In view of the visit of U.S. president Clinton to China, it is
important that the United States not only reaffirms its position as
laid down in the Taiwan Relations Act (non-use of force by China and
adequate provision of defensive arms to Taiwan), but also reaffirms
the right of the people of Taiwan to determine their own future.
These inalienable rights are enshrined in the Charter of the
United Nations, which read, in Chapter I, article 1.2: that the
Purposes of the United Nations are: "To develop
friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle
of equal rights and self-determination of peoples."
Taiwanese and Taiwanese-Americans are not against improvement of
relations with China, but object strongly if this would take place
at the expense of the 21.5 million people of Taiwan or their future
as a full, free, democratic and independent member of the
international family of nations.
The United States should also make it crystal clear that it
wholeheartedly supports that:
- the people of Taiwan have the right to determine their
- the People's Republic of China should accept Taiwan as
a friendly neighboring state, and
- the international community, and in particular those nations
which claim to adhere to democratic principles, will accept
Taiwan as a full and equal member in the international family of
nations, including the United Nations.
We argue that it is vital for the international community to
insist on the right for the people of Taiwan to determine their own
future: their voice was never heard in the earlier debates about the
future of the island. At Shimonoseki (1895), Cairo (1943), San
Francisco (1952), and Shanghai (1972), other powers made
pronouncements and decisions about the status of Taiwan without
consulting the people of the island.
This time around, it is essential that the people of Taiwan have a
free choice on their future. The "One China" policy is now
outdated. The notion that Taiwan is part of China is an
anachronistic fiction and should therefore be discarded immediately.
The native Taiwanese (85% of the population of the island) had
nothing to do with the Civil War in China, but from the 1940s on
became unwilling victims when the Kuomintang moved to the island and
established its repressive regime. We don't want the future of our
homeland to become a hostage to that Civil War.
The US and other democratic nations around the world owe it to the
people of Taiwan and to their own conscience that the principles of
freedom, democracy, and self-determination are upheld, and that
Taiwan is accepted in the international community as a free,
democratic and independent nation.
The large majority of the people in Taiwan consider themselves
Taiwanese, not Chinese -- in the same way the people in the United
States consider themselves Americans and not British anymore, in
spite of the fact that they speak English.
The Taiwanese have made it clear over the past years that we want
to be accepted in the international community as a free and
democratic nation. We emphasize that we wish to live side by side
with China as friendly neighbors, but will defend ourselves if
necessary to preserve our freedom and independence -- or in Western
words with a universal appeal: life, liberty and the pursuit
Taiwan doesn't want to be on a collision course with China, but it
is China which should stop its threats and aggression. Perpetuating
the "creative ambiguity" of the One China policy condones
China's aggression and fans the flames of Chinese nationalism,
endangering peace and stability in East Asia.
It is thus essential to let the Taiwanese decide their own future
without interference by China. It is time to "Say YES to Taiwan",
and accept our beautiful island, "Ilha Formosa", as a
free, democratic and independent member of the international
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