One China, One Taiwan?

November 12, 2019
CHAPTER FOR DANA DILLON BOOK – "The China Challenge: Standing Strong Against the Military, Economic and Political Threats that Imperil America"



One China, One Taiwan?


Is there only one China?  Are there two?  Is the government of one China seated in Beijing and the other in Taipei?  Or perhaps Taiwan is wholly independent from China?  And if everyone agrees that Taiwan is independent "in fact" (de facto) from Chinese sovereignty, then what real difference does it make if it is "independent" in law (de juris)?


These questions are at the core of the China-Taiwan problem, a problem that has been an indigestible morsel of U.S. foreign policy at least since 1946 and still causes recurring bouts of gastric distress among American diplomats at the U.S. Department of State unto this day.  This is a long and complicated story that doesn’t begin in January of 1950, just three months after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China and while the last embers of the China’s civil war were still smoldering, but that day may be a good place to start.


The Chou Ming-hsun affair


            January 19th was a Thursday in 1950.  That afternoon, Mr. Chou Ming-hsun, known about Shanghai as a “fixer” with shady connections, called at the offices of the U.S. Economic Cooperation Administration, a vestige of the U.S. aid program run under the auspices of the American Consulate General in the city which had been under Chinese Communist governance since the previous May.  He had been sent, he said, by the communist general who had been placed in charge of Shanghai – and all of East China, in fact – Chen Yi ostensibly to discuss ESA assets disposal matters.  While U.S. government aid to China had halted when the communists took over, the Consulate General and its satellite offices still retained ownership of a number of buildings, vehicles and commodities that had to be liquidated before the Americans were forced to leave China.  


            Mr. Chou had a somewhat dodgy reputation among Shanghai’s foreigners prior to the city’s fall to the communists seven months earlier, but while other Chinese figures with connections to the Shanghainese underworld had been rounded-up and shot by the communists when the city fell, Chou was not.  Instead, he seemed to have latched onto the new regime and made himself useful.  The ECA chief, George W. St. Louis, was prepared to discuss business because Chou was to all appearances, at least an informal agent of General Chen Yi’s.  (In the 1970’s it emerged that Chou, then known as Zhou Mingxun, had in fact been an underground member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Shanghai organization.)  But Chou did not discuss nuts-and-bolts administrative issues.


            Instead, he launched into the very touchy topic of Chinese Communist factional rivalries, and General Chen Yi’s worries that Mao Zedong’s new national government in Beijing (or “Peking” as Westerners knew it in those days) was coming under the increasing influence of the Chinese communists’ pro-Soviet faction.  St. Louis arched an eyebrow, but listened.  Chou continued to detail the political infighting in Beijing and suggested that the Americans could help tilt the balance in the equation.  Chou went on until the alarmed St. Louis finally insisted that he was not the person to talk to, he was just an aid manager.  


            The next day, Chou returned and asked St. Louis to set up a meeting with an American consul.  Nonetheless, Chou continued his sensitive and heterodox analyses of the political situation among the Communist leadership.  General Chen, he said,  and another top communist commander Liu Bocheng were firmly opposed to Soviet influence in Beijing.  Several other top leaders, including Chen’s own political commissar in the East China Bureau, Rao Shushi, the chairman of the Northeast People’s Government Gao Gang, and Mao Zedong’s close military confidant General Lin Biao, were all pro-Soviet.


            Mao Zedong, who was in Moscow to negotiate a Chinese-Soviet alliance with Stalin “will probably return to [Beijing] only when the Russians ‘get good and ready’ to let him return.”  Information about Mao’s negotiations in Moscow was handled with the utmost secrecy in both capitals, but Chou seemed freely to dispense of it to the American official.  A split in the communist ranks was developing over Moscow’s control of Beijing policy.  The Moscow talks, Chou revealed, centered on Mao’s efforts to line up Soviet financial assistance while the Kremlin counter-pressured Mao for political commitments in return for Russian economic aid.  According to Chou


Mao is seeking (a) financial aid equivalent to 5 billion US dollars, ‘in addition to’ (b) machinery and other capital equipment, and (c) Taiwan invasion equipment (mainly planes), while Russians thus far have only offered 5 billion dollars value for all three categories combined.  On political side, Soviet demands include:  Control of Port Arthur [Lyuxun], Dairen [Dalian], Tsingtao [Qingdao], Chefoo [Yantai] and Haichow [Haizhou], and far-reaching Chinese concessions to “minority groups in the five provinces” [which the Consulate message presumed were Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Manchuria].  Comment: this last demand would seem most plausible, most clever and most significant as its acceptance would greatly facilitate complete domination of peripheral China by USSR . . .[1]


            When St. Louis finally managed to persuade Chou to tell this directly to the American Consul General, Walter P. McConaughy, the pitch began to make sense.  General Chen Yi apparently was charged with the invasion of Taiwan and did not relish the idea.  He wanted to convince the Americans that Mao Zedong’s arch nemesis, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek’s Chinese government-in-exile was far more dangerous to the U.S. in Asia than the communist Chinese, and that if the United States could ease up on Mao, then Mao would not be forced into a relationship with Moscow that he did not want.  Chou then indicated that the complicating factor was the continuing U.S. support for Chiang’s government in Taiwan.  China would be all too happy to realign itself away from Moscow (if not all the way toward Washington) if the United States would withdraw diplomatic recognition from Chiang and establish ties with Beijing. 


Five days later, the State Department relayed the substance of Mr. Chou’s revelations about Mao’s talks in Moscow to the U.S. Ambassador in France (later to be the first U.S. liaison officer in China in 1973) David K.E. Bruce, indicating that it had been corroborated by “several sources”.  Bruce “leaked” the information to C.L. Sulzberger of The New York Times, then visiting Paris.  Sulzberger’s story was a minor propaganda coup which underscored Moscow’s cut-throat dealings even with its fraternal socialist regime.  


Mr. Chou’s bona fides as an intermediary seemed buttressed by his information on Mao’s negotiations in Moscow – which were still secretly under way.  Nonetheless, McConaughy still needed solid proof that Chou was the genuine article.  Chou asked what evidence the Consul had in mind, and Consul A. Sabin Chase replied, as a starter, that General Chen release two U.S. military personnel, chief electrician William Smith and Army sergeant Elmer Bender who had disappeared near Tsingtao in October 1948, and on whom no precise information had been forthcoming.  Since Tsingtao was in General Chen Yi’s area of command, their release would convince McConaughy that Mr. Chou’s influence was indeed broader than just the Shanghai area.


            Tellingly, Chou said “a solution to the Smith-Bender case was by no means impossible,” and returned the following day, January 27, to say he had made inquiries and passed on, in considerable detail, the rather benign circumstances of the two men’s capture.  They had been in a reconnaissance aircraft that had been forced down in Shandong province, one was slightly wounded, they both had received medical attention, they were confined in “officers’ quarters” in a small village near Tsingtao and given “the best food available.”  However, their present whereabouts was unknown.  If they were still in General Chen’s zone, they could be released on request from the Consul General.  If they had been moved to another command, in Manchuria, for example, which was under the command of pro-Soviet generals, then it would be more difficult.  


            That said, General Chen was now upset that perhaps the Americans had misunderstood his overtures.  In fact, Smith and Bender were released four months later without explanation