Syd Goldsmith


2009 Op-ed Columns

U.S. Politics - 2008 Elections

Readers' Blog

Meet the Author

Jade Phoenix

Chapter One

Buy the book



Recommend this site

China Call for Taiwan Accord a Bypass

Fri Oct 19, 2007 11:13 AM EDT
world-news, china, taiwan, hu-jintao
Peter Enav, AP Writer

TAIPEI — A call by Chinese President Hu Jintao for a peace treaty with Taiwan was not directed at the island's current leader, but at one of the two men who will replace him after next year's elections, Taiwanese analysts said Friday.

Hu's call to put an end to nearly 60 years of hostilities between the sides was rejected by President Chen Shui-bian on Tuesday, a day after it was issued at a major Chinese Communist Party Congress in Beijing.

"Negotiating a cross-Strait peace accord under the 'one-China principle' is not peace but an accord of surrender," Chen said, referring to Hu's condition that negotiations could proceed only if Taiwan recognizes it is part of China.

Chen maintains that Taiwan is a sovereign nation that should make its de facto independence permanent — despite Chinese threats to attack if it does so.

The two sides split amid civil war in 1949. Previous Taiwanese governments accepted the one-China formula — even if most wanted to control the mainland themselves — so Chen's rejection of the principle has made him a particularly reviled figure among the Beijing leadership.

Alexander Huang, former second-in-command at the Taiwanese government agency responsible for implementing China policy, said Hu's comments were made with the full knowledge that Chen will be leaving office next May, two months after Taiwanese voters elect a new president.

"(They were) intended for the Taiwanese ... presidential candidates, who both have more moderate approach to China than President Chen Shui-bian," he said. "The Chinese Communist Party has decided not to deal with Chen anymore, so Hu's Taiwan proposal ... is not meant to be carried out before (Chen steps down).

Andrew Yang of Taipei's Council of Advanced Political Studies agreed.

"Hu's remarks were directed at future elected leaders in Taiwan," he said. "The call for a peace treaty, the insistence on the one-China framework, these things are not on the agenda of the current Taiwanese leadership. And that means President Chen Shui-bian."

In Taiwan's upcoming presidential election, Frank Hsieh of Chen's Democratic Progressive Party faces off against Ma Ying-jeou of the main opposition Nationalists.

Hsieh, who served as premier and before that as mayor of the southern city of Kaohsiung has a reputation as a moderate on China policy, though he does embrace the DPP's pro-independence platform, albeit cautiously.

On Thursday he told an audience at Taipei's National Taiwan University he favors direct air and sea links with the mainland. That stance that puts him at clear variance with DPP hard-liners, including Chen, who fear closer economic ties will restrict Taiwan's ability to maneuver in the event of a confrontation.

Ma, a former mayor of Taipei, is even more a China policy moderate than Hsieh. His party supports eventual unification with the mainland, though Ma himself wants Beijing to dismantle the estimated 1,000 missiles it has aimed at Taiwan before negotiations.

Early polls give a 10-20 point advantage to Ma, but some analysts believe that Hsieh's formidable campaigning skills and intelligence could eventually put him over the top.

Hu Jintao appeals for "peace agreement" with Taiwan 2007-10-15 10:58:39

Special Report: 17th CPC National Congress

BEIJING, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- With secessionist activities stepped up in Taiwan and cross-Straits relations in jeopardy at present, Hu Jintao in a keynote speech on Monday called for discussions with the Taiwan side for a formal end to the state of hostility and reach a peace agreement under the condition of one-China principle.

"Here we would like to make a solemn appeal: On the basis of the one-China principle, let us discuss a formal end to the state of hostility between the two sides, reach a peace agreement, construct a framework for peaceful development of cross-Straits relations, and thus usher in a new phase of peaceful development,"Hu said in a report to the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Delegates to the seven-day congress hailed the remarks as a guideline for the Chinese mainland's work on cross-Straits relations over the next five years. They said that the speech reflects the continuous stance of the CPC Central Committee on cross-Straits ties and the Party's tradition of seeking truth from facts and keeping up with the times.

Hu Jintao said the forces for "Taiwan independence" were stepping up their secessionist activities, seriously jeopardizing the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations. "The mainlandside is ready to conduct exchanges, dialogue, consultations and negotiations with any political party in Taiwan on any issue as long as it recognizes that both sides of the Straits belong to one and the same China."

