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Taiwan

In: Historical Events

Submitted By parthivK
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Taiwan Independence

China and Taiwan have been confused of their identity or lack over for over two hundred years now. The two countries are so very different yet share the same past and if one country is not careful, the same future. Taiwan is a tiny democratic island located off the shore of China in the East China Sea. China, on the other hand, is a very large and strong communist country that Taiwan is working to break free from. Taiwan's struggle for independence from China has attracted the U.S.'s attention, but all the U.S. has done has put its figurative foot in its mouth. Now the U.S. is caught in a struggle that pins China against Taiwan to gain land for economic growth.
Taiwan's history really begins in the 15th century when the Dutch brought slaves to work as migrant workers. Dutch arrived only to find aborigine people and no sign of any structure of the Chinese Imperial Government, so this meant that Taiwan was not part of China at that time. The slaves that where brought over were Chinese and when they were made to wed the aborigine women a new race was born: the Taiwanese. Taiwan then endured close to two hundred years of loose freedom with the immigration of coastal people from China increasing. These people that fled China were fleeing wars and famine on the communist coastal area. The freedom that Taiwan possessed was taken to the limit when, in 1870, the Taiwanese pirates captured American, Japanese, and French ships passing the island (Taiwan's History 3). After the pirates raided these countries for the last time, they took their problems to the Chinese government but Manchu stated that: "Taiwan is beyond our territory. Disgusted with China's disregard to their claims, France sent a fleet to the island and seized control of the northern part of Taiwan for nine months (1884-1885). It was not until 1887 that China finally realized that Taiwan should be a part of Imperial China. Japan's added interest to the tiny island made China weary due to their want to expand to the south. China finally declared Taiwan as a "province  of their Empire. In China's mind, this was only a strategic move to outmanoeuvre Japan in their expansion. China and Taiwan were now one, but that union did not last for more than eight years because Japan still wanted to expand and still wanted Taiwan. Japan's want to still expand led to the Sino-Japanese War in which Japan defeated that Manchu. Treaty of Shimonoseki was made in which Article 2 states that China would cede to Japan in perpetuity and full sovereignty the island of Formosa, together with all islands appertaining or belonging to the said island of Formosa.
This new change in leadership encouraged unhappiness and forced the Taiwanese to seek help from the disenchanted Manchu officials to make the first independent Republic in Asia. The Taiwan Republic was a great but short-lived movement because only a few days after they declared their independence Japanese military forces moved into Taiwan to crush the movement. Finally, a few months after invading Taiwan the Japanese forced stormed Tainan, The southern capital of Taiwan, and finally put an end to Taiwan's first great stand for their independence. Following the invasion of Japan, the Taiwanese people were bitter towards their new government, but they could not deny them. The conditions imposed by Japan on China led to the Triple Intervention of Russia, France, and Germany, western powers all active in China, with established enclaves and ports, just six days after its signing. They demanded that Japan withdraw its claim on the Liaodong peninsula, concerned that Lüshun, then called Port Arthur by Westerners, would fall under Japanese control.
Under threat of war from three Western political powers, in November 1895, Japan — a weaker emerging nation not yet perceived as even a regional power — receded control of the territory and withdrew its claim on the Liaotung peninsula in return for an increased war indemnity from China of 30 million Tale’s. In Taiwan, pro-Qing officials and elements of the local gentry declared a Republic of Formosa in 1895, but failed to win international recognition.
In 1949, Chiang Kai-shek's defeated Kuomintang and fled to Taiwan with Mao Zedong's Red Army in hot pursuit. Taiwan was regarded by the United States of America as being of no strategic significance and seemed destined to be taken over by the Chinese Communist Party.
However, with the outbreak of the Korean War on 25 June 1950, Taiwan became ˜an important anchor in a US defensive chain'. During that period, US Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles claimed that the collapse of Chiang Kai-shek's Government of Taiwan would jeopardize America's offshore defences.
Over the next two decades, Taiwan became an American fortress. It promoted itself as the Republic of China representing all of China, including the mainland, and was formally recognised as such by the US and its allies, such as Japan and Australia. Taiwan's post war take-off was supported by US economic aids, preferential market access, technology transfers and training in capitalist ways. On the other hand, US government guarantees to helped secure Taiwan's status as an independent island state. Since then, the People's Republic of China on the mainland and the Republic of China on Taiwan challenged each other physically and diplomatically for the title of being the only legal government representing all of China.
