Reunification across the Straits
By Zhi Zhenfeng & Zheng Kaixin  ·  2023-09-15  ·   Source: NO.38 SEPTEMBER 21, 2023

The island of Taiwan had been part of China's dynastic history for almost two millennia. The earliest references that document the development of Taiwan by the Chinese people are found in a book written in the year 230. Starting from the Song Dynasty (960-1279), all imperial central governments of China established administrative bodies to exercise jurisdiction over Taiwan. While it succumbed to colonization by the Netherlands in the 17th century and by Japan in the 19th century, reunification with the Chinese mainland was achieved each time.

After Japanese surrender at the end of World War II in 1945, the Chinese government resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Taiwan through a series of internationally recognized, legally binding documents. Four years later, by the time the People's Republic of China (PRC) was founded in 1949, the Kuomintang regime, which had lost the civil war, had made the island its stronghold, creating division between the two sides across the Taiwan Straits.

The PRC Government is the only legitimate government of the whole of China. Resolution 2758, adopted at the 26th Session of the UN General Assembly in 1971, recognizes representatives of the PRC Government as the only legitimate representatives of China to the world body. This resolution spells out that China has one single seat in the UN, so there is no such thing as "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan." Currently, 182 countries, including the United States, have established diplomatic relations with the PRC based on the one-China principle.

However, a handful of Western countries led by the United States are now playing the "Taiwan card" to smear China and contain China's development. They act provocatively on a series of Taiwan-related issues, fueling cross-Straits tensions and undermining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. If left unchecked, the worsening crisis will shake the very foundation of China-U.S. relations.

The United States deliberately traces the establishment of administrative systems in Taiwan to the Dutch colonial period in the 17th century, thus denying the fact that Taiwan is historically part of China. It does this because Taiwan is of strategic importance as an "unsinkable aircraft carrier" that the U.S. can use to maintain primacy over Asia. Additionally, the developed semiconductor industry on the island is an important part of the global supply chain and plays an indispensable role in ensuring America's access to the world's most advanced chips for both civilian and military uses. 

The Taiwan question is entirely a matter of China's internal affairs and a legacy of its civil war, but it is portrayed by the United States as a conflict between major powers. The reason is that influence in Taiwan contributes to its maintenance of its hegemony.

Since 1949, the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Chinese Government and the Chinese people have regarded the settlement of the Taiwan question and the complete reunification of the country as a vital historic mission. The realization of direct air, shipping, trade and postal links across the Taiwan Straits has led to increasing exchange and cooperation between the mainland and Taiwan.

In the spirit of seeking common ground while shelving differences, both sides of the Taiwan Straits came to the 1992 Consensus, an agreement between the two sides based on the one-China principle and the goal of reunifying the country. The CPC has also proposed the One Country, Two Systems principle, under which Taiwan will retain its own social and economic systems upon peaceful reunification, to realize national reunification.

Taiwan's current Democratic Progressive Party authorities have sought "Taiwan independence" by falling back on the United States. Refusing to recognize the 1992 Consensus, it aims to create "two Chinas," leading to the deterioration of cross-Straits relations. 

Putting overall and long-term interests of the Chinese nation first, the CPC and the Chinese Government will continue to safeguard China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and thwart any conspiracy to split Taiwan from the motherland.

Zhi Zhenfeng is a research fellow and Zheng Kaixin is apostgraduate student at the Institute of Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences 

Copyedited by G.P. Wilson 

Comments to yanwei@cicgamericas.com 

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