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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times Choosing the policeman or gangster

Choosing the policeman or gangster

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Faced with two great powers — the US and China — some people in Taiwan say: “It is hard to be a small country between two big ones.”

These people advocate “equidistant diplomacy” as a survival strategy. However, this fancy argument cannot deceive people who have at least some sense of right and wrong, and who support the idea of Taiwan as a sovereign state.

If China recognized Taiwan’s national status and had no ambition to annex it, it would make more sense to advocate “equidistant diplomacy.” However, China’s intention to annex Taiwan is written clearly in its constitution and its “Anti-Secession” Law, along with its frequent intimidation and saber-rattling.

This is what gangsters do and to accept being extorted by gangsters would mean going back to the law of the jungle.

After the end of World War II, the US earned the title of “the world’s policeman” by using its monetary and military strengths to safeguard the ideas of democracy and freedom, and to prevent communist expansion and aggression. The communist world called the US “imperialist,” but the US did not invade Cuba, which is on its doorstep, or annex Taiwan, which Japan abandoned after the war. From Taiwan’s point of view, the US is a policeman, not a gangster.

Although the US cut diplomatic ties with the Republic of China in 1979, it immediately enacted the Taiwan Relations Act. While the US has not recognized Taiwan as a nation, the way it applies the law treats it as such. The US provides Taiwan with weapons for its self defense and promises to ensure its security.

Faced with the Chinese gangster and the US policeman, it is clear which choice Taiwan should make.

Taiwan can show goodwill and avoid provoking the gangster, but it would be unreasonable to maintain an equidistant relationship between the gangster and the policeman, as if there were no difference between good and evil.

The post-war international order is dominated by the US and the US clearly knows that, according to the Treaty of San Francisco — the document that officially and legally ended the Pacific War — Taiwan’s status is undetermined.

This means that the US and other signatories did not recognize China’s claim of sovereignty over Taiwan.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime, in its own selfish interest, did not dare remind the signatories about the treaty’s terms regarding Taiwan’s status or insist that Taiwanese have the right to decide their own future. It just held on to Taiwan while playing a zero-sum game with China.

The Democratic Progressive Party government should change the tune by reminding the 49 signatories about its provisions regarding Taiwan’s status, as well as Taiwan’s democratization.

To become a normal country, Taiwan should stand on the side of the policeman and the law, rather than letting itself be recruited by a gangster.

James Wang is a media commentator.

Translated by Lin Lee-kai

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2017/01/04

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Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidates for legislative by-elections in Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung both defeated their Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) counterparts yesterday, increasing the party’s number of seats in the Legislative Yuan to 33, compared to the KMT’s 73 seats.

According to a statement from the Kaohsiung City Election Commission, vote counting for the legislative by-election was completed at 5:25pm, with a voter turnout of 33.97 percent.”