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A Preliminary Analysis of Mainland China's "One China Strategy" 2. Mainland China's Political Strategies in Recent Years

  • Date:1997-02-28

In order to realize its goal of annexing Taiwan, Penghu (the Pescadores), Kinmen and Matsu, Mainland China's Taiwan policy changed from "liberating Taiwan" in the early stage to "peaceful unification" and "one China, two systems" at the current stage. Its insistence on interpreting "one China" as meaning "the People's Republic of China, the sole legitimate government representing the whole of China," manifests its ultimate goal of categorically denying the existence of the Republic of China. Its three working strategies toward Taiwan at the present stage can be summarized as follows:

1. Restricting Our Diplomatic Space in the World

Beginning with President Lee's visit to the United States as a Cornell alumnus and Premier Lien Chan's visit to Europe, Mainland China, in an effort to block every move in our pragmatic diplomacy, threatened to roll back its relations with Washington in an attempt to compel the United States to pull back from its current relations with Taiwan, in order to undermine our principal springboard for reaching into the international community. On cross-strait relations, the mainland authorities moved on two fronts: stalling the second round of Koo-Wang talks and dialogues at all levels between the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS)on one hand, and conducting smear-campaign/saber -rattling via media attacks and missile tests on the other hand. Their objective is clearly to prevent us from expanding our international relations through pragmatic diplomacy and, at the same time, to undermine our national solidarity by sowing discord and to interfere in our presidential election.

Such a strategy, creating pressures at the international level as well as in cross-strait relations, can be seen as attempting to prevent us from making any further political progress in terms of cross-strait or international relations. And in the event the strategy succeeds in wringing concessions from us, an inch of retreat on our part is an inch gained by the other side.

2. Use of "One China" as Weapon

After we introduced pragmatic diplomacy, it was attacked by Mainland China and ran into a series of its counteractions. In our country, despite debates on the priority of foreign relations vs mainland relations, the pursuit of a broader international presence represents the consensus of our people. Over the past year, Mainland China has used the pretext that our pragmatic diplomacy is in essence creating "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan", and accused us of departing from the "one China" policy. They dumped all the blame on President Lee, trying to create confusion in public opinion and conduct political blackmail.

Pragmatic diplomacy is a product of certain factors, not necessarily in conflict with our Mainland policy. It was mapped out because the Republic of China, considering its domestic and external environment, needs it to sustain the development of the nation. Like our Mainland policy, pragmatic diplomacy is designed to safeguard national survival and the well-being of our 21.3 million people. It is the position of our government never to make any contradictory policies, which may offset each other and bring their effects to naught.

Actually, the diplomatic struggle between the two sides did not start as late as June 1995. To attribute the worsening of cross-strait relations -- relations that have existed for almost 50 years -- to some of President Lee's recent remarks, some taken out of context or deliberately distorted, is intended to mislead people on the issue. Any believer in this misinformation shows a lack of rationality and objectivity. However, Mainland China has persisted in its stance and, by taking advantage of structural conflicts between the two sides and our internal weaknesses, in its attempt to force us into concessions in principles.

3. Forging a Fait Accompli That Mainland China Represents the Whole of China

Mainland China has deliberately misled the world into believing its version of "one China." Although most countries understand the reality that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to separate and distinct jurisdictions, they invariably give in, out of concern for their own interests, by accepting Mainland China's claim that "the People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing the whole of China."

Most countries did not openly oppose Mainland China's definition of "one China." However, they have resorted to using various vague diplomatic language, such as "acknowledge," "respect," or "understand, " in official papers in response to Mainland China's insistence, tactfully avoiding the word "recognize," which Mainland China prefers.

In fact, most people could not really grasp the essence of "one China." If we were forced to accept the "one China" term without distinguishing its content, Mainland China certainly would juxtapose it with "acknowledge," "respect," or "understand," and tell the world that we also have accepted the term as they defined it. Furthermore, they can then put this into their international agreements, thereby forging a fait accompli that the "People's Republic of China represents the whole of China indeed".