Challenge the PRC’s One China Principle
If viewing it as a competition for rhetorical leadership, the PRC’s One China Principle has already defeated the U.S. One China Policy. This can be seen from a growing number of countries and international organizations referring to Taiwan as a Province of China.
This situation partly results from the U.S. One China Policy’s passive language vis-à-vis Taiwan’s sovereignty and the legitimacy of the island’s democracy. To seize the rhetorical leadership, the first step the U.S. should take is to eliminate the gray zone area by adopting the following statements:
- The United States acknowledges that Taiwan exists as a self-governing democracy of 23.6 million people;
- The United States will ensure any resolution of cross-Strait differences must be undertaken peacefully and with the active assent of the people of Taiwan;
- The United States encourages both sides of the Taiwan Strait to carry out constructive dialogue without preconditions
For the first policy statement, instead of the current policy of “acknowledges the Chinese position that Taiwan is a part of China,” the U.S. could extend equal legitimacy to Taiwan by “acknowledging” Taiwan as a self-governing democracy.
For the second policy statement, the U.S. One China Policy has long stipulated that the future of the Taiwan Strait must be resolved peacefully by both sides. This however does not proactively endorse Taiwan’s self-determination rights. FAPA would like to see the U.S. reiterating President Bill Clinton’s statement in 2000 that the Taiwan question must be resolved “with the assent of the people of Taiwan.”
Ultimately, the U.S. One China Policy currently “encourages both sides to continue their constructive dialogue,” which overlooks the fact that the PRC has refused to engage with Taiwan since 2016 by imposing the One China Principle as a precondition. It would be a simple but effective step to push back against the One China Principle by supporting a cross-Strait dialogue “without preconditions.”