By July 1971, the US quest to untangle itself from Indochina and outflank a rising Soviet Union led to a breakthrough in Sino-US (between China and US) relations. In the Shanghai Joint Communiqué’s of 27 February 1972, the US declared that it did not challenge the claim by all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain that there was one China. It also reaffirmed its interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question. US maintained diplomatic relations and has signed a treaty with People Republic of China stated that they will remove all American forces from Taiwan; abrogation of the Mutual Defence Treaty with the Republic of China (Taiwan); and the end of all official governmental ties with Taiwan, only that People Republic of China obey the terms and policy.
A strong majority views Taiwan as being more like an independent country than as part of China, and feels that any reunification should be voluntary. The majority supports Taiwan becoming a member of international organisation such as the United Nations (UN). If Taiwan were to take steps toward independence a majority would not want the US to oppose it, but the majority is opposed to selling advanced arms to Taiwan and favours a low key or cooperative approach to China on this issue. If China were to threaten or use military force against Taiwan there would not be majority support for using US military force to protect Taiwan. However, majority would want the US to intervene in this issue if China takes threatening action against Taiwan.
Secondly, China sees reunification with Taiwan as a matter of ˜supreme national interest' for which it claims it is prepared to fight ‘at any cost'. Beijing's most recent and authoritative statement on the subject declared that China might have experienced invasions, disunity and dynastic change during the last 5000 years but it always reverted to a unified state. This fixation on the cycle of Chinese history has made the recovery of Taiwan seem like a sacred mission. This is especially so after the return of Hong Kong in 1997 and Macao in 1999.
On August 31, 1993, the People's Republic of China issued a document titled, "The Taiwan Question and the Reunification of China." Circulating in seven languages, this diplomatic white paper manifested its intent and ambition of annexing Taiwan through its distortion of history, misconstruction of international law and treaties, and disregard for the will and welfare of the Taiwanese. Though less dogmatic and more pragmatic than before, the KMT's response remains ambiguous and problematic: the KMT still insists that the Communist regime cannot legitimately represent China, while emphasizing its own capability of resolving this "Chinese problem" eventually.
China released a paper that states that "Peaceful Unification" and "One Country, Two Systems" are the basic principles of its Taiwan policy. The paper lists four guidelines: one China, coexistence of two systems, extensive autonomy, and peaceful negotiation. China warns that the Taiwan question is a purely domestic issue and thus to be solved under the premise of "One China." It further pronounces that peaceful unification is a fixed policy of the Chinese government. However, this government will reserve the right to take all action necessary, including military action, to protect its territorial integrity and governing authority. As a note directed at foreign states, the paper delivers its intention to keep out foreign intervention. "The Chinese government is not obliged to any foreign country and makes no promise whatsoever." The paper further contends that the status quo, i.e. separation, is most unfortunate to the Chinese people; every Chinese yearns for this grievous separation to end.
China's address to the Taiwan issue is prevailingly inconsistent. On one hand, it acknowledges the rightful demand of the Taiwanese for the jurisdiction of self-rule; on the other hand, it refuses to see such jurisdiction as "independence."
Would China be able to retain its sovereignty were it not an independent country? How is it possible for the Taiwanese to have jurisdiction of self-rule, i.e. sovereignty, if Taiwan is not an independent nation? The paper delivers the gravest insult to Taiwanese by alleging that "Taiwan's independence movement is a sell-out to foreign countries that hope to see a divided China." It even forewarns that China will not simply sit and watch the occurrence of any action that may possible lead to Taiwan's independence. The right to pursue the founding of an independent country is an inalienable right that the Taiwanese are entitled to; all people with dignity deserve this right. By voicing its threat, China not only expounds its disrespect for moral courage in the international community but also reveals its disdain for human rights.
In conclusion, Taiwanese have the right to decide their own future. Any political party hoping to win support from the Taiwanese will have to identify with Taiwan, recognizing and sharing the common destiny of all the people on Taiwan. To terminate the tragedy of centuries of colonial rule, Taiwanese have to establish an independent country by their own effort with the help of the international community. Taiwan and China should share the belief that the two countries should normalize their relationship under the premises of mutual respect for each's sovereignty and territorial integrity, peaceful coexistence and mutual cooperation. Only till then, will there be peace and prosperity for the two peoples of the two countries.…...

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