"We will make every effort to achieve anything that serves the interests of our Taiwan compatriots, contributes to the maintenance of peace in the Taiwan Straits region, and facilitates peaceful national reunification," he said.

Hu reiterated the Party's long-time stance that the mainland side "will never waver in our commitment to the one-China principle, never abandon our efforts to achieve peaceful reunification, never change the policy of placing our hopes on the people in Taiwan and never compromise in our opposition to the secessionist activities aimed at 'Taiwan independence'."

"China's sovereignty and territorial integrity brook no division, and any matter in this regard must be decided by the entire Chinese people including our Taiwan compatriots," he said.

"We are willing to make every effort with the utmost sincerity to achieve peaceful reunification of the two sides, and will never allow anyone to separate Taiwan from the motherland in any name or by any means," he said.

In the past five years leading up to the current CPC National Congress, political parties on both sides of the Taiwan Straits started communication, and the Anti-Secession Law was enacted to resolutely safeguard China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Editor: Feng Tao

Year 2007 crucial for opposing "Taiwan independence"

The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council on Wednesday said 2007 is a crucial period for opposing "Taiwan independence" and safeguarding peace across the Taiwan Strait.

Spokesman Yang Yi said at a press conference that cross-Strait relations would face severe challenges this year, as Taiwan authorities tried to seek "de jure independence" through the so-called "constitutional reform" which might enter into a "substantive" stage.

He said that resolutely curbing the "Taiwan independence" secessionist activities and safeguarding peace across the Taiwan Strait were still the most important and urgent tasks for compatriots across the Taiwan Strait.

"We will make the utmost efforts to seek peaceful reunification with maximum sincerity. We cannot tolerate 'Taiwan independence' and will not allow Taiwan to secede from China by any means," Yang said.

"We will continue to adhere to the basic principles of 'peaceful reunification' and 'one country, two systems', as well as the eight-point proposal by Jiang Zemin on the settlement of the Taiwan issue and the four-point guidelines on cross-Strait relations set forth by President Hu Jintao, widely unite Taiwan compatriots and build peaceful and stable cross-Strait relations in 2007," he said.

"We hope mainland tourists can travel to Taiwan as early as possible and new breakthroughs can be made in the 'three direct links' of direct mail, transport and trade across the Taiwan Strait this year," he said.

The mainland would continue to seek communication and dialogue with parties and organizations in Taiwan that opposed "Taiwan independence", acknowledged the "1992 Consensus" and advocated promotion of cross-Strait relations, he said.

"As long as the Taiwan authorities acknowledge the '1992 Consensus' which enshrined the one-China principle, the cross-Strait dialogue and negotiation can be restored. Dialogue and negotiations can touch on any topic. We have full confidence in the prospects for developing cross-Strait relations," said Yang.

Yang said cross-Strait relations developed in the direction of peace and stability in 2006 thanks to the common efforts of compatriots on both sides of the strait.

Compatriots across the Taiwan Strait had a deeper understanding of the threats of "Taiwan independence" secessionist activities in 2006. They strongly opposed and condemned the behavior of the "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces, which strained cross-Strait relations.

The compatriots across the Taiwan Strait also had deeper understanding of the bright prospects of the cross-Strait relations in 2006. They deepened mutual understanding and had more common interests, said Yang.

Cross-Strait personnel exchanges, economic and cultural communication and cooperation developed well in 2006, he said.

The indirect trade volume between the mainland and Taiwan hit a record 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2006

Taiwan residents made more than 4.4 million visits to the mainland and the figures for mainland visits to Taiwan was more than 200,000 in 2006.

Source: Xinhua


Taiwan's history - and destiny - of freedom from China Democratic nations must stand up for Taiwan's right to determine its own future without China's military threats.
By Bruce Jacobs


The recent close mayoral elections in Taipei and Kaohsiung, Taiwan's two largest cities, remind us that Taiwan remains a thriving democracy. Along with South Korea, Taiwan is one of two former Asian dictatorships that have made a true transition to democratic rule.

This democratization has won Taiwan many friends around the world, including the United States, Australia, Japan, and Britain. But this support doesn't change the fact that Taiwan faces a severe threat from China.

