On May 30 1996, U.S. Congressman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) made a statement in the U.S. House of Representatives urging the United States and other democratic nations to discard the outdated "One China" policy and accept the reality of "One Taiwan, One China." Below is the text of his speech.
Mr. BROWN of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, when the status of United States relations with China and/or Taiwan is debated, references are often made to the `One China ' policy . This policy dates back to the Shanghai Communique, which since 1972 has formed the legal framework of Sino-American relations. It reads: `The U.S. acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China .'
I have always been puzzled by the `One China ' policy . It is a complete abstraction; it simply does not comport with reality. It might serve the interests of the hegemonists in China , but it is as unrealistic as it is outdated.
When Mao Tse-tung's Communists seized power in China in 1949 and established the People's Republic of China [PRC], `Generalissimo' Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists fled to Taiwan and established the Republic of China [ROC] on Taiwan. According to Mao, the PRC consisted of China , Taiwan, Tibet, and Mongolia. According to Chiang, the ROC consisted of exactly the same territory, i.e., China , Taiwan, Tibet, and Mongolia. Until 1972, the United States and most countries around the world chose to recognize the ROC regime as the sole, legitimate government of the whole territory.
When President Nixon and Henry Kissinger went to China in 1972 and shifted recognition from Taipei to Beijing, they substituted one abstraction of reality for another. The rise of the Soviet Union to superpower status had necessitated a Sino-American relationship; the United States perceived the need for a powerful ally in the area, able to counter the Soviet threat.
Indeed, on February 28, Nixon and Mao concluded the aforementioned Shanghai Communique. It completely neglected the rights and wishes of the people of Taiwan.
Today, with the recent tension in the Taiwan Strait it is becoming more and more clear that the `One China ' policy is an outdated and untenable relic of the cold war. It therefore needs to be abolished.
Constructive ambiguity, strategic ambiguity, and even tactical ambiguity are terms that arise when our relationship with Taiwan is being discussed. To prevent the recurrence of the recent crisis in the Taiwan Strait, we cannot afford to be ambiguous in our China policy ; it is time to acknowledge reality. There is one China and one Taiwan; the United States and the rest of the world should adjust their policy to current reality.
The people of Taiwan have fought long and hard to establish a democracy on their island. The world should respect their choice. And if their wish is recognition by the rest of the world of their status as separate from China , then the United States, as the leader of the free world, should take the lead in that process.
Mr. Chairman, we can make a beginning by acknowledging that Taiwan is not a part of China and scrap once and for all the outdated and unrealistic `One China ' policy .
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