Taiwan Belongs to China, Separatist Attempts and Foreign Interference Not Tolerated

Ma Xinmin
Chinese Ambassador to Sudan

The 75th World Health Assembly (WHA) that concluded a couple of weeks ago explicitly refused again to include in its agenda a proposal on Taiwan’s participation in the annual assembly as an observer. By the time the assembly was commenced, nearly 90 countries including Sudan sent letters to the World Health Organization (WHO) to express their commitment to the one-China principle and opposition to Taiwan’s participation in the WHA. This once again shows that the attempt of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities to seek independence under the pretext of COVID-19 finds no support and that the interference of certain countries in the Taiwan question will get nowhere.

I. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. The Taiwan question arose out of the weakness and chaos of the Chinese nation. Taiwan has belonged to China since ancient times. From the mid-12th century, Chinese governments of different periods set up administrative bodies to exercise jurisdiction over Taiwan. In 1895, as a result of defeat in a war of aggression against China waged by Japan, the Qing government was forced to sign the unequal Treaty of Shimonoseki. From then onwards, Taiwan has been forcibly occupied by Japan for half a century.

In December 1941, the Chinese government proclaimed in its declaration of war against Japan that all treaties, conventions, agreements, and contracts regarding relations between China and Japan, including the Treaty of Shimonoseki, were abrogated. The declaration also stressed that China would recover Taiwan. The Cairo Declaration issued by China, the United States, and Great Britain in December 1943 stated that all the territories Japan had stolen from the Chinese, including several northeastern provinces, Formosa (Taiwan), and the Pescadores (Penghu) shall be restored to China.

The Potsdam Proclamation signed by China, the United States, and Great Britain in 1945, which was subsequently adhered to by the Soviet Union, reiterated that the terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out. In August of the same year, Japan pledged in the Japanese Instrument of Surrender to faithfully fulfill its obligations stipulated in the provisions of the Potsdam Proclamation. These historical facts and international documents related to Taiwan fully prove the fact that “Taiwan is an inalienable part of China.”

In 1945, the people of China, together with the rest of humanity, achieved a great victory in the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War, as a result of which Taiwan recovered. Therefore, Taiwan has been returned to China de jure and de facto since then. After the end of the ensuing Chinese civil war launched by Kuomintang, the People’s Republic of China was proclaimed on October 1, 1949.

However, a group of military and political officials of the Kuomintang clique took refuge in Taiwan as a result of their defeat, and with the support of the then US administration, set up a regime by force of arms in Taiwan, resulting in the two sides of the Taiwan Straits have been in a special state of long-term political confrontation since 1949. The Taiwan question is one left over by the Chinese civil war. But the fact that the two sides of the Taiwan Straits legally and historically belong to one and the same China and that people across the Straits are all Chinese will not and cannot be changed.

II. Taiwan belongs to the entire Chinese people including compatriots in Taiwan. China will never allow “Taiwan independence” forces to separate Taiwan from the motherland. Both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one and the same China. China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity has never been and will not be severed. For the Taiwan question that has dragged on for a long, the flagitious “Taiwan independence” separatists are to be blamed.

Since the 1990s, leaders of the Taiwan authorities have been striving to promote a separatist policy aimed at “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”, thus helping the rapid development of the “Taiwan independence” forces and the spread of the “Taiwan independence” ideology. The Taiwan authorities have adopted a series of measures toward actual separation. In matters of Taiwan’s form of government, they sought to legally transform Taiwan into an “independent political entity”. In foreign relations, they cooked up the “two states” theory and carried out activities for “expanding the international space for survival”.

This has become even worse after the DPP authority took power in 2016, as it obstinately sticks to “Taiwan independence”. It has gone further down the path of separatism by carrying out various forms of “Taiwan independence” separatist activities to sever the connection with the motherland, attempting to borrow the strength of foreign influence, and sparing no effort to cultivate official ties with some countries having diplomatic relations with China. They are now the root cause of the tension and turmoil in the relations across the Straits and the biggest threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits.

