Existence or Independence? Taiwan's choice

Our correspondent Andrey Krushinsky reports from China Taiwan has recently survived a series of civil and military air crashes, several earthquakes, and hurricanes. However, there is another "disaster" waiting for Taiwan.

Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian made the most separatist-laden speech of 50 years last Saturday in Tokyo. Chen claimed that Taiwan was not a part of China. In addition, he claimed that Taiwan and mainland China are not just two sides of the Taiwanese gulf (according to Beijing’s terminology), but they are “two countries.” He also added that Taiwan has its own path to folow and will not acknowlege its obligation not to conduct a referendum on Taiwan's independence.

Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek was unacceptable for China as head of Taiwan. Chiang Kai-shek spent his entire life fighting against communists, and he was dreamt of taking revenge returning to Beijing. Chen Shui-bian is quite an opposite figure: he is a democrat, who agreed to be on friendly terms with Red China. Taiwan's first person(although he was an enemy) did not separate from China de jure; he insisted on a single China, calling himself a “legal representative.” The Chinese administration were ready to allow such a status quo, delaying the reunion for the future. De jure was more important for them than de facto.

Taiwan has been de facto existing independent from China for over 50 years already. Taiwan has its own army, its own foreign ministry, and rather a successful economy (built up on American investment). However, the UN and the majority of the countries of the world de jure support the formula of “one China,” which rejects any speculative international and legal situations, such as the existence of “two Chinas” or “one China and one Taiwan.” Beijing believes that the reunion will eventually happen on the principles that have already been used in Hong Kong and Macao. So far, Beijing is ready to make up with other countries of the world having economic, cultural, and even political relations with Taiwan (adding the word “unofficial” to all of those adjectives). The only unacceptable thing is the legitimacy of the separation.

The Americans and the French have loaded Taiwan with many weapons, and the island is ahead of the mainland in several respects. However, both China and Taiwan have proven that they were devoted to the principle of “one China." Beijing patiently waiting. Chen Shui-bian’s impudence tries China's patience at the moment.

What are the roots of this impudence? Why is Chen unhappy about the current status quo, as the “two shores” are improving their business cooperation to rescue the Taiwanese economy? It seems that there are two reasons. First of all, it is the success of the cooperation. This cooperation has achieved a huge success, despite the political impediments on the part of the Taibei. It would be enough to notice that the volume of the Taiwanese investments in the “mainland” reached a point of $70 billion! The “mainland” has just taken the first position in the Taiwanese ratings on the volume of commodity circulation, having ousted the USA.

It is not ruled out that Chen Shui-bian was concerned that further “economic encapsulation” of Taiwan will eventually find Taiwan in a similar position as Hong Kong or Macao.

Secondly, Chen Shui-bian’s spirit could be inspired by George W. Bush’s bellicosity. However, it did not occur to Chen for some reason that they day that Bush starts his anti-Iraqi aggression can be used for establishing law and order in Taiwan. Chen’s confessions on Saturday led to criticism by the most influential Taiwanese statesmen and to sudden reduction of quotations on the Taibei Exchange.

Andrey Krushinsky PRAVDA.Ru Beijing

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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