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Society & Culture

China’s Sovereignty Is Fundamental to Taiwan Issue

Feb 08, 2016
  • Wu Zurong

    Research Fellow, China Foundation for Int'l Studies

With the landslide victory of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the election in Taiwan, China in January, people have become worried about possible tension in the region and deterioration of the cross-Strait relations. Such worries are natural as the DPP has not removed any references advocating Taiwan independence from its constitution, nor has it so far explicitly recognized the 1992 Consensus which embodies the one-China principle. Under such circumstances, it is particularly important to strictly observe the one-China principle when handling issues related to Taiwan and cross-Strait relations.

There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is part of China. Although the mainland and Taiwan are not yet reunited, the fact that the two sides belong to one and the same China has remained unchanged since 1949. This is the status quo of the cross-Strait relations.

As China’s constitution stipulates that Taiwan is an indispensable part of China, the Anti-Secession Law demonstrates the common will and firm determination of all Chinese people to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity and not allow the Taiwan independence forces to separate Taiwan from China in any name and in any form.

Therefore it is quite clear that the fatal problem of the so-called “Finland Option” for Taiwan is lack of respect for China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,and lack of understanding of China’s relevant laws and Chinese people’s rock-solid will to defend the country’s sovereignty. China’s sovereignty over Taiwan is not a long-standing “claim”. It means that both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one and the same China. China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity never allows division of the country. It should also be pointed out that the Taiwan issue is a problem left over from China’s civil war in the 1940s. It is an internal issue in China and no foreign states should get involved in its resolution; it is not appropriate to internationalize it by getting the United States, Japan or other countries involved.

In the last eight years or so, there has been very good peaceful development in cross-Strait relations. People from both sides of the Taiwan Strait have greatly benefitted from the growing exchanges and cooperation between the mainland and Taiwan. The current mission for the two sides is to start, as soon as possible, political talks and negotiations on concluding a peace agreement while continuing to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in various fields.

Another issue that has been a long-existing irritant in Sino-US relations is the US arms sales to Taiwan. It is hardly believable that the US-Taiwan $1.83 billion arms deal, approved on December 16 by the US State Department, aims to reduce cross-Strait tensions. First, it is well-known that US arms sales to Taiwan affects China’s sovereignty, and has all along been opposed by the Chinese government and people. In disregard of China’s strong opposition, the US arms deal has not only hurt Sino-US relations, but also cross-Strait relations. Second, the US arms deal reveals the US intentional involvement in China’s internal affairs. Cross-Strait relations are an internal affair of China, and the US should not obstinately continue to get involved in them, but let Chinese freely resolve their issues and differences by themselves. Third, the US has made the commitment that “it intends gradually to reduce its sale of arms to Taiwan, leading, over a period of time, to a final resolution”. The US acknowledges China’s consistent position regarding the thorough settlement of the issue, but for more than 30 years has still not set a specific date for “the final resolution”. Because its arms sales to Taiwan have increased several times after the commitment of reduction, the US’ credibility in international affairs has already been seriously questioned. Fourth, there has been no tension in the cross-Strait relations in the last seven years or more.

It sounds ridiculous to say that the arms deal aims to reduce tensions in cross-Strait relations. If the US intends to support the DPP before and after the election in Taiwan, the arms deal is an inappropriate tool, as possible tensions in the cross-Strait relations arise from activities of the Taiwan independence forces. When the DPP changes to recognize the “1992 Consensus” and the one-China principle, there will be no tensions in the cross-Strait relations. Then, what does the US want to achieve by arms sales to Taiwan? The answer is obvious and known to both Chinese and US scholars and other people.

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