The Chinese government firmly opposes Taiwan independence” separatist forces and their actions. Safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity is the basic right of our country and also an obligation shared by the entire Chinese people including compatriots in Taiwan. No sovereign country will tolerate any attempts to divide the country and has the right to use all necessary means in accordance with the international law, either peaceful or non-peaceful, to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

China calls for achieving reunification of the country by peaceful means. People on both sides of the Straits are all Chinese and are members of one family. No one is keener than us to realize reunification by peaceful means. We will do our utmost to make it and never give up as long as there is a ray of hope for peaceful reunification. The mainland will strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and efforts, but will never leave any space for “Taiwan independence” separatist activities. In the event that all efforts for a peaceful reunification are in vain, China has no choice but to employ and has the right to employ non-peaceful means to prevent the division of the country and defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Article 8 of China’s Anti-Secession Law released in 2005 stipulates that in the event that the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces should act under any name or by any means to cause the fact of Taiwan’s secession from China, or that major incidents entailing Taiwan’s secession from China should occur, or that possibilities for a peaceful reunification should be completely exhausted, the state shall employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. On issues concerning China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and other core interests, China has no room for compromise or concession. No one should underestimate the strong resolve, determination, and capability of the Chinese people in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

III. The Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair that brooks no foreign interference. There is but one China and Taiwan is a part of China, and the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal Government of China. This is what the one-China principle is all about. The one-China principle is a universal consensus of the international community and a widely recognized norm of international relations. In October 1971, the 26th Session of the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 2758 that decided to restore all its rights to the People’s Republic of China and recognize the representatives of its government as the only legitimate representatives of China to the UN and expel forthwith the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek from the place which they unlawfully occupy at the UN and in all the organizations related to it.

To date, China has established diplomatic relations under the one-China principle with 181 countries including the US. In the three Sino-US Joint Communiqués, the U.S. promised to abide by the one-China principle and reiterated that it would not support “Taiwan independence” separatism and has no intention of pursuing a policy of “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan.” However, attempting to use the Taiwan question as a tool to contain China, the US does not truly fulfill its promises and instead, has created constant trouble on the Taiwan question.

The US’s interference is the single largest external factor in the protracted Taiwan question. The Taiwan question arose as an aftermath of the civil war started by Kuomintang in the late 1940s and also a result of direct intervention by the US. Over the past years, the US has been playing the “Taiwan card” in China-US relations by colluding with and supporting “Taiwan independence” forces in the Taiwan region and emboldening and abetting “Taiwan independence” separatist activities, in an attempt to obstruct China’s reunification. It has also adopted a string of bills in favor of Taiwan to upgrade its ties with Taiwan in all aspects.

This includes violating the limitations on official contact and reciprocal visits between the US and Taiwan, increasing its military ties with Taiwan and arms sales to the region, helping Taiwan expand the so-called “international space” and openly supporting Taiwan in participating and joining in the WHO, International Criminal Police Organization, International Civil Aviation Organization, and other intergovernmental organizations. In recent years, the US even openly declared a one-China policy based on the so-called “Taiwan Relations Act”, three Sino-US Joint Communiqués, and the so-called “Six Assurances” to Taiwan, and promoted its two-track policy toward the Taiwan Straits, attempting to drain the one-China principle of its essence and hollowing it out.

It has used its domestic law and policies as an excuse to circumvent international obligations. What the US has done is a serious violation of the commonly recognized international law and gross interference in China’s internal affairs.

The Taiwan question is the own affair of the Chinese people and must be handled and resolved by the Chinese ourselves. The Chinese government firmly opposes interference of external forces and insists that countries having diplomatic relations with China follow the one-China principle, observe the principle of mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, and hold views on the Taiwan question as below.

