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TAIWAN INDEPENDENCE
OR UNIFICATION?

(Updated Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 04:55:02 PM)

he most pressing Asian foreign policy issue currently faced by the U.S. is the Taiwan question. The email we receive in reaction to our articles relating to this issue suggests that it's an emotional one for many of our readers. Perhaps one reason for the emotion is the fact that the issue isn't amenable to an easy or simple solution.
     The first historical mention of Taiwan appears to have been when Portugese traders found it to be a resting place on their journey to Japan and named it Isla Formosa. Beijing's claim to Taiwan dates back to the 16th century when a Chinese general fought off the Portugese to claim the island for the emperor. In 1895 the expansion-minded Japanese annexed it after defeating China in a war on the Corean peninsula. China briefly reestablished sovereignty over Taiwan following Japan's defeat in August of 1945.
     At the time the official government of China, as recognized by most nations of the world, was under the control of the Kuomingtang headed by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. He was engaged in a desperate war against Mao Tse-tung's peasant army. Despite billions of dollars of aid by the U.S. based mainly on intensely partisan reporting by Henry Luce's Time/Life empire, the spectacularly corrupt Chiang lost that war and fled to Taiwan with 2.5 million followers.
     He established the present government of Taiwan on December 7, 1949 and proclaimed it the sole legitimate government of all China. Mao made the same claim. The claims competed until 1971 when it became clear to most of the world that Mao's was more persuasive. Taiwan was kicked out of the UN. The Beijing government took its place as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a seat given in recognition of China's role in fighting Japan in World War II.
     Mired in its own misguided war in Vietnam, and intensely fearful of anything red, the U.S. was one of the last nations to recognize the legitimacy of Mao's government. In 1972 Richard Nixon made his historic journey to Beijing. In 1976 the U.S. took the next step by recognizing the People's Republic as China's sole legitimate government. It began pursuing the "One China, One Taiwan" policy under which official diplomatic contacts were exclusively with Beijing but continued to sell billions of dollars a year of fighter jets, helicopters, tanks and missiles to Taiwan to help defend against a possible Chinese effort to refunify by force.
     In 1997 President Clinton declared a "strategic partnership" with Beijing over intense Republican objections. It was an astute recognition of the fact that China's 1.2 billion people must be accorded a central place in U.S. foreign policy. But the historic, moral and economic ties that bind the U.S. to Taiwan's 23 million people stand squarely in the way of cutting off arms sales and renouncing the pact under which the U.S. obliged itself to come to Taiwan's defense in the event of attack by China. That U.S. pledge and continuing arms sales continue to inflame Beijing to periodic bursts of violent anti-U.S. rhetoric.
     Taiwan has been a domocracy since 1989 when it legalized opposition parties. It held its first democratic presidential elections in 1990. Lee Teng-hui handily won to keep the presidency which he had originally gained in 1988. Lee won again in 1996. Since 1997 he began efforts to warm up relations with Beijing by agreeing to enter into negotiations under a "One-China" framework with an eye toward eventual reunification. Beijing's leaders continued their highly successful campaign of pressuring diplomatic partners into severing ties with Taiwan. China even raised hell when Lee made a semi-surreptitious trip to New York in 1997. Since then China has scared neighborning nations like the Philippines into not allowing Lee to enter. As of 1999 Taiwan's diplomatic allies number about 18 out of about 220 nations on earth. All are tiny, impoverished Central American, African and Pacific Island nations that appreciate Taiwan's generous aid packages. Pago Pago is considered a major ally.
     Feisty Lee Teng-hui launched his own guerilla offensive in July, 1999 by declaring over German radio that Taiwan was in fact a separate state and would negotiate with Beijing on an equal footing. That sent Beijing into a tizzy. It fired off bombastic threats to take Taiwan by force and to annhilate the U.S. Navy if it intervenes. On October 18 during his British visit Chinese President Jiang Zemin assumed a softer, more relaxed tone in telling a London newspaper that China would be peacefully reunited with Taiwan under a one-nation two-systems formula by the middle of the next century. One might have expected Lee to have been relieved by that statement. Instead, he brushed it aside as "a hoax". China should try instead to set a timetable for its democratization as that was the only way to ensure reunification, sneered Lee's Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi. Most polls show that a clear majority of Taiwanese prefer to maintain the status quo indefinitely rather than moving toward unification.
     Beijing's reunification mandate appears based on the idea that in winning the mainland, the Chinese people had rejected the "criminal" Kuomingtang and its right to rule any part of China. It also sees Taiwan as a galling symbol of the division wrought and preserved by western imperialists -- namely, the U.S. -- seeking to enjoy global hegemony at the expense of Chinese dignity.
     Meanwhile the U.S. remains on the hook to defend Taiwan and sell it arms though doing so keeps its relations with a quarter of humanity rocky and on edge. Under its current policy the U.S. is the asbestos firewall that keeps friction between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait from igniting into war.
     Should the U.S. continue alienating Beijing to help Taiwan protect its independence or improve relations with China by pressuring Taiwan to reunite?

