I am relieved that President Trump respects the “One China” principle, which states that Mainland China and Taiwan are inseparable. President-elect Trump broke with convention participating in an unprecedented phone conversation with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and later made remarks to the American press regarding his doubts on the “One China” policy. Due to his actions, after the presidential inauguration many people have been closely watching what his position will be regrading Chinese relations.
When the U.S. Carter administration opened its embassy in Beijing in 1979, they broke off the alliance with Taiwan (Republic of China) and cut off diplomatic relations as well as the mutual defense treaty. They accepted the People’s Republic of China as the one, true government and in response China changed its stance on Taiwan from “liberation by military force” to “peaceful reunification.” The U.S. and China have agreed to handle Taiwan in this manner and all U.S. administrations since have continued carrying out the “One China” policy.
After this acceptance of the One China policy, even while expressing hopes for the unification of China and Taiwan, America established its Taiwan Relations Act involving the provision of defensive weaponry to Taiwan and has continued to take a position of involvement in the national security of Taiwan. Naturally, the Taiwan Relations Act does not promote the “independence” of Taiwan, and merely has the goal of preserving the status quo of Taiwan’s cross-straight relations. It has been reassuring that the stance of the U.S. has continued with the path set forth by the Carter administration.
However, the reality is that there is an enormous gap between China and Taiwan. Firstly, is it seen as a friend on a citizen level? According to a recently conducted public opinion survey, Taiwan is seen as the “36th Friendliest Nation”, with China lagging behind in 129th place. Incidentally, the three most unfriendly nations were the usual cast, North Korea, Iran, and Syria.
In addition, if one looks at history, there has been a continuing rivalry between China’s Communist Party and Taiwan’s Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party) since before the Chinese Civil War, when in the “Republic of China” era the Communist Party and the Kuomintang battled in Mainland China. The Civil War had two stages, the first lasting from 1927 to 1937 and the second starting in 1945. These two parties have never entered into an agreement to end the war and actual unification is far from becoming reality. The actual reality is “One China, One Taiwan.”
Moreover, until October of 1971 the national representative of “China” participating as a member of the United Nations was the Kuomintang’s “Republic of China” that fought as a member of the Allies in the Second Sino-Japanese War, not the People’s Republic of China that was created out of the defeat of the Kuomintang. The Communist Party of China was not a victim of the Second World War. To be precise, during the war, control was held by the Kuomintang, which is currently in Taiwan and the Communist Party that currently holds control of China is not the true victim.
China seems to be continuing to roll out Anti-Japanese propaganda concerning the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Nanking Massacre, and the Second World War from over 70 years in the past. This, against neighboring Japan, the most important ally of America in Asia. So is it not the current Taiwan that can be called the true victims? And with some online research, it is not hard to find numerous pieces of information with opinions floating about that China fabricated the photographic evidence for the Nanking Massacre. Creating historical photographs in a self-serving manner can only add to the reputation as the “land of fakes.”