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The Impact Of Taiwanese Domestic Politics On Cross Strait Relations

1286 words - 6 pages

In 1996 the Republic of China held its first open presidential elections in which the incumbent Lee-Teng Hui, a benshengren born on the island, held his seat with a comfortable 54% of the vote. The run up to the elections saw the occurrence of The Third Taiwan Strait Crisis in which the PRC unsuccessfully attempted to intimidate voters in Taiwan, sending a message that the elections of Lee would ultimately mean war. In response the United States under the leadership of President Bill Clinton, acting as commander-in-chief, sent not one but two aircraft carriers into the straits, indicating military solidarity with the ROC. The exercise in brinksmanship magnified tensions in the straight and ...view middle of the document...

Furthermore, there is no question of abolishing the Guidelines for National Unification and the National Unification Council.

In his second term the Taiwanese identifying president redacted his statements by “ceasing” the National Unification Council, and declaring that the PRC had made it clear that it had intentions of using force. This could be explained by the PRC’s naval buildup reaching a visible height at that point.
US-Sino relations over the straight were based on Chen’s 4 noes, and Taiwan’s security relied on following those noes. Taiwanese scholar Yu-Shan Wu discusses a worst -case scenario in the event that the Island of Taiwan decides to pursue independence, violating the One China policy that comes out of the 4 noes. According to Yu’s analysis the United States would protect Taiwanese democracy citing “Washington’s time-honored commitment to Taiwan’s security,
the shared values between the two countries, and American strategic interests
in the region.”(Yu 617) While the U.S. shares democratic ideals, and has in the past defended the Taiwanese, it is hard to imagine that the government of The United States would aid an independent Taiwan in violation of previously stated policy, leading to the breakdown of relations with the PRC and 1/5th of the worlds population. Yu admits that this scenario would serve to only benefit a few (617), the United States not among them, claiming the scenario “haunts decision makers in Washington.” It seems that Yu recognized the disastrous implication Taiwanese independence would have on the US-PRC relations, but still believed that the US would defend the small island nation over, in Yu’s own words, “its most qualified challenger,” the PRC. (615)
Phillip Yang of The National Taiwan University challenges Yu, in his pieced titled “Doubly Dualistic.” Yang asserts that, “The United States has never wavered from its commitment to the one-China policy, and Washington’s commitment to Taiwan’s security is predicated on the premise that Taiwan does not provoke Beijing with independence.”(1) President Chen began his campaign of provocations early on when in 2002 he approved the printing of “Taiwan” on ROC passports. Chen continued to remove portraits of KMT leaders from public buildings and adding the word “Taiwan” next to “Republic Of China” at every opportunity. (“Taiwan Passport”) In 2003 Chen pledged that he would write a new constitution making Taiwan “a normal, complete, free state.” (Yang 2) The Bush administration did not support the new constitution or the referendum under which it was to be ratified. (Yang 3) Based on the Policy statements of the Bush administration presented by Yang it is impossible to conclude that because of shared history and democratic...

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