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WHAT YOU SAY

[This page is closed to new input. --Ed.]
"Where would the British counter attack be? That's a big coastline. They don't need to sacrifice 10men to kill one of the enemy like China did in Corea."

oh thats easy comeon. The chinese A-50 AWAC will pick those boys up when they are 500 miles off the coast, not to mention they would be picked up when they leave port by chinese statellites and the russian glonoss staellite systems.
In corea? wow you are brainwashed by the white man. When you consider casualties by northkorean+chinese vs UN + south korea. Its about 2:1. Not too bad. lol. Oh yeah only reason why US did not get annihalated was because she threatened to use nukes.

UK would be hit so hard and so fast she would not know where it came from. The 70 diesal subs and new generation of chinese SSN will make short work of that.

If the whole UK navy comes and fights chinese navy, 10% of them will go back home. LOL having caused little or no damage to chinese navy.
SOG    Sunday, November 10, 2002 at 22:29:35 (PST)    [216.239.163.210]
huu (white mans ***)

yeah and the chinese got isreali intelligence backing up their claim too huh? MOSSAD isreali intelligence is the BEST in the world.

also the chinese displayed it at the zhu hai airshow. It was magnificent missile. Beautiful sleek silver stainless steel shine.

what is the british going to win by?

their two old pile of junk death beds? CVGs. Or their sea harriers? which is to be decommissioned. They cant even make it to china to fight the war. LOL. British would be lucky to be able to defend themselves.

You cant argue so you resort to pure baloney. I can use your tactic too.

blah blah blah, nickel is better than jellow weeeeeee.
SOG    Sunday, November 10, 2002 at 22:19:16 (PST)    [216.239.163.210]
Huu 76

what the beep is the PRA?

You mean the PLA. oh you revealed your true nature. by saying cheap lives of the PLA.

You are a cheap chinese yourself by your own logic. LOL. Stats? oh man you have no idea how to fight a war. UK will be totally annihlated if they try to fight the chinese navy.

Shows what you know. Or as apache driver likes to put it. Or lackthereof. LOL
SOG    Sunday, November 10, 2002 at 22:07:23 (PST)    [216.239.163.210]
Keep bashing your country huu.

Hey I'm a person of Chinese descent and trust me China is not my country. I swear allegiance to the U.S. and only U.S.

that's real class for you right there. A chinese bashing china.

I'm Chinese and I have no problem bashing China. What has China done lately? It's a dirt poor commie country that brought shame into the Chinese culture for the past 50+ years. It's still backwards, filthy, and being oppressed today. It manufactures cheap goods to the world, thousands of it's own citizens try to escape annually hence the idea of the boat people. Hell many people that escaped during the Cultural Revolution even refused to identify themselves as Chinese. Can't blame them since their own native country betrayed them and brought that much shame.
84 Niners    Sunday, November 10, 2002 at 16:02:04 (PST)    [198.81.27.16]
You commies sure enjoy your freedom of speech and exercising your human rights while you bash our inferior system. Kind of ironic. Maybe moronic is a better word. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

HAHA exactly, such hypocrites. An overseas Chinese in America bashing capitalism. LOL too funny. Hey why don't you two faced commies move back to China? I'm sure the PRC will see you as the perfect jesters.
Kazuya    Sunday, November 10, 2002 at 15:50:51 (PST)    [198.81.27.16]
huu76,

"Stealth gives America the option of first strike with the least worry about any significant retaliation."

Not really Al-Qeada doesn't have stealth technology and did first strike on the USA a number of times.

"Wouldn't hurt China to actually come up with an original idea once in a while."

You mean like gunpowder, the compass, and heart transplants. Every nation on the planet will rise and fall. Even the USA.

"Tibet and Tiannamen Square massacre. Those are much better examples. Slavery has stopped, have the other two?"

huh? The Tiannanmen student demostration ended a decade ago. Also Tainnanmen was built before the USA was even around.

Tibet? The dali lama has already returned to China 2 days ago. Also Tibet is a similar to HK in that it is regulated officially as an autonomous region.

Before you just post some propoganda points with no substance, you should define a particular issue you wish to discuss. Unlike you many of the posters here are pretty well informed and could go on length on any particular topic.

