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March 07, 2005


Brian H

A bit more editing to do: "arms band"; surely not a marching band?!? They should ban those guys from carrying arms.

I doubt anyone can properly anticipate how China will go. It's hard to draw any meaningful historical parallels, in any event.


Thank you for your comment Brian. I have corrected the "error".

M. Simon

I think in the long run the one China policy is correct.

The question is then which is the tail and which is the head.

When Bush says he favors the one China policy I do not think he means the same thing the mainland does.


In the long run we're all dead. The problem is the mainland Chinese public if anything feel more strongly on this than the Government. The risk is public opinion forces the mainland into ever more strident positions, while the currently ruling pro-independence movement in Taiwan dominate. Luckily domestic political constraints are reigning in the more aggressive Taiwan independence group. Unfortunately this is a case where status quo is the best option but also against the most unstable.


With that in mind, that this issue is far more pressing for the mainland Chinese, is it possible that the anti-secession bill is meant also for "domestic" consumption?

Say another even like 1989 begins to emerge in China. Would it be inconceivable that China would provoke a crisis with Taiwan?

I always think of it as the other way around, with Taiwan provoking China to action by breaking the "One China" policy.


Simon: "The risk is public opinion forces the mainland into ever more strident positions" Of course that holds for Taiwan too - Chen Shui Bian is facing quite a bit of pressure from the more 'pro-independence' side for his current position. I think public opinion is changing faster in Taiwan than in the mainland - and of course the Taiwanese government is more answerable to the public than China.

Bill: Taiwan 'broke' the One China policy a while ago (~6-7 years ago?), which is why the two sides aren't even talking at the moment.

On the general issue of US-China relations, I think there are always going to be political issues between the two (whether it be Human Rights, Taiwan, Syria, whatever), but thay shouldn't affect economic relations. If Taiwan and China can trade happily, there's no reason why prickly relations between US & China should have any economic impact. Sure, the Taiwan issue could explode at any moment - but that's been the case for the last 50 years.


David, it's true but as you know recently Chen has been forced to moderate in seeking a partnership with the PFP. Public opinion in Taiwan is changing faster, because public opinion isn't changing in China at all - they want Taiwan "back". On this issue I think should the crisis come it will not be from the Taiwan side. America has made it perfectly clear they will not back Taiwan if they are the ones to upset the balance. On the other side should China be the aggressor the provocation would need to be severe enough for the Mainland to jepordise the economic links and the condemnation or worse from the rest of the world. The PLA's planning for invasion of Taiwan revolves around a rapid takeover before the Americans can arrive, while Taiwan's defence revolves around holding off until America arrives. Public opinions count for something, but America is still the key player in the middle.


Simon, that's sort of my point - Chen is moderating his position because of public opinion (i.e. recent elections), if public opinion changes (in either direction) then the presidents position will also change. Internal politics is everything in Taiwan: of course US & China policy affect public opinion, but it's a secondary effect.

I don't expect sudden change in Taiwanese opinion, but consider this example: it's conceivable that for the next election the KMT will have to drop their adherence to 'One China' if they want to stand a chance of winning. What would Chinas reaction to that be? The pro-China party not even being able to meet minimum Chinese requirements for talks would be considered a serious problem for the PRC.

It's not a question of "Will Taiwan do something stupid?" (they won't) but more "Will Taiwan drift further and further away until the PRC feels it has to do something?" (they could: especially if the PRC keeps alienating the public with stuff like the anti-secession law)


Pre 9/11 2001, President Bush
refered to China as a "strategic
competitor". The choice of Condi Rice with her Soviet Union scholarship may well represent what this administration is closely following - China's creating allies in the Sudan, with Chavez, etc -- not much difference from the Soviet expansion, and there are certainly enough old Lefties in
certain countries which are unstable BECAUSE OF THE OLD LEFTIES. Could it be the North
Korean problems and the Taiwan issue are kept in forefront so we
pay less attention to what is really going on "strategically".

Perhaps that is why John Bolton is being moved to UN where he will be able to watch more global interactions.
Then again, perhaps I have just spent too much of my adult life reading the great spy and cold war novels.

dan bloom

Simon, you are totally WRONG, sir.

QUOTE: "The problem is China sees Taiwan as an inalienable part of its territory. It's rather like the state of Texas declaring itself independent, or more relevantly today like the Quebec/Canada issue.

It's hard for outsiders to understand the depth of feeling in the issue."

Taiwan is not like Texas declaring itself independent of the USA. Taiwan was never never repeat never a province of China. Never. So how can a place that was never part of China want to separate from China? taiwan is already its own place. Now what to call it, nation, island, country, selfgovering island, we need to talk about that. but do not use China commie propaganda on us, Simon, you know better than that! Taiwan is not a renegade province of China. The island was once territory of China, yes, and then in 1895 China ceded the island to Japan and then in 1945 Chiang Kai shek on taiwan island accepted the defeat of the Japanese forces in taiwan, but Japan did not cede Taiwan back to CHina. No no no. Simon start reading your history, sir. Don't be a parrot for China commies. This is the real world. or are they paying you there?

Bill, don't listen to Simon, he has no idea what he is talking about..... SMILE



Why is it that history is such a fraught subject in Asia, far more than anywhere else. In the comments to another post on Taiwan one commenter clearly explains the history of Taiwan. As far back as the Qing Taiwan was a part of China. In more recent history you are correct that Japan never ceded Taiwan to Japan, and that the Nationalists declared victory. The Nationalists were defeated on the Mainland but held on to Taiwan. Are you trying to tell me that the Nationalists aim was to give up on the Mainland and just hold on to Taiwan, because they are two seperate countries/entities/states?

I'm clearly not a Commie shill. I hope I'm able to largely seperate propoganda and fact. Dan, I hope you can do the same. Taiwan has been de facto independent of the Mainland since 1949, but rarely if ever has it been independent in its own right.

dan bloom

Right. I was just kidding you, I know you are no commie shill.
You are right, taiwan has never been independent in its own right. it is in what they call cession limbo. it actually belongs to the USA military still. see Richard hartzell's very good essay in today's www.taipeitimes.com on the editorial page.
But Taiwan has never been a province of Commie China. Period. No ands ifs or buts. It was once a territory of China, yes, long before the PRC ever existed, and it was also once a territory of Japan, Holland and Spain. It is now a territory of the USA, if hartzell is to be believed. The main thing is that taiwan has never been a province of China.
All good and decent people everywhere, and that includes you, Simon, must resist the propaganda and mindcontrol and brainwashing of the Chinese communists. They are sick, sad people. The commies. The real Chinese people are great. Someday day they will get rid of their soviet style overlords and be a free people. that is what you must work for, Simon.

But the Texas analogy was wrong. However, since you have never visited the Alamo, you are excused. SMILE



Hartzell's analysis is correct. Taiwan is an overseas territory of the USA. You need a very good knowledge of military occupation and military goverment to follow the analysis. There are a number of good essays on the taiwanadvice website which explain the details.


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