Only the democratically elected government of Taiwan has the right to represent the 23.5 million Taiwanese people, and the time has come to give them a voice on the international stage.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) brought its aggression against Taiwan to new heights last month, with serious consequences for the Indo-Pacific region. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) visit to Taiwan was met with unprecedented, large-scale joint military drills by the PRC. In a blatant attempt to unilaterally upend the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, China disrupted air and sea routes critical to the regional economy and fired missiles over our island and into nearby waters. This campaign of aggression must be understood as part of a struggle between democracy and authoritarianism—a struggle the United Nations (UN) cannot afford to sidestep. China’s military exercises were a clear violation of the UN charter, which states that international disputes are to be resolved through peaceful means. But perhaps even more damaging is their longtime legal war against Taiwan within the UN. Seeking to enforce its propaganda on international society, China has exerted undue influence behind the scenes, effectively barring Taiwan’s participation in the UN and its specialized agencies. For far too long, Taiwanese experts, journalists, and students have been denied access to UN gatherings, such as this month’s General Assembly in New York City. Even tourists with Taiwanese IDs have been unjustly prevented from visiting any UN premises around the world. While unfair to Taiwan, the consequences of our exclusion are even greater. Taiwan has a strong record of being a responsible stakeholder in the international community and a reliable partner on issues of global concern, including in such high-stakes areas as supply chain security, climate change, and the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Indeed, Taiwan prides itself on being a force for good in the world, and we have much to contribute. All we need is the opportunity. Unfortunately, from the World Health Organization’s fight to contain the Covid-19 pandemic to the International Civil Aviation Organization’s mission to ensure global aviation safety, Taiwan’s exclusion has also meant that the world is denied the opportunity to benefit from our expertise. This nefarious state of affairs was brought about by the PRC’s intentional conflation of UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 with their so-called “One China principle,” which falsely asserts that Taiwan is part of the PRC. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Resolution 2758 doesn’t mention Taiwan even once. The 1971 document merely decided upon the question of who represents the UN member state “China,” without endorsing the PRC’s claims of sovereignty over Taiwan or who should represent Taiwan in the UN. The ironclad reality is that Taiwan has never been a part of the PRC. It is long past time that international institutions like the UN acknowledged this reality.
The Lee-Abe-Tsai-Biden bottom lines are: The magical ‘cross-strait status quo’ is that Taiwan has (praise the Buddha) never been a part of the ‘People’s’ Republic of China. Taiwan Republic’s future is based on the democratic sovereignty of its twenty-three million Taiwanese citizens. (Not Taiwan’s business, but the world ought to ask, on what basis do the Chinese communists claim legitimacy to oppress its one billion subjects?)(Or is asking such a commonsensical question going to require smelling salt for American academia and think tanks? ….) And a Chinese communist war of annexation against Taiwan is an international violation that will be met with a devastating military-economic-diplomatic war of resistance from the Free World.
Global studies-world history pro-tip: power, broadly defined, determines everything in world affairs. Whether communist China will annex democratic Taiwan will ultimately be determined by how much total power the US, its democratic allies, and Taiwan Republic are willing to bring to bear. Still, if you follow this stuff as obsessively as I do, notice this. From the President of the United States of America on down to every cabinet member to generals and admirals to Japan and other democratic allies, for the last two years, the free world is demarcating a political-diplomatic “boundary” from which the China CCP and the China KMT may not define a communist Chinese invasion of Taiwan as an “internal affair.” I hate what’s happened to occupied Tibet, occupied East Turkestan, Tiananmen, Hong Kong — former two are Chinese imperialism foreign invasions but the world dropped the ball; the latter two are sadly domestic affairs. An additional historical context. For decades the first voice to denounce a Taiwanese ambassador in DC writing such an article in public would be the US State Department — in a bipartisan fashion by the way. So to see coordinated efforts, US, Japan, EU, and the Taiwanese ambassador adding to this effort with US assent/coordination — The Lee-Abe-Tsai Indo Pacific coming into reality, with the democratic west about two decades late to the party — but, better late than never. All remarkable. Let’s hope all of this is in time to deter-prevent a foolish Chinese communist war of annexation. 26.9.2022
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