Saturday, February 19, 2005

Issues And Answers: China And Taiwan

For better than 50 years, China and Taiwan have shared a common disdain for each other. Since the Nationalists fled to the island then known as Formosa, the two have been at odds over the status of said island and today things aren't much different. China considers Taiwan a renegade province and they are not likely reverse that stance, ever. On the other side of the coin, Taiwan still considers itself the legitimate government of the mainland, in exile.

After the return of Hong Kong, China enjoyed an economic boom (after an early rocky start). Although corruption remains in the Chinese bureaucracy, the economy is producing and selling well and is producing more revenue for the government; that means more for military expenditures. These military expenditures are going for an eventual invasion of Taiwan, to return sovereignty of the island and its booming economy back under Beijing control. They will not be swayed.

I can't say what is right or what is wrong here. In the People's Republic, many things have certainly changed, since the revolution. They have the same old tired undemocratic government structure, but they have done well in converting from a socialist agrarian economy to a vibrant free market economy. Bringing Taiwan back into the fold, would strengthen them even further. More military might in China, could be a problem down the road.

On the other hand, there is Taiwan. They want none of it. They built their country without mainland help and they see not need to pay taxes to Beijing, much less allow themselves to be governed by what they still consider the illegitmate government. That's a valid argument, but these people are still Chinese and Chinese people generally come from China.

But something will soon need to give. China is growing impatient. Since it is apparent that the UN is more concerned with bad-mouthing America, I believe that President Bush should help start talks between both parties. Sooner is better than later.

In return, China must promise to not invade and must listen and address the concerns that the Taiwanese have concerning reunification. Taiwan must come with an open mind, also. Both must speak to each other and listen to each other. It won't be easy, it won't be fast. But talking will ease some tensions and hopefully, solve the problem through diplomacy instead of military conflict.

It is certainly worth a try.


Chip said...

China seems like the bull in the, ahem, china shop in this case. When the Taiwanese suggest independence, even a whisper, the Chinese become very bellicose.

The Chinese military buildup is all geared towards sinking U.S. surface ships and taking Taiwan.

I certainly hope this can be resolved peacefully. In the meantime, Taiwan needs to develop its military deterrent force as quickly as possible. Otherwise, Taiwan will be in no position to negotiate from strength.

Hopefully, economics will militate for a peaceful solution. The U.S. has a huge economic lever on the Chinese.

LASunsett said...

I agree with your assessment. But with all of the other pressing issues in the world, I wish China and Taiwan would just sit down and talk about it. They are light years apart, but starting a dialogue can and will help them break down some barriers.

As it stands now, they refuse to even recognize the other exists, in their present forms. A 50+ year grudge is long enough. It won't be easy and I would reasonably expect that they will leave the negotiating table mad at times, but it is a start.