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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times Taiwan has to assert its sovereignty to the world

Taiwan has to assert its sovereignty to the world

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The Chinese dictatorship on the other side of the Taiwan Strait is fond of claiming that Taiwan is “part of China.”

Beijing has also been busy poaching Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and demanding that the world’s airlines change Taiwan’s name to Taiwan (China).

It is essential that the government issues the following robust response: “Taiwan is not part of China.”

Unfortunately, at present, the only direct response from the government to these affronts to the nation’s sovereignty has been an article published in the Washington Post, written by an official at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York.

The article emphasized that “Taiwan is not and has never been part of the People’s Republic of China [PRC].”

This is a factual statement, but it is made at too low a level and leaves room for Beijing to engage in some semantic subterfuge.


Taiwan is not part of any other nation’s territory be it the PRC or “China.”

There should be absolute clarity on this point.

The PRC is the official title of China and it is acknowledged as the only legal representative government of China.

From the perspective of Taiwan, China is therefore an entirely separate nation.

Many Taiwanese now say that “Taiwan is not part of China” — a phrase is born out of a fundamental recognition and consensus for “natural independence.”

Only the most rabidly pro-China, pro-unification members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) still parrot the “one China” formula, with each side having its own “interpretation” of what that China is, or “both sides of the Taiwan Strait are one family” — an echo of a similar phrase used by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).


Meanwhile, former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), kicking his heels in retirement, now spends his time boring the pants off Taiwanese university students by repeating lies about the Cairo Declaration and the so-called “1992 consensus.”

Ma has also been discussing diplomatic relations between the US and China with pro-China media outlets in Taiwan, saying that “the US acknowledges that Taiwan is part of China,” which he went on to explain means that “the US does not recognize the PRC’s claim of sovereignty over Taiwan, but it also does not dispute the Republic of China’s [ROC] legitimacy to rule Taiwan.”

In just a few short sentences, Ma succeeded in making his confused verbal contortions look ridiculous.

The US’ position is not that it “acknowledges that Taiwan is part of China,” but rather that it “acknowledges that the PRC’s position is that Taiwan is part of China.”


The US has also never “recognized” the PRC’s claim to sovereignty over Taiwan and, in the same vein, has never “recognized” the ROC’s claim to sovereignty over Taiwan.

Ma employed verbal gymnastics to claim that the US “does not dispute the ROC’s claim to sovereignty over Taiwan,” but the truth is that the US has established a legal basis that recognizes the right of “the governing authorities on Taiwan” to rule Taiwan.

China is fishing in troubled waters.

The government must clearly assert Taiwan’s national status, the first step of which is to state without equivocation that “Taiwan is not part of China.”

James Wang is a media commentator.

Translated by Edward Jones

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2018/06/21

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Photo: Taipei Times

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