Shifting Paradigms in US, China and Taiwan Relations
Edited by Peter C.Y. Chow
Chapter 6: Taiwan’s Choices
Nat Bellocchi I have been asked to write about three choices that Taiwan faces in resolving the diﬀerences over Taiwan’s sovereignty – status quo, independence, and uniﬁcation. I am grateful to Peter Chow for trying to narrow my chapter to Taiwan’s choices, though the choices just are not a unilateral matter. First there is the diﬀerence in the background of the three major players in cross-Strait relations. China has gone through several iterations in trying to settle its claim to sovereignty over Taiwan – ﬁrst, liberation through force; then an established principle for uniﬁcation; then Deng Xiao Ping’s one country, two systems; and now a principle of no independence. But its fundamental position – one China ruled by Beijing within which Taiwan is a part – has remained the same. Taiwan has gone through fundamental political changes, from advocating an invasion of the Mainland by the ROC, claiming it represents all of China, to accepting eventual uniﬁcation with China but only under certain conditions, to an insistence that the people of Taiwan must decide on any of the three options – uniﬁcation independence or status quo. America recognized the ROC when it was established in 1911. In 1979 the US switched to recognizing the PRC, but insisted Taiwan’s position should be determined by negotiation between the two sides of the Strait, peacefully. America’s present policy is insisting on maintaining the status quo, although there is a lack of agreement among the three countries on what that means. We should...
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