"13 states? That was over 200 years ago. Maybe you should brush up. The U.S. could expand right over Canada and Mexico if it wanted to. Has it?"

It is obvious your high school history lesson were not absorbed. War of 1812 was with British in Canada over a border disputes. We can site various battle over the French Territories, prior to their purchase. Texas and California were won through wars with Mexico. So yes the USA has expanded with warfare. The concept is usually sited as "Manifest Destiny" by USA historians, which was the concept the USA felt it was their god given right to expand to the Pacific Ocean even though the French, Spanish, and Russian got there first. Not the mention the Native American. Also look up Puerto Rico, Guam, Bikini Island, Phillipines and Hawaii for other USA conquest of territory.

"Actually, I forgot. Can you guys remind me which Western Country defended and aided mighty China against the Japanese in WWII?"

Hello....the USA only came to assist because of Madame Chiang many request. Also Chinese immigrants in the USA gain the sympathy of fellow American from Japanese aggression. It not like white america was doing it out of love. Not the mention the infamous US plan to divide China into N and S, which Chiang Kai-shek rejected.

Vietnam? The Chinese? So you think the French and USA colonist mentality would have been better for Vietnam? It was the Chinese revolutions of 1911 that inspire the Vietnamese to overthrow the French.

And the Vietnamese call the Vietnam war, the American War...I wonder why. Not to mention a textbook example of how superior war technology lost in a military conflict.

Living in Canada I knew their education system was behind the USA. But your a classic example of someone who really needs to spend more time in the library just be on par average poster on this board.
AC Dropout    Sunday, November 10, 2002 at 15:19:46 (PST)    [24.90.98.143]
B.E.Verins,

I think you hit the nail on the head. It is Chinese psyche that the Island of Taiwan is part of Chinese terriority. Just like Tibet and Mongolia. Which wars were fought to keep them part of China.

China has recently offered the olive branch of opening up the three connects (Airlines, Mail, and banking). The current president of Taiwan is balking on the issue, even though he supports it, fearing it will accelerate the unification process.

"So then what's the point of reunification? What does China get out of this deal, since Taiwan seems to get everything except call themselves a country?"

All China wants to do is call Taiwan part of China and the people on the island Chinese
AC Dropout    Sunday, November 10, 2002 at 14:48:45 (PST)    [24.90.98.143]
Take a look at this boys

http://www.centurychina.com/plaboard/

Taiwan

Lee Teng-hui admits communist past
Ex-president says he joined party out of 'a young man's naive vision for his country'
2002-11-08 / Central News Agency /
Former president Lee Teng-hui (oP) admitted that he was once a Chinese Communist Party member for the first time in a television interview yesterday.
Lee told a Taipei television station that he joined the communist party out of a young man's naive vision for his country.

He made the confession after a senior Taiwanese communist, Wu Ketai, told a local historian, Hsu Tsungmao, in Beijing that he was the man who initiated Lee into the Chinese Communist Party in September 1946.
...
SOG    Saturday, November 09, 2002 at 15:30:24 (PST)    [128.193.169.86]
SOG,
Just saw your point about rigging a 2+ mach test.
I don't know, maybe you put a detonator on board it. The commies probably haven't progressed that far yet. Heavens, they haven't even put a man on the moon yet.

I noticed Japan created Asimo. Maybe some day Asimo will be carrying an assault rifle when it goes toe to toe with the bountiful, yet cheap lives of the PRA.
huu76    Friday, November 08, 2002 at 17:14:25 (PST)    [64.231.97.241]
SOG,
What has China done for me lately?
No respect for human rights? Try suing your own government for past mistakes in China. Let's see how far you get before they "elminate" or "educate" you. Same difference.
China is so great that everyone wants to copy what the West has, including China. They'll need to send many more of their student spies before they even come close.
If China really isn't backing Bin-Laden, I can't wait to see what their reaction is when Hong Kong gets hit.
All asian stud? Yes, no inferiority complex there if you have to advertise that.
Yes, the British would win. Unlike China, they've fought real wars and know what it takes to win. Taiwan is 1 island. You know where China will hit. Where would the British counter attack be? That's a big coastline. They don't need to sacrifice 10men to kill one of the enemy like China did in Corea.
Quit dancing around my points with your BS stats/statements. Stealth gives America the option of first strike with the least worry about any significant retaliation.

Economics. Competing and defeating are two different things.

Realist,
China may be rising, but the west has been there, done that. Progress is exponential, the farther ahead you are, the faster you go. You can't lead if you always follow. Wouldn't hurt China to actually come up with an original idea once in a while.

