Jul 30, 2002

European Parliament resolution small victory for Taiwanese self-determination

Could it be true that the seemingly rock-solid “One China” policy of the Peoples Republic of China is showing small, but real cracks? Most political annalists will probably disagree. However, it cannot be denied that Taiwanese self-determination has recently been strengthened from two different corners: the Bush Administration and the European Parliament. The victories are still small, but they do come one at a time.

One such victory came on 11 April 2002, when the European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution on the peaceful conduct of cross-strait relations. This resolution, responding to the EU Commission’s (1998) communication on its strategy toward the PRC, included a first-time reference to “the popular will of the people of Taiwan” in resolving the differences across the Taiwan Strait. It stated specifically, “The will and approval of the 23 million people in Taiwan must be respected and accounted for in the light of a hopefully peaceful solution between the parties.” Furthermore, the EP reiterated its support for Taiwan’s participation in the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and urged the European Commission not to delay setting-up a representative office in Taipei.
To the UNPO, the wording of this reference has only one meaning: self-determination.

Then there was US president Bush’ “slip-of-the-tongue” reference to Taiwan as “The Republic of Taiwan”, which caused an uproar in the PRC and a ripple in Taiwan. Or was it intentional? No doubt, the Bush Administration, from a national interest perspective, has to have cordial relations with China. But then again, it cannot be denied that the Administration has been following a consistent policy of confidence- building towards the Chen Shui-Bian government. By moving away from the “strategic ambiguity” policy of previous US governments, the Bush Administration engages in improving political communication with Taipei, while also extending military support. Without this backing, very little would come of Taiwan’s legitimate right to self-determination.

Considering that this is happening at a time when the PRC is supposed to be at the “top of its might”, the UNPO foresees more upcoming victories for Taiwan against the “One China” policy. Attention is drawn to the appearance of the first cracks in the PRC’s economic boom, while evidence is also pointing towards increased internal political instability. Not to mention that its all-out deliberate attempts to equate the right to self-determination of ethnic peoples within its territory to an act of terrorism, is facing considerable opposition from international organizations and human rights NGOs.

Source: Taiwan Communique International Edition, May 2002