Taiwanese-Americans Support President Chen Shui-bian’s Call For Abolishment of “Unification Council”

For Immediate Release
Washington DC – January 31, 2006
Contact: (202) 547-3686

Taiwanese-Americans Support President Chen Shui-bian’s Call For Abolishment of “Unification Council”

On Sunday, January 29th, 2006, Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian announced that he was considering scrapping the “Unification guidelines” and “National Unification Council”, two relics from the time Taiwan was ruled by the Chinese Kuomintang Party, which until the present day still advocates unification with China.  President Chen emphasized that Taiwan is now a democracy and that the future of the island should be decided by the Taiwanese themselves. He also said he would like to see Taiwan join the United Nations under the name “Taiwan.”

As Taiwanese-Americans, we  wholeheartedly support President Chen’s proposals: it is a long-overdue step which would move Taiwan forward on the road towards being a normal country, and towards acceptance in the international community as a full and equal member.

We are thus surprised at the State Department’s  pronouncement on January 30th, in which it reiterated its worn-out “One China” policy.  That policy was devised more than 30 years ago in response to a situation in which two repressive regimes — the Chinese Nationalists and Communists — both claimed sovereignty as government of China.

With Taiwan’s transition to democracy in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the situation has changed drastically:  there is now a free and democratic Taiwan, which is represented by a democratically-elected government, striving for normalization of its relations with the international community.

By insisting on its anachronistic “One China” Policy, and by stating that the US “does not support Taiwan independence” and that a resolution needs to be found that is ” …acceptable to people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait”, the State Department is actually standing in the way of a peaceful resolution: it inhibits creative thinking about Taiwan’s future, and gives a Communist China a say in decision-making on a democratic Taiwan’s future that should be made solely by the Taiwanese people themselves.  Imagine if someone had suggested in 1776 that the future of the American colonies should be ” …acceptable to people on both sides of the Atlantic.”

In conclusion, we thus urge the United States government to help safeguard the safety and security of Taiwan, and to gradually work towards normalization of relations with the democratically-elected government on the island.

In the UN context we should work towards full membership of Taiwan on the basis of the right to self-determination as contained in the UN Charter, while we should also urge the People﹊s Republic of China to enter into a dialogue with Taiwan in order to arrive at a peaceful resolution of the decades-old conflict and strive for mutual recognition.

Photo Credit: david3108 (Flickr)