In 1949 what we know today as Taiwan was formed, an independent country for all purposes and whose official name is the Republic of China.
The result of a civil war that ended 73 years ago
It was in that year that the second stage of the Chinese Civil War (1946-1949) ended, which confronted the nationalist forces of the Kuomintang and those of the Communist Party of China (PCCh). The war ended with a victory for the communists and the exile of the nationalists to the islands of Taiwan, Penghu, Quemoy, Matsu, Pratas and Taiping, which are the current sovereign territory of the Republic of China. On the continent, Mao Tse-Tung’s communists established the People’s Republic of China, a brutal dictatorship that committed one of the greatest genocides in history. In Taiwan there was a military dictatorship that gave way to a democratic system in 1987.
The unfortunate decision of the UN in 1971
A conflict persists between the two Chinas due to the fact that both nationalists and communists consider themselves the legitimate government of the entire territory of China as it was until 1949. This idea, known as the principle of “One China”, meant that Taiwan was for years the representative of China in the UN, leaving Communist China excluded from the organization. In 1971, the UN expelled Taiwan and admitted Communist China, in a vote in which Canada and many European, African and Asian countries sided with the USSR and the brutal dictatorship of Mao Tse-Tung, who held a permanent seat with the right of veto in the Security Council ofan organization theoretically called to defend human rights.
The case of the two Koreas and the power of China over the UN
The situation between the two Chinas is very similar to that between the two Koreas. However, on September 17, 1991, the UN admitted into its midst both Koreas, both the brutal communist dictatorship in the north and the democracy in the south. Since that year, Taiwan has applied several times to be admitted to the UN, even simply appearing as “Taiwan” and not as China, so as not to inconvenience its Marxist neighbors. Communist China’s dominance over the UN has systematically prevented these attempts. That is, a one-party dictatorship that violates human rights prevents the admission of a democratic and independent country. What does that say about the UN?
Carter’s clumsy decision to withdraw recognition of Taiwan
But in case it didn’t come with the absurd situation caused by the UN, the United States aggravated Taiwan’s helplessness in 1979, during the mandate of Jimmy Carter, one of the worst presidents that country has ever had. His government decided to withdraw diplomatic recognition of Taiwan and grant it to communist China, since that dictatorship requires all countries that want to have diplomatic relations with it not to have them with Taiwan. Carter jumped through the hoop of that dictatorship, in one of the most clumsy and regrettable decisions of US foreign policy, which supposedly had the purpose of removing China from Soviet influence. What it achieved, however, was an effect unwanted and that is having serious consequences: it expanded China’s ability to influence and increased Taiwan’s defenselessness.
Since then, the US has lived in an absurd fiction with Taiwan: it does not officially recognize the country nor does it maintain diplomatic relations with it, but it does have a de facto relationship -more official than informal – which includes a defense commitment in the event of an attack by Communist China.
Donald Trump began to correct that absurd situation
The only president who took halfway decent steps to put an end to this nonsense was the previous occupant of the White House. During his tenure, Donald Trump promoted a rapprochement with nationalist China, including increased US Navy presence in the China Sea and increased arms exports to Taiwan. That is why the Republic of China was one of the countries where Trump had the most admirers. Joe Biden has made many mistakes, but in this he has decided to continue the line set by Trump. The visit of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan is framed along these lines.
US foreign policy and its unfinished business with Taiwan
That visit has increased tension in communist China, which has started military maneuvers with the purpose of intimidating the US. Personally, I don’t like Nancy Pelosi, but it would have been a colossal mistake to cancel that visit due to the threats from the Xi Jinping dictatorship. In other words, another mistake to add to the one made by Carter during his presidency. It is time, 73 years after the end of the Chinese Civil War, for the UN to make a gesture of decency and admit Taiwan, and the way to achieve this is for the US to commit seriously to it. But the US can hardly make that bet if it does not officially recognize Taiwan. The line initiated by Trump should culminate in the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the US and Taiwan, a measure that would also serve to put a stop the growing influence of communist China.
Xi Jinping’s dictatorship can afford to pressure small countries to withdraw their recognition of Taiwan, but with the US it would be much more difficult. The volume of business of Chinese companies in the US is enormous, and losing the US market would be a serious setback for China at a time when the country is experiencing economic difficulties. The US has a position, as a power, that would allow it to put pressure on China so that Taiwan’s political status is normalized and it is admitted to the UN, just as the two Koreas were. Not taking this step condemns Taiwan to being constantly threatened by Beijing’s thugs, something unacceptable for any independent country, but even more so for a democratic country that refuses to submit to a dictatorship led by the largest criminal organization in the world.
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