China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
July 31, 2015
Executive Summary: The presidential election is now in full swing. The final decision will of course be made by voters on Taiwan. But Taiwan is an island, caught between the United States and Mainland China. Both are major players that affect Taiwan. Both are watching closely from the sidelines, prepared with countermeasures. Both hope events will go their way, or at least not spin out of control. Both blue and green camps seek the blessing of the United States or the Mainland to ensure victory at the polls and the assumption of power.
Full Text Below:
The presidential election is now in full swing. The final decision will of course be made by voters on Taiwan. But Taiwan is an island, caught between the United States and Mainland China. Both are major players that affect Taiwan. Both are watching closely from the sidelines, prepared with countermeasures. Both hope events will go their way, or at least not spin out of control. Both blue and green camps seek the blessing of the United States or the Mainland to ensure victory at the polls and the assumption of power.
The US has been relatively consistent in its relations with the two sides of the Strait. Since President Nixon, US policy has involved the three joint communiques and opposition to or non-support of Taiwan independence, "one Taiwan, one China", and "two Chinas". The US is concerned about Taiwan's security. It has repeatedly stressed that it takes no position on reunification vs. independence, but the matter must be settled peacefully. Washington stresses process rather than result. The future of Taiwan should be decided jointly by people on both sides of the Strait. Authorities on the two sides must not arbitrarily disrupt the status quo -- as defined by the United States. Cross-Strait issues have yet to be resolved. But at least peace has been maintained.
In fact everything the United States does is in its national interest, even though its priorities and policies may change with the times. For example, when Washington and Beijing faced off against each other, the United States tended to emphasize relations with Taiwan in order to counter or provoke the CCP. When cross-Strait military strength changed, the United States sold arms to Taiwan. No wonder some have concluded that the United States and Japan say one thing but do another, and merely use Taiwan as a pawn by perpetuating long-term cross-strait separation. From a broader perspective, the United States cozied up the Mainland China to counter the Soviet Union. Eventually, in 1978, it abandoned Taiwan and established diplomatic ties with the Mainland. Such is the nature of US foreign policy. No wonder many on Taiwan believe Taiwan must be more than the United States' diplomatic pawn.
For the United States Taiwan has marginal value. For the CCP by contrast, Taiwan is a core national interest. In its pursuit of national unity, Beijing's stance has never changed. This is not merely a matter of nationalist sentiment. It is also a matter of the Chinese peoples' economic future, and involves long-term strategic considerations. From Taiwan's perspective, US-Taiwan relations are important. But Taiwan's relationship with the Mainland is a matter of life and death. Between the two giants, Taiwan can do little. Taiwan's plight is difficult. But in terms of geopolitics, economic development, and national identity, Taiwan's choice should be clear.
The rise of Mainland China is a fact. The Mainland has many internal problems. But the stability of the regime is not in question. Beijing's political, economic, and geo-strategic influence will only increase. Its recent One Belt, One Road and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank initiatives underscore CCP ambition. Taiwan must stand firm on many cross-Strait issues. But we all know time is not on our side. Which side is stronger is not hard to see. On matters political, economic, diplomatic, and international, Taiwan must rely on Beijing's goodwill.
Internal and external factors have strained Sino-US relations. But the Mainland is increasingly powerful. This is not something the United States can prevent. Mainland China's rise is not necessarily to the United States' detriment. The United States can take the high road and dialogue with Beijing in a more respectful manner. It can remember the big picture, seize the initiative, and resolve the impasse with Mainland China. Alas, current US-China relations are strained. The United States has resorted to cheap tricks. These include unilaterally announcing that military officers from Taiwan would attend official photo ops, upgrading US-Taiwan official exchanges in a one off manner to drive a wedge between Taipei and Beijing, and inciting pro-American, anti-Mainland populist sentiment. Meanwhile, the US refuses to give even an inch on Taiwan-US issues such US beef and pork imports. The US has no inerst in improved Taiwan-US economic relations. It has dragged its feet for years, preventing any progress.
The United States is a nation known for its emphasis on Christian morality. Yet it treats Taiwan as a disposable pawn in a strategic struggle. That is unfair to Taiwan. The US may sell out Taiwan to Beijing. It may exploit confrontation between Taiwan and the Mainland. Either way, it is using Taiwan as a pawn. Taiwan must not and cannot accept such an arrangement. Such an arrangement is not in the interest of any party, including the Mainland, the US, and Taiwan.