First, countries having diplomatic relations with China shall not seek any form of official relations or contact with the Taiwan region, including negotiating or concluding agreements with implications of sovereignty and of official nature. Nevertheless, considering the needs of Taiwan’s economic development and the practical interests of Taiwan compatriots, the Chinese Government has not objected to non-governmental economic or cultural exchanges between Taiwan and foreign countries.

Second, countries having diplomatic relations with China shall not allow Taiwan’s participation in the UN, its agencies, and other intergovernmental organizations as well as their meetings and activities. The Government of the People’s Republic of China, as the sole legal government of China, represents the whole of China and exercises state sovereignty in international organizations. As part of China, Taiwan is ineligible for membership in the UN, its agencies, and other intergovernmental organizations like the WHO whose membership is confined to sovereign states, or participation in their activities.

Third, countries having diplomatic relations with China shall neither sell arms to Taiwan nor seek any form of military ties with Taiwan. The Chinese government firmly opposes any country selling any type of arms or transferring production technology of the same to Taiwan.

The Taiwan question is in essence a struggle between the forces for and against division, between the forces for and against “Taiwan independence”, and between one China and “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”. Amidst the recent Ukraine crisis, some people hyped up the claim that Ukraine’s today is Taiwan’s tomorrow. The Taiwan question differs in nature from the Ukraine issue. Ukraine is a sovereign state while Taiwan is a part of China which means the Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair. Just like the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries including Ukraine should be respected, China’s sovereignty over Taiwan must be safeguarded as well and bear no external interference.

IV. The basic guideline for resolving the Taiwan question is “peaceful reunification” and “One Country, Two Systems”. Resolving the Taiwan question and realizing China’s complete reunification is a historic mission and an unshakable commitment of all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation, and is absolutely essential to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The Chinese government believes that “peaceful reunification” and “One Country, Two Systems” is the best approach to realizing national reunification. It is underpinned by three guidelines. First, the mainland will strive for the prospects of peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and greatest efforts but makes no promise to renounce the use of force. Second, the mainland advocates consultations and negotiations between the two sides of the Straits under the one-China principle and in accordance with the 1992 Consensus reflecting the one-China principle.

The “1992 Consensus” was an agreement reached in 1992 between the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation that the two sides of the Taiwan Straits belong to one and the same China and should work together to promote the reunification of the nation. This is the political foundation for cross-Strait relations and also the key to the peaceful growth of cross-Strait relations. Third, the mainland will actively explore a “Two Systems” solution to the Taiwan question under the one-China principle, thus enriching the practice of peaceful reunification.

The Chinese government has taken concrete actions to constantly advance the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations. To strive for peaceful reunification, the Chinese government has adopted an array of positive policies and measures. In line with the aspiration of people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits, we have facilitated the termination of the state of isolation between the two sides and comprehensively realized three direct, two-way links of mail, transport, and trade across the Taiwan Straits.

Bearing in mind that people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits are of one family, we have shared with our Taiwan compatriots the development opportunities of the mainland, expanded economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation between the two sides, and explored a new way of integrated development for both sides of the Taiwan Straits. We have also guided fellow countrymen and women from Taiwan and their businesses to the mainland’s new development stage and kept improving those policy measures for safeguarding the wellbeing of our Taiwan compatriots and ensuring they enjoy the same treatment on China’s mainland as local residents. These efforts have made people on both sides of the Straits feel closer to each other and opened up new horizons for deeper and broader exchanges and cooperation across the Straits.

The trend of the world, vast and mighty, prospers those who follow it and perishes those who go against it. As Chinese President Xi Jinping remarked, the Taiwan question is destined to come to an end upon national rejuvenation. Neither sabotage by “Taiwan independence” separatists nor interference and obstruction by external forces will change the great trend of China’s reunification. The Taiwan question is bound to be ultimately settled by people across the Taiwan Straits. China’s reunification will not hurt the legitimate interests of any country including its economic interests in the Taiwan region. Instead, it will create more development opportunities for other countries, add impetus to peace, stability, and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region, and make a bigger contribution to global peace and development and human progress.

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