0702: Ending the “One China Policy”, U.S.-Taiwan Trade Talks, Xi’s Pledge of “Complete Reunification”

The Beginning of the End of the “One China” Policy?

At an event which aired on June 28, Japanese State Minister of Defense, Yasuhide Nakayama, said future generations may question the decision of their countries, including Japan and the United States, to follow a “One China” policy that has recognized the People’s Republic of China over Taiwan since the 1970s.

Nakayama said that Japan and Taiwan are geographically close, and if something happened in Taiwan, it would affect Japan’s Okinawa prefecture, where U.S. forces and their families are based. He added that it was necessary to “wake up” to China’s growing threats and protect Taiwan “as a democratic country.”

Although the Japanese government has generally described Taiwan as a “region,” Nakayama was not the first Japanese official to refer to Taiwan as a “country.” For example, on June 9, the Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, listed Taiwan among three “countries” that had taken stricter measures to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Moreover, in mid-May, Germany’s Free Democratic Party (FDP) removed the “One China” policy from its campaign platform ahead of the upcoming general elections and announced its support for the right of the people of Taiwan to decide their own future.

While Beijing’s “One China Principle” claims that both mainland China and Taiwan are inalienable parts of a single “China,” the “One China Policy” on the other hand (as adhered to by the U.S., Japan, and many other countries) only “acknowledges,” “understands and respects,” or “takes note of” the Chinese position over Taiwan but does not “recognize” or “affirm” it.

FAPA holds that the “One China Principle” is not an accurate representation as Taiwan is simply not part of China, but an independent sovereign country. FAPA believes that the “One China Policy” confuses people into thinking that the world accepts the Chinese territorial claim over Taiwan and emboldens China to forcibly annex Taiwan.

FAPA President Minze Chien states: “It is highly encouraging to see the validity of the ‘One China Policy’ being questioned recently by the German FDP party and again by Japanese deputy defense minister. Hopefully this will mark a trend for other political parties and governments to emulate. Why? Because the U.S. and the rest of the world not only should discard the ‘One China Policy’ since it is part of the already failed ‘Engagement Policy’ toward China, but also should have zero tolerance for China’s bizarre and unfounded claim over Taiwan.”

[1] USNI News: https://news.usni.org/2021/06/28/taiwan-sovereignty-key-to-western-pacific-security-says-japanese-defense-official
[2] The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jun/29/china-blasts-japanese-ministers-sinister-remarks-about-taiwan
[3] Newsweek: https://www.newsweek.com/china-outraged-japanese-pm-calls-taiwan-country-1599276
[4] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2021/05/19/2003757661

Hopefully, U.S.-Taiwan Trade Talks Would Lay Foundation for FTA

After a five-year hiatus, the United States and Taiwan held bilateral trade talks virtually on June 30 under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) mechanism, with the two sides agreeing to hold more “working groups” and to discuss a number of topics, hopefully, to lay the foundation for negotiating a bilateral free trade agreement.

According to a statement issued by the U.S. Trade Representative Office (USTR), the two sides discussed the importance of secure and resilient supply chains, emphasizing “Taiwan’s role as a partner with the United States in reforming the multilateral trading system and expressed support for joint work to enhance critical supply chain security and resilience.”

In addition, both sides are committed to working together to address “outstanding trade concerns,” such as copyright legislation, financial services, investment and regulatory transparency, and notably, the U.S. beef and pork producers’ access to the Taiwan market. At the beginning of this year, Taiwan eased its longstanding ban on residues of the livestock drug ractopamine (which is widely used in the U.S.) in imported pork, in part, to engage the U.S. in trade negotiations.

The Taiwanese side said “We talked about strengthening U.S.-Taiwan supply chain cooperation from semiconductors to electric vehicles to vaccines.” Taiwan asked to be more involved in the Covid-19 vaccine supply chain, such as obtaining U.S. approval to manufacture U.S. vaccines. And Taiwan expressed hope that the talks would eventually lead to a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA). 

Meanwhile, on the eve of the U.S.-Taiwan trade talks, a bipartisan group of 42 U.S. Senators sent a joint letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, urging her to lay “the groundwork” for negotiation of a FTA, or other preliminary agreement, with Taiwan. They also called for maintaining U.S. economic influence in the region and reducing Taiwan’s dependence on China to ensure that the region remains free and open.

FAPA believes that a U.S.-Taiwan free trade agreement would do wonders for the economic and strategic interests of both countries. As economy and politics become increasingly intertwined, especially on the global stage, a FTA between the United States and Taiwan would be a powerful, much-needed force for securing supply chains and protecting democratic values, and undoubtedly a step in the right direction for smart and just U.S. foreign policy.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202106300024
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2021/07/01/2003760097
[3] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202107010006

Xi Jinping Outrageously Pledges “Complete Reunification” with Taiwan

In a speech to mark the 100 year anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Chinese strongman Xi Jinping pledged “complete reunification” with Taiwan. He called “reunification” with Taiwan an “unswerving historical mission” of the party and a “common aspiration” of the Chinese people. 

In response, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council lashed out at the CCP in a statement. It said the CCP had achieved certain economic development in China, but added that it has clamped down on democracy, violated human rights, and grown more dictatorial domestically.

“Democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law are core principles of Taiwanese society — a major institutional difference from the other side of the strait,” said the statement.

The council said the Taiwanese government remains determined to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty and democracy, adding that the Taiwanese people have long rejected China’s “One China Principle” and urged China to abandon military intimidation directed at Taiwan.

FAPA President Minze Chien reacts: “Taiwan has never been part of the People’s Republic of China. So ‘reunification’ is a complete misnomer. Let’s call a spade a spade. Xi is talking about ‘annexation.’ The ‘One Country, Two Systems’ formula that China applied to Hong Kong has obviously failed. There is zero incentive for the people of Taiwan to become part of China. The future of Taiwan is only up to its 23 million people to decide. And we need to keep Taiwan free!”

[1] CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/01/taiwan-lashes-out-at-beijing-after-xi-pledged-complete-reunification.html
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2021/07/02/2003760163