Taiwan's existence is beneficial to US strategic interests. A Chinese mainland that is moderate, rational, reformist, open, secure, integrated into the international community, and which abides by international norms of behavior, is in the interest of all nations. Today's China is not Maoist China. The Chinese people and Chinese culture have a moderate, rational, reformist, and open national character. If Taiwan can embark on the road to democracy, why can't the Chinese mainland? The United States should help Taiwan play a more active role in Mainland China's modernization. This would have a beneficial impact. This would result in a win-win-win scenario.
Washington has delayed cross-Strait integration. It has encouraged Taiwanese separatist proclivities. It has increased the suffering of the public on Taiwan by fostering illusions and delaying their awakening. In fact, it is creating its own enemies. The United States should help the two sides accelerate their integration. It should encourage political dialogue and the signing of a peace agreement. This would benefit both Sino-US and cross-Strait relations.
但不可諱言，台灣是小島，夾在美國與中國大陸間， 兩者都是影響台灣的重大外部因素，也都在場邊密切觀戰， 預擬因應對策，希望事情如果不能往有利於自己的方向發展， 至少不要出現不受控制的意外。 藍綠兩大陣營都想得到美國或中國大陸的加持，以利贏得選舉， 掌握政權。
自尼克森總統以來，美國政策宣示大體上不出：三個公報一個法案， 反對（或不支持）台灣獨立、一中一台、兩個中國， 美國關切台灣的安全，一再強調對於統獨結果並無特定立場， 但必須以和平方式為之，華府重視的是過程而非結果， 台灣的未來應由兩岸人民共同決定， 兩岸當局都不能任意破壞由美國所界定的現狀等等。 兩岸問題雖未解決，但也算維持了和平的局面。
在輕重緩急和策略作為上時有變化。比如說，當華府與北京交惡時， 美國傾向於提升與台灣的關係來平衡或刺激中共； 當兩岸軍力安全對比發生變化時，美國又加強對台軍售。 難怪有人認為，美國與日本一樣，都是講一套做一套， 其實是把台灣當棋子運用，製造兩岸長期分裂。放在更大的架構看， 美國為拉攏中國大陸對抗蘇聯，於1978年放棄台灣與中國大陸建 交，可見美國外交政策的本質。難怪許多台灣人認為， 台灣不能只是美國的外交利益棋子。
台灣卻是核心國家利益， 北京堅持追求國家統一的立場從來未曾變過， 這不只是民族主義情緒的問題，更有民族發展的長遠戰略考量。 從台灣的角度，美台關係當然重要， 但與大陸關係的好壞則是生死存亡問題。兩大之間難為小， 台灣的處境艱難，但不管是從地緣政治、經濟發展、 國族認同上來看，台灣的最佳選擇應該相當清楚。
北京在國際政治、經濟、地緣戰略方面的影響力只會越來越大， 最近的一帶一路以及亞投行的成立都可看出中共的企圖心。 台灣對於兩岸之間的許多問題雖然仍有必要的堅持， 但大家已然看出時不我予，兩岸強弱易勢，台灣在政治、經濟、 外交及國際上都必須依賴北京的善意。
不是美國所能遏止，中國崛起未必是美國之患， 美國可以更尊重的方式和北京對話相處，用新的高度、 廣度與思維掌握主動，來處理與中國的僵局。 但當前美中關係趨於緊張，美國卻利用廉價的方式， 譬如片面公布台灣將領參加美軍官方活動照片、 一次性提升美台官方交往層級等手段，企圖離間兩岸關係、 提升台灣「親美離中」民粹力量， 但在制度性的美台關係上卻寸步不讓，譬如美豬與美牛進口問題、 台美經濟關係深化問題，美國卻毫無興趣，延宕多年沒有進展。
若把台灣當成戰略利益的廉價棋子，這對台灣並不公平。 無論出賣台灣與北京交易，或利用台灣與中國對抗， 都是把台灣當成棋子來耍弄，在主觀或客觀上，台灣都不能、 不願接受這樣的安排，也不合乎中美台任何一方的利益。
開放、具有安全感、融入國際社會、接受國際行為規範的中國， 合乎所有國家的利益。今日的中國已完全不是毛澤東時代的中國， 可見中國人與中國文化具備溫和、理性、改革、開放的本質。 台灣可以走上民主的道路，中國大陸為何不可以？美國應該鼓勵、 協助台灣在中國大陸現代化的過程中，扮演更積極的角色， 產生正面的作用。這才是一個雙贏多贏的最佳結果。
增加台灣民眾不切實際的幻想和夢醒之後的痛苦， 這種作法其實是在給自己製造敵人。如今之計， 美國應該思考如何協助兩岸加速整合，鼓勵雙方進行政治對話， 支持簽署中程或和平協議，才會對中美及兩岸關係產生正面效益。