On 1 January 1998, South Africa dropped its diplomatic ties with
the Kuomintang authorities and establishing official relations with
The move follows by more than a year the 28
November 1996 announcement by South African president
Nelson Mandela that he would switch relations at the end of 1997.
For some time after his May 1994 election as President of South
Africa, Mr. Mandela had attempted to pursue a "dual recognition"
policy of recognizing both the Kuomintang's "Republic of China"
and the Communist "People's Republic of China."
However, this "two-China" policy was unacceptable to the
Beijing regime, and finally Mr. Mandela gave in and decided to
In the context of establishing relations, South Africa and the
PRC, on 30 December 1997 signed an accord, in which inter alia
South Africa "recognizes" China's position that Taiwan is
part of China.
We emphasize that this position is ludicrous: the PRC never had
any sovereignty over Taiwan, not even for one minute, and any
attempt to claim such sovereignty amounts to Chinese
neo-Colonialism. We believe that Mr. Mandela would be one of
the first to voice his opposition to such a policy.
It is also ironic that South Africa, which now has majority rule
and is headed by a former political prisoner, has dropped an
increasingly democratic Taiwan in favor of a repressive and
totalitarian China, which still imprisons political dissenters.
While it is of course highly regrettable that South Africa is
giving in to pressure by a dictatorial Communist regime, the break
in relations is also due to the Kuomintang's stubborn clinging to
its "Republic of China" title, and its outdated insistence
to be part of the so-called "One China."
The Kuomintang would be wise to drop its anachronistic policies,
and move towards a more realistic "One China, One Taiwan"
policy, which recognizes the reality that Taiwan and China are two
separate nations, which can live in peaceful coexistence next to
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