At this moment, China has more than 800 missiles aimed at the island. Its military often conducts exercises relevant to an invasion of Taiwan. That kind of power makes some observers in government, business, and academic circles wary of upsetting China. Yet China has shown that it respects strong, principled stands rather than a submissive, begging attitude.

The US and other democratic nations must stand up for Taiwan's right to determine its own future without China's military threats. Taking this stand means welcoming Taiwan's representation in more international organizations - and yes, rethinking their approach toward the so-called One-China policy, which declares Taiwan to be part of China.

China's bogus historical claims China claims Taiwan as its own even though the People's Republic of China has never controlled the island.

Even Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong, in his interview with Edgar Snow on July 16, 1936, made very clear that Taiwan should be independent.

Historically, Taiwan belonged to China only during the short period between 1945 and 1949, when the Chinese Nationalists occupied the island and killed some 20,000 Taiwanese who demonstrated for democracy. The Ching Dynasty, which ruled parts of Taiwan from 1683 to 1895 was Manchu, not Chinese. At that time, China, too, was a Manchu colony.

The One-China policy is unfair to Taiwan - and it forces nations that want to keep relations with both China and Taiwan to walk a diplomatic tightrope. That's why Taiwan's allies need to revise their policies toward China and Taiwan.

Take the US. Like many nations, it has two large "officially unofficial" diplomatic missions in Taiwan, while Taiwan has many missions in America. Both sides enjoy diplomatic privileges such as immunity and tax waivers. With its Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, which treats Taiwan as a state, the US has partially overcome the One-China policy. But many US bureaucrats still treat Taiwan as inferior. And many US allies have accepted the claim that the island is a province of China.

In international relations, one of the closest parallels to Taiwan is East Timor, although Taiwan is much more prosperous and maintains a vigorous democracy. Only with the fall of Indonesian President Suharto in 1998 - after nearly a quarter century of oppressive military rule - did the East Timorese people gain the right to vote on their future, choosing independence and freedom overwhelmingly.

While East Timor was controlled by Indonesia, China criticized such "splittist" movements as the call for East Timorese independence. But after East Timor's referendum, China was the very first nation to recognize its independence. The parallels between Taiwan and East Timor, as well as China's support of East Timor's independence, need more emphasis in international relations.

Give Taiwan greater representation The US must continue to work closely with other interested nations - such as Australia, Japan, Canada, and European countries - to give Taiwan international standing, such as observer status, or even membership, in the World Health Organization (WHO). Disease does not recognize borders and Taiwan has suffered from not having proper representation in this forum. The 2003 SARS outbreak, for example, killed many more people than necessary in Taiwan because of the slow international response. China's claim that it can represent Taiwan in WHO has repeatedly proved to be false.

Taiwan should also be integrated into a variety of international forums and activities. The island has formal diplomatic relations with the Solomon Islands and gives significant aid. It would help the Solomon Islands as well as donor nations if Taiwan's aid could be integrated into the multilateral aid efforts that include the US, Australia, and Japan. Such efforts could be replicated elsewhere.

Taiwan should also be welcomed into the Australia Group, which seeks to assure that industries in the 38 member countries do not assist states that try to acquire chemical and biological weapons.

Despite a mirage of leadership unity, China has considerable debates about its Taiwan policies. Taiwan investment makes a considerable contribution to China's current economic boom and to China's economic reforms. A Chinese takeover of Taiwan would endanger many of these efforts. Many Chinese welcome Taiwan's bold freedom of speech and the press, as well as the ability of its judiciary to indict executive- ranch VIPs. A Chinese takeover would suppress these freedoms.

Polls show that the number of people in Taiwan who consider themselves Chinese has declined from 25 percent of the population in 1992 to about 6 percent now. A world that increasingly values self-determination would be a much safer place if China would renounce its false historical claim on Taiwan.

Bruce Jacobs is professor of Asian Languages and Studies and director of the Taiwan Research Unit at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

The New York Times

March 1, 2006

Beijing Accuses Taiwan Leader of 'Grave Provocation'

BEIJING, Feb. 28 President Hu Jintao of China reacted sharply on Tuesday to the decision by President Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan to terminate the island's unification council, calling it "a grave provocation" and "a dangerous step on the road toward Taiwan independence."

