Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2000 18:34:53 -0500 From: Yves Leclerc <•••@••.•••> Subject: Re: March 24: anniversary of FRY bombing, Chinese embassy bombing coming back to haunt us, acronyms... Jan and Richard, No, the Chinese Embassy bombing is not coming back to haunt us. It's simply coming home to roost. As soon as it happened a year ago, I wrote to Le Monde Diplomatique what to me was already obvious, that this was the godsend Beijing had been waiting for to put its quest for control of Taiwan back on track. What's happening now is simply the first stage of this predictable process. Even such a superficial student of Chinese politics and diplomacy as I must understand that their time frame and their objectives are quite different from ours. They have 25 centuries of political experience to draw upon, and are well aware that they don't need to "win" or "show a profit" in the next quarter. When their Embassy was bombed last year, they made token protests and were very careful not to have the "wrong" done to them righted -- as we Westerners would undoubtedly have done. They viewed it, probably correctly, as an American IOU to be called in at the most propitious moment. This time, when they threatened Taiwan far more stridently than they did during the "Formosa Straits" incidents of a few years ago, did you notice that Washington protested and blustered... but didn't send in its fleet the way it did earlier? Now Beijing's threats seem to have backfired. And maybe they did. But maybe, also, the election of a Taiwanese nationalist, anti-Kuomingtang government was what Beijing really was after. Getting rid of the Chang-Kai-Chek legacy and facing a new team clearly more willing to negotiate some kind of settlement is what China gains in this election. Not such a bad deal, in the long run. Bending the wills and the minds of the Taiwanese toward gradual integration into the mainland won't be done in a trice and won't result from a massive invasion that would only invite comparisons to Tchang's in 1949 -- and Beijing, contrary to Washington, knows this very well. Yves Leclerc, Montreal ***************************************************************** Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 07:55:03 -0500 From: Eric Fawcett <•••@••.•••> Subject: sfp-75: Reflections on China and Taiwan To [remove]add your address to this list, email: •••@••.••• with no message in the text and Subject: [unsubscribe]subscribe sfpcan. Messages posted on http://scienceforpeace.sa.utoronto.ca/ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- ONE CHINA? ~~~~~~~~~ ZNet Commentary by Philip Cunningham March 16 The war of words between China and Taiwan is heating up since China toughened its position on Taiwan in a document called "When It Comes to Uniting the Motherland, We Will Never Compromise.'' With emotions running strong and both sides bristling with advanced armaments of war, even hot air can be dangerous. One misstep and the China-Taiwan tug of war could drag the US, even Japan, into a horrible conflict. Harsh words and threatening military maneuvers including a possible blockade are enough to sink China's chances for WTO accession, disrupt world computer supplies and send stock markets tumbling. China recently declared that it not only reserves the option to take Taiwan by force, but threatened do so, using "drastic measures" if necessary, if it deems the pace of reunification to be unacceptably slow. While most analysts see the latest shock talk from Beijing as a clumsy bid to influence the outcome of Taiwan's presidential election without employing force, few are willing to count out the possibility of military pyrotechnics should defiant talk or election results in Taiwan cause Beijing to feel it has lost face. Furthermore, Chinese leader Jiang Zemin needs to "liberate" Taiwan for once and for all if he is to convince his militaristic comrades and his country that he truly is a leader of Mao Zedong's stature. Three years ago at this time, the Chinese military staged war games and took a few test shots over Taiwan in a nightmarish bid to influence democratic elections. The people of Taiwan defiantly elected Lee Teng-hui, --Beijing's arch-nemesis anyway, though not without a shudder of fear. The Taipei government was so anxious to calm its people that it revealed an interesting intelligence finding: the broadside missile shots fired over Taiwan in March 1996 were blanks. Making public this charge of the blank shots, military impotence if you like, caused China to lose face even further. Subsequent investigations into the leak of the dummy missile story resulted in the indictment and execution of three mainland citizens accused of trading military secrets for money. With Hong Kong and Macao back in the embrace of the "motherland" all eyes now turn to Taiwan. There are good arguments for viewing Taiwan the way Beijing does; --as a rebel province. There are also good arguments for calling a spade a spade and recognizing Taiwan for what it is; --a de facto independent island state. Progressives in the US have traditionally expressed sympathy, if not total agreement with the Beijing line on the Taiwan issue. Communist rhetoric, especially from a safe distance, has a deeply seductive side and to be fair, China has made great strides in bettering the life for millions of its billions. For many years the Chinese Communists, despite their harsh barrel-of-the-gun tactics, could be viewed appealingly by Western progressives as the underdogs, as rustic rebels with a cause, whereas Taiwan, partly for cultural reasons, has never appealed to the American left. Taiwan for decades was Chiang Kai-shek's fiefdom, a mean little dictatorship run by men in suits with a well-oiled lobby in Washington. Both Taiwan and China were swept by turbo-change in the last two decades of the twentieth century. The Cold War ended and the old red and white chessboard of world politics shattered into a mosaic of a million colorful bits. In this increasingly multipolar world, who has the clout, let alone the right, to say what's right, what's wrong? Is Taiwan