-China stance and proposed a “unification” referendum in 2007, has made surprising remarks regarding Taiwan’s national security.
In an article published this week, Tsao said that Taiwan could only achieve long-term peace by adopting a “two-state theory.” As most of those endorsing the theory have previously been pro-Taiwan politicians, Tsao’s theory, while not original, is indicative of a consensus forming among Taiwanese and of how the global community regards the nation.
In 1999, Taiwan’s first directly elected president, Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), began to turn from the “one China” framework by proposing the two-state theory and designating cross-strait relations as a “special state-to-state relationship.”
Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) adopted the idea and pushed for a hardened stance of “one country on each side.”
While the theory waned under former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) — who advanced his concept of “one Republic of China (ROC), two areas” — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has said that China and Taiwan are “not subordinate to each other,” which was widely regarded as promoting the two-state theory.
As Lee once said: “The historical fact is that since the establishment of the Chinese communist regime in 1949, it has never ruled Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu — the territories under our jurisdiction.”
This is why the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) can never insist on “reunification.”
With its own land, people, government and military, Taiwan has always been a de facto independent nation. Under today’s geopolitical climate, the US, Japan and other countries friendly to Taiwan would never allow Chinese expansion or military aggression.
Tsao’s endorsement of the two-state theory is significant. It shows an ideological shift in people once supportive of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Tsao’s about-face shows how an increasing number of people are rallying behind a pro-Taiwan, pro-US stance, as opposed to the KMT’s pro-China ideology.
In a local survey conducted since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 70 percent of respondents supported extending Taiwan’s mandatory military service, indicating the determination of Taiwanese to take up arms in defense of their nation and against Chinese aggression.
Tsao’s attacks against deep-blue KMT members, such as Ma and former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) — who in 2006 admitted making up the term “1992 consensus” — have conveyed that the KMT’s “1992 consensus” is, in essence, a surrender to the CCP and that the party’s promotion of defeatism has long been out of touch with Taiwanese.
Comments promoting capitulation, from Broadcasting Corp of China chairman Jaw Shaw-kong’s (趙少康) “small countries should not provoke big countries” to a defeatist confession from KMT Deputy Chairman Sean Lien (連勝文) — who said he is no longer “hot-blooded,” that he would not directly confront China because he has children and parents to care for — are the main reasons the KMT has been losing support and political influence over the past few years.
KMT members could learn a thing or two from Tsao’s article, which has gained wide support among Taiwanese, and reflect on their party’s direction.
If Taiwanese are to stand united against China, they should be wary of the pseudo-pacifist rhetoric put forward by pro-China figures and especially cautious of those posing as pro-Taiwan while facilitating a “unification” agenda.
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