Mr. Chen on Tuesday completed the formalities for scrapping the National Unification Council and guidelines for unification with mainland China. Though largely moribund, the council and the guidelines were symbols of Taiwan's political links to Beijing that Mr. Chen had once vowed to preserve.

Mr. Hu said the move threatened stability in the Taiwan Strait and the region.

"We will continue to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification, but never tolerate the secession of Taiwan from the motherland," Mr. Hu said in remarks published by the official New China News Agency.

The Taiwanese government rejected the mainland's objections, repeating Mr. Chen's position that Taiwan was trying only to preserve a balance in its relations across the Taiwan Strait as China builds up its military forces facing the island.

"The criticism by China is groundless," said Joseph Wu, the chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, the Taiwan government agency that handles relations with Beijing. "What we are doing has nothing to do with changing the status quo."

But experts in China said the action had shaken Beijing's confidence that Mr. Chen's recent electoral setbacks and pressure from Washington would check his drive for formal independence. Beijing had hoped that the upset victory of the opposition Nationalist Party in local elections last year had stymied Taiwan's independence movement.

And many Chinese foreign policy experts expected that the Bush administration would do more than it had done to prevent Mr. Chen from trying to legalize Taiwan's de facto independence.

"The reality is that even under heavy American pressure, Chen Shui-bian is determined to provoke a big response from China," said Huang Jiashu, a Taiwan expert at People's University in Beijing.

"He pushes through this measure today and something else tomorrow," Mr. Huang said, adding that "you cannot rule out a confrontation before 2008," when Mr. Chen's second and final term ends.

Mr. Chen still faces an uphill struggle to achieve formal independence for Taiwan, the main goal of his core political constituency. His approval ratings have sunk below 30 percent in some recent polls. The Taiwan legislature, which would have to approve changes to the island's constitution, is controlled by the Nationalists, who favor more cordial ties with the mainland.

Moreover, the United States, Taiwan's only major military and political partner, has tried to check creeping moves toward independence. Washington needs China's help in managing pressing problems like the nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran, and seems determined to prevent Taiwan from undermining diplomatic ties to Beijing.

Even so, the scrapping of the unification council, which Mr. Chen first signaled in late January, was widely viewed in Beijing as a test of how successfully the United States could constrain Mr. Chen.

After a concerted diplomatic push by the Bush administration, Mr. Chen modified the wording of his order, saying the council would "cease to function" rather than be abolished, the term he had used in January. He also reiterated his pledge to maintain the status quo in cross-strait relations.

The pledge and the wording change appeared to reassure Washington. The State Department issued a statement on Monday noting Mr. Chen's decision not to abolish the council formally, suggesting that Washington considered that a significant concession.

But in Beijing's view, Mr. Chen effectively prevailed over Washington's objections.

"Although he did not use the term 'abolish' and changed the term to 'cease function,' this is merely a word game," China's Taiwan Affairs Office said. "Basically he is tricking the Taiwan people and international opinion."

Yan Xuetong, an international relations expert at Tsinghua University in Beijing, said Mr. Chen had shown that he could manage American pressure. Though Mr. Chen violated his onetime pledge to the United States to leave the unification council in place, he ended up winning tacit American support for his effort to terminate it, Mr. Yan said.

Mr. Huang of People's University gave the United States credit for forcing at least a nominal concession from Mr. Chen, but said China would probably look for President Bush to make a fresh commitment to oppose Taiwanese independence, perhaps during the planned visit of President Hu to Washington in April.

In Taiwan, some lawmakers argued that Mr. Chen's move was vital to preserving a balance in cross-strait relations. Hsiao Bi-khim, an influential lawmaker from Mr. Chen's governing Democratic Progressive Party, said Mr. Chen had been increasingly worried that China had been trying to gain the upper hand.

"He feels that you need to do something drastic to pull things back into balance," she said, adding that she did not expect any further initiatives on sovereignty issues..

Joseph Kahn reported from Beijing for this article, and Keith Bradsher from Taipei.

The Jade Phoenix Page
Meet Jade, and Her Lovers, Nick Malter and Ko-sa
Meet Syd Goldsmith
Meet Everybody in Syd's Novel

I'd Love to Have Your Feedback


Copyright 2005-2007  All rights reserved.                                                                A site