Recently there have been some voices in Israel that make misinterpretations and erroneous comments on Taiwan. I find it my responsibility to present to our Israeli friends, with pleasure, the historical facts of “the Taiwan question.”
First, Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. One must know China’s history before s/he gets to understand the Taiwan question. The Chinese people’s early development of Taiwan was recorded in ancient Chinese books written 1,700 years ago. In the mid-12th century, China established administrative institutions in Taiwan and had stationed troops guarding the place. In 1885, Taiwan was declared a province by the Qing dynasty. Later, Japan stole Taiwan after the First Sino-Japanese War that broke out in 1894. In 1931, the Chinese people began the 14-year-long War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, which was also part of the World Anti-Fascist War. On December 1, 1943, China, the US and the UK signed the Cairo Declaration.
As the declaration states, it is the three countries’ purpose that “Japan shall be stripped of all the islands in the Pacific which she has seized or occupied since the beginning of the first World War in 1914, and that all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa (Taiwan), and The Pescadores, shall be restored to China.” The Potsdam Proclamation signed in 1945 reaffirmed that “the terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out.”
In the same year, Taiwan returned to the motherland as the Chinese people achieved the victory of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. But shortly after that, due to the civil war and foreign interference, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait encountered political discord, a special status that has been lasting for the ensuing 70 years. However, the fact that Taiwan and China’s mainland belong to one and the same China has not changed and will never change. Taiwan, as an inalienable part of Chinese territory, has never been and will never be a country.
Second, the one-China principle is a shared consensus of the international community. Upholding the one-China principle is a universally recognized norm governing international relations, a shared understanding of the international community, and a political basis for China to develop relations with all countries including Israel. On October 25, 1971, Resolution 2758 was adopted by an overwhelming majority at the 26th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The resolution restored the lawful seat of the People’s Republic of China in the UN and expelled forthwith the representatives of the then Taiwan authorities from the place which they unlawfully occupied at the UN and in all the UN organizations.
In the China-US Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations issued in December 1978, the US “recognizes the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China,” and “acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China.” In accordance with international law and the one-China principle, all the 180 countries having diplomatic ties with China reached Taiwan-related official agreements or understandings with the Chinese government, in which they pledged to maintain only unofficial relations with Taiwan. The false claim of “the Chinese government pressures other countries not to acknowledge Taiwan independence” just exposes some people’s ignorance and distortion of the Taiwan question.
Third, the rhetoric of “China’s military coercion against Taiwan” is baseless. As tensions across the Taiwan Strait are rising, the root cause lies in the provocation of “Taiwan independence” by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities and Taiwan separatist elements in collusion with foreign forces. Peaceful reunification is the common aspiration of people on both sides of the strait. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese government has been making unremitting efforts to address the Taiwan question. The two sides reached the 1992 Consensus that “both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one China and will work together toward national reunification.”
We will work with the greatest sincerity and exert utmost efforts to achieve peaceful reunification but will leave no room for any “Taiwan independence” separatist activities. By making no promise to renounce the use of force and reserving the option of taking all necessary measures, we aim to guard against external interference and a tiny number of separatists and their separatist activities for “Taiwan independence,” not to target our compatriots in Taiwan. How come the criticism of “military coercion?”
Fourth, the accusation that China squeezes Taiwan’s “international space” is preposterous. Some people are falsely accusing the Chinese government of squeezing Taiwan’s “international space,” and some politicians are clamoring for “Taiwan’s admission” to the United Nations. These moves constitute a flagrant challenge to the one-China principle and a blatant violation of the UNGA Resolution 2758. We firmly reject such “Taiwan independence” rhetoric. The Chinese government has a clear and consistent position on the Taiwan region’s participation in international organizations, which must be in accordance with the one-China principle. It is also an important principle enshrined in UNGA Resolution 2758.
THE UN is an international organization composed of sovereign states. As a province of China, Taiwan is not at all qualified to join the UN or any other international organization that only admits sovereign states to their membership. Being fondly mindful of the interests and well-being of compatriots in Taiwan, the Chinese government allows Taiwan, under the one-China principle, to participate in international organizations in ways we agree and accept, such as its accession to the WTO and APEC under the title of “Chinese Taipei,” which fully guaranteed the space of economic and cultural exchanges between people in Taiwan and the rest of the world.
By making the politically motivated move of asking for “international living space,” the Taiwan authorities are in fact pursuing “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan,” and trying to secede Taiwan from China. Such separatist attempts are intolerable to any government in the world. We believe China’s just cause – to uphold national sovereignty and territorial integrity, to oppose secession and to achieve reunification – will continue to win understanding and support from the UN and its member states.
Fifth, the reunification of both sides of the Taiwan Strait is an unstoppable historic trend. Achieving national reunification is the common aspiration of all Chinese at home and abroad. Days ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the commemorative meeting marking the 110th anniversary of the Revolution of 1911 that ended the thousands-year-long absolute monarchy in the country. In his speech, President Xi emphasized that the Taiwan question arose out of the weakness and chaos of our nation, and it will be resolved as national rejuvenation becomes a reality. This is determined by the general trend of Chinese history, but more importantly, it is the common will of all Chinese people.
NATIONAL REUNIFICATION by peaceful means best serves the interests of the Chinese nation as a whole, including our compatriots in Taiwan. We will adhere to the basic policies of peaceful reunification and One Country, Two Systems, uphold the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus, and work for the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations. Secession aimed at “Taiwan independence” is the greatest obstacle to national reunification and a grave danger to national rejuvenation. The Taiwan question is purely an internal matter for China, one that brooks no external interference. No one should underestimate the resolve, the will, and the ability of the Chinese people to defend our national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The Taiwan question concerns China’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and core interests, and bears on the national sentiments of all 1.4 billion Chinese people. Taiwan belongs to all Chinese including our 23 million compatriots, and the future of Taiwan should be jointly determined by all Chinese people. We highly appreciate that the Israeli government has been committed to the one-China principle, and hope our Israeli friends could get an accurate picture of the Taiwan question, understand and support China’s national reunification, and avoid being used by “Taiwan independence” separatists and anti-China forces that have malicious intentions.
The writer serves as interim chargé d’affaires at China’s Embassy in Israel.