part of China? Does self-determination trump long-standing territorial claims? Who's the underdog now? Who represents the best hope for the future now? Which party in the long unresolved Chinese civil war, if any, deserves support? I will not attempt to answer these questions but will offer a guide to navigating the complicated shoals of the Taiwan-China straits. Below is an outline of some good reasons and not so good reasons for accepting Beijing's line on Taiwan. GOOD REASONS FOR SEEING TAIWAN AS A PROVINCE OF CHINA ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Taiwan was historically part of Qing dynasty China and the people of Taiwan are culturally Chinese. Taiwan as we know it today is an artificial state created by refugees from the civil war on the mainland and shored up and solidified by American monetary and military support. This prevented reunification immediately after Mao Zedong established the new China in 1949. Many people in Taiwan today see their land as a province of China. Chiang Kai-shek and his KMT supporters, vainly hoping to re-take the mainland, for half a century propagated the fiction that there was only one China, (which had temporarily fallen under the control of communist bandits, and would one day rightfully ruled by the KMT.) Although today's KMT no longer talks about re-taking the mainland and is not ready to share power or become subjugated by Beijing, the romantic notion that there is but one China lingers. If Taiwan province is not re-united with the mainland, this more or less permanent division of greater China favors neighboring adversaries who can play one side off the other. The US and Japan and perhaps even Russia are beneficiaries of a divided China. SOME NOT-SO-GOOD REASONS TO SEE TAIWAN AS A PROVINCE OF CHINA ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Might makes right. Beijing is willing use force, or threat of force, to subjugate Taiwan as a rebel province. Communist rhetoric is mild but hopelessly repetitive. Beijing has successfully employed a long-term incremental strategy of wearing out its opponents and gradually increasing Taiwan's isolation and vulnerability. Getting Clinton to publicly enunciate Beijing's "three no policy" reaffirming the non-recognition of Taiwan in return for trade deals and a smooth tour of China is an example of this. Big American companies, from airplane manufacturers to software peddlars are willing to toe Beijing's line if the stakes are high and the money is good. Big business bullishness on China is based on amoral calculations of profit and greed, not the man on the ground. Secretive diplomat Henry Kissinger is a big supporter of Beijing and has made a profitable career of ditching Taiwan in favor of China. He had so much money riding on insider deals with Chinese elite in 1989 that he came out with statements surprisingly supportive of the bloody Tiananmen crackdown. Clinton's allegedly idealistic China policy, despite periodic talk of human rights and engagement, looks disturbingly like foreign policy open to highest bidder. Follow the money and the investigage the bagmen: Ron Brown, John Huang, Charlie Trie, Bernard Schwartz, Webster Hubbell, etc. SOME GOOD REASONS TO SEE TAIWAN AS AN INDEPENDENT STATE ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Reality. Taiwan enjoys and has enjoyed de facto independence for over half a century. Despite romantic talk about one China by "patriots" on both sides, Taiwan has long had its own military, money, postal service, system of government, flag, and national education. The international game of "the emperor's new clothes" in which the US and Japan and more than 90% of the world's countries pretend Taiwan is wrapped under Beijing's skirt is a tiresome charade. Tokyo even went as far as asking Beijing "permission" to send earthquake relief to Taiwan. US diplomats call it creative ambiguity, based on the slippery Shanghai Communique, but it is hypocritical to clink maotai glasses to the tune of one China, but sell arms to Taiwan anyway. The people of Taiwan have a voice. Listen to it. With little help from the world's democracies, the hard-working people of Taiwan cast off a dictatorial regime and created a genuinely democratic state. The pro-independence forces in Taiwan come from the class of the traditionally oppressed natives of the island. The more recently arrived mainlanders, loudly represented by the KMT, benefit to the detriment of their local rivals from the fiction that Taiwan is part of China. SOME NOT-SO-GOOD REASONS TO SEE TAIWAN AS AN INDEPENDENT STATE ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ There exists a powerful Tokyo-Taipei axis that gets little international attention other than surprise that there could be such warm cultural and historical ties between the former colonizer and colonized. There are some 800,000 Taiwanese working and studying in Japan and massive Japanese investment in Taiwan. President Lee Teng-hui was educated in Tokyo and speaks better Japanese than Mandarin (he is of course fluent in his native Taiwanese dialect and proficient in English as well). Taiwan, despite its underdog status, has an awesome military, a vast intelligence network, a dollar-rich political war-chest, and many well-heeled overseas lobbyists. Bob Dole, for example, is a registered and paid advocate for Taiwan. US Congressional supporters of Taiwan range from ideological anti-communists to individuals with vested interests, business or otherwise. It's hard to find anyone in congress with an objective grasp of the issues. Some human rights activists and allegedly "humanitarian" anti-China groups take Taiwanese money and favor Taiwan in their pronouncements. American organized labor is unduly obsessed with Chinese human rights violations. One suspects that the real goal of trade sanctions invoked in the name of human rights is protecting American jobs and inefficient industries. These are some of the points, presented in no particular order, that should be kept in mind as current events unfold in a theatre of conflict that is potentially the most dangerous spot in the world today.