AC,
Tibet and Tiannamen Square massacre. Those are much better examples. Slavery has stopped, have the other two? America has atleast acknowledged and worked to correct these.
13 states? That was over 200 years ago. Maybe you should brush up. The U.S. could expand right over Canada and Mexico if it wanted to. Has it?

You commies sure enjoy your freedom of speech and exercising your human rights while you bash our inferior system. Kind of ironic. Maybe moronic is a better word. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

Actually, I forgot. Can you guys remind me which Western Country defended and aided mighty China against the Japanese in WWII?

By the way, I'm Chinese born in Vietnam. I know the stories of China sticking their noses in there. Why has Vietnam been warming up to America? Good ol' China's right there.

Lastly gentlemen, keep up with the news. Seems since Dubya won the byelections, all the wannabes around the world suddenly shutup.
huu76    Friday, November 08, 2002 at 17:04:01 (PST)    [64.231.98.246]
Confused,

PRC - People republic of China. Founded by Mao Zhe Dong. Defacto won the Chinese Civil War.

ROC - Republic of China. Founded by Dr. Sun Yet Sen in 1911. Due to Dr. Sun premature death. There was a power struggle between Mao (Communist) and Chiang-Kai Shiek (KMT) for control of the ROC. Chiang lost and retreated to the Island of Taiwan.
AC Dropout    Friday, November 08, 2002 at 15:23:04 (PST)    [24.90.98.143]
abc college guy,

"So all those reports are false and those dissident people who fled risking personal safety and leaving everything they knew behind to come to the States have lied?"

Perhaps somewhat over-exaggerated to qualify as a political refugee in the USA. Do you know how many Chinese College Grad students I know that qualified for as political refugee after the Tiananmen incident. Not all of them had any real connection to the student demostrations. It like Paper Sons. Sometimes Chinese will find other ways to overcome the tough immigration laws in the USA unfairly directed at the Chinese.

"pragmatic chinese in power has always traditionally seen human life as dirt cheap especially because of the huge population."

Really...is that the reason why they practice exile instead of life in prison. Is that the reason why they are focusing on economic development of the PRC that has already raised the standard of living of 340 million people into the middle class. Is that the reason why they haven't nuked ROC, instead of patiently playing a game of diplomacy with the ROC.

"chinese christians from my church were also murdered in the mainland by police 'authorities'. and we are no cult either, just refuse to be legally registered because then they force political propaganda into the spiritual life. basic freedoms such as to worship should become a right in China."

Why do you think it is okay for your church member to refuse to legally register in another country. Would you think it okay if they came to USA and refure to legally register before driving a car. Or refuse registering before casting a vote in the USA. So laws in China can just be ignore. I think that is one of the reasons why Chinese culture doesn't believe in rule of law. Culturally Chinese people can just go about ignoring laws. So then they were murdered because another group of Chinese ignored that law as well. Or were they executed because they broke the law? My point being one should obey the laws to avoid situations like this, especially when you are not a citizen of that country.

Unless you think ROC and PRC should unify, then you can try to change the local laws.
AC Dropout    Friday, November 08, 2002 at 15:13:34 (PST)    [24.90.98.143]
Confused,

"I am very confused. Is it true that China is aka PRC while Taiwan is aka ROC?"

The Kuomintang (KMT, literal translation National's People Party) found by Sun Yet-Sen overthrow the Qing government (last imperial ruled dynasty) in 1911. The official name of this new government, which the KMT called Republic of China (ROC). The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) emerged and gained wide support from the peasant class. There was a civil war in China led by the CCP against the KMT. In the 1949, CCP took control of China as the new government - named People's Republic of China (PRC). Taiwan is the last standing province of the ROC government.
tazadar    Friday, November 08, 2002 at 13:33:23 (PST)    [63.201.59.131]
>>1.) reunite peacefully and

>>keep her military
>>her economic autonomy
>>freedom of taxes
>>political system

So then what's the point of reunification? What does China get out of this deal, since Taiwan seems to get everything except call themselves a country? Seems to me these are the 4 points of independence, and for these to be kept with reunification seems far too good to be true... especially keeping the political system.

Basically, if they keep their political system, then why bother to reunite? Seems to me that this sort of rhetoric is as empty (and deceitful) as GWB's speeches.
B.E.Verins beverins@aol.com    Friday, November 08, 2002 at 13:31:46 (PST)    [148.4.33.125]
confused

PRC= Peoples republic of China
Mainland China

ROC= Republic of China
Taiwan

But that really doesn't matter, just say China and we all get the picture.

Or you can say mini china, for taiwan.

lol
SOG    Friday, November 08, 2002 at 13:05:56 (PST)    [128.193.5.190]

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