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Taiwan's National Unification Council disbanded

President Chen Shui-bian has announced that the National Unification Council will "cease operations" and no longer be funded. This despite US requests to maintain his pledge to maintain support for the organization and its Guildelines for National Unification. The Guidelines called for a three phased move toward reunification.

China has yet to make a statement following the announcement, although it is well known that the Chinese government is likely to see the move as a step toward an attempt at independence for Taiwan.

From the US perspective - our pragmatic policy of supporting Taiwan while not recognizing it as an independent nation, via the one-China policy, is likely to be tested in the coming months - particularly given Hu Jintao's April visit to Washington. As with many foreign policy positions, the US may now have to face how hamstrung we can be by our pragmatism and desire to maintain the status quo.

3 Comments

Marvin mis-states US policy: From the 1970s through the 1990s the American position has been that the US does not take a stance on the eventual status of Taiwan – unification or independence – but that it insists that a resolution has to be achieved peacefully.

However, in 1998, President Clinton made a unilateral and unwelcome about-face when he stated his “Three Noes”, one of which was “no support for Taiwan independence.”

The Bush Administration has regrettably perpetuated this line. In saying so, the US is taking a stance on Taiwan’s future in a direction that is at odds with the basic principles of democracy and self-determination. The US thus needs to refrain from that phraseology: it represents a fundamental bias in the US position.

Also, the constant reiteration of the "One China" policy is not helpful. That policy was devised more than 30 years ago in response to a situation in which two repressive regimes -- the Chinese Nationalists and Communists -- both claimed sovereignty as government of China.

There is now a new and democratic Taiwan, which deserves to be recognized internationally as a free and democratic nation.

Gerrit,

The one-China policy - as stated by former Sec. of State Powell - "[O]ur policy is clear, there is only one China. Taiwan is not independent. It does not enjoy sovereignty as a nation, and that remains our policy, our firm policy." Powell also went on record to support the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act.

The current Administration has not taken steps toward recognizing Taiwan - which is the pragmatic positioning I was referring to. The moral position is to support an independent Taiwan but our nation has yet to decided that such a course is worth the potential consequences.

Regardless of what the US position is, the fact is that there is no legally binding treaty by which Taiwan was transferred to China following World War II. According to international law, such a legally ratified treaty is required to transfer territory from one state to another. In the case of Taiwan, there is no such transfer.