Taiwan Communiqué No. 81, June 1998

No to the "three noes"

Let the world say "YES" to Taiwan

As Mr. Clinton's visit to Beijing is getting closer, the U.S. press and Congress have focused attention on the new scandals in which Mr. Clinton finds himself embroiled, such as donations originating in the Chinese Army, export waivers for Loral satellites to China in exchange for campaign donations, and the leakage of sensitive space technology to the Chinese military.

There is one issue which is receiving less attention, but which is considered of vital importance by Taiwanese and Taiwanese-Americans: the safety and security of our homeland Taiwan, and its future as a free and independent nation. We are therefore deeply concerned by Mr. Clinton's apparent acquiescence in the so-called "three noes".

We wish to state clearly that any reiteration — oral or written — or even any acknowledgement of the "three noes" by the Clinton Administration amounts to a betrayal of Taiwan and its future as a free, democratic and independent nation. It would embolden China to move even more aggressively in isolating Taiwan, and would limit Taiwan's options in future negotiations.

{short description of image}
Senator Torricelli (D-NJ) with a message for the White House

It should be crystal clear to Mr. Clinton that the "three noes" are a violation of the basic principles of democracy and self-determination, for which the U.S. should stand, and which are enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. Mr. Clinton, you cannot play footsies with our future as a full and equal member of the international community.

Mr. Clinton, it is of the utmost importance that during your visit to Beijing, you should:

  1. state that the differences between China and Taiwan be resolved in a peaceful manner, and that China should renounce the use of force,
  2. express your full support for the right of the people of Taiwan to determine their own future under the principle of self-determination as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations,
  3. disassociate yourself clearly and unambiguously from the three noes

A new "three no" understanding ?

In their present form the "three noes" were mentioned for the first time by State Department spokesman James Rubin at the end of Jiang Zemin's visit of October 1997. At an October 31st press briefing he stated that "... we have a one-China policy that we don't support a one-China, one-Taiwan policy. We don't support a two-China policy. We don't support Taiwan independence, and we don't support Taiwanese membership in organizations that require you to be a member state (sic)."

This statement goes much further than anything stated earlier by U.S. administrations. The basic position has always been to say that the U.S. recognizes the government in Beijing as the legitimate government of China, and acknowledges (= take note of, but not agree with or recognize) the Chinese claims that Taiwan is part of China. In 1978, the U.S. derecognized the Kuomintang regime because it continued to claim sovereignty over China, but there has not been any policy debate yet about recognizing Taiwan as a free and democratic nation.

Over the past months, it has gradually dawned on the Chinese that the Rubin statement provided them with an opening for a "new understanding", and they have been pushing hard to get the Administration to formally codify this understanding.

While during recent hearings in the Senate (14 May 1998) and the House (20 May 1998), U.S. officials attempted to assure Congress that improvement of relations with Beijing would not be at the expense of Taiwan, Chinese officials were at the same time announcing that they had a "new understanding" with the US regarding Taiwan. Press reports to this effect were appearing in mid-May 1998 in theSouth China Morning Post and AFP from Beijing.

During abovementioned Congressional hearings, all witnesses (Professor Arthur Waldron in the Senate hearing, and former U.S. Ambassadors Nat Bellocchi and Jim Lilley in the House hearing) voiced opposition against the three noes (see Report from Washington, page 16).

It is thus imperative that the Clinton administration distance itself from Mr. Rubin's statement and start following a policy which is in line with the basic principles for which the U.S. professes to stand. Any deviation from these principles for the sake of dubious economic or commercial gain is unacceptable, both to the people of Taiwan who have worked long and hard to gain democracy, and to the American people who hold these principles high. A recent opinion poll (see page 7) reinforces this position.

USA to Beijing
The US on its way to Beijing, leaving Taiwan's "freedom, democracy, and self-determination" trio by the wayside.

As was stated in a recent op-ed article in the Washington Post: "President Clinton must make clear to Beijing that Taiwan's status and its relationship with the mainland will be determined by the Taiwanese in accordance with the principles set forth in the Taiwan Relations Act and the United Nations Charter — freely and peacefully" (Joseph Bosco: "Time to be clear on Taiwan", Washington Post, May 26th 1998).

In any case, the three US-China communiqués or any other statement between the United States and China are of little relevance to Taiwan. They are made without any involvement or representation of the people of Taiwan, and thus have no validity whatsoever in determining the future of the island, which should be decided by the people of the island themselves.

Remind the Chinese of the Shanghai Communiqué

Recently, we were just browsing the Internet, and on the website of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) found the text of the Shanghai Communiqué. Being curious whether it said anything about Taiwan independence, we searched .... and found the following section:

"The Chinese side stated: Wherever there is oppression, there is resistance. Countries want independence, nations want liberation and the people want revolution — this has become the irresistible trend of history. All nations, big or small, should be equal; big nations should not bully the small and strong nations should not bully the weak.

China will never be a superpower and it opposes hegemony and power politics of any kind. The Chinese side stated that it firmly supports the struggles of all the oppressed people and nations for freedom and liberation and that the people of all countries have the right to choose their social systems according to their own wishes and the right to safeguard the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of their own countries and oppose foreign aggression, interference, control and subversion."

Maybe somebody can remind the Chinese that they themselves have stated that

"...All nations, big or small should be equal..."

"...big nations should not bully the small and strong nations should not bully the weak..."

and last but not least:

"...the people of all countries have the right to choose their social systems according to their own wishes and the right to safeguard their independence..."

For the Taiwanese people these words ring very true ..... especially since they apply so well to Taiwan.

Back to: Table of Contents

Copyright © 1998 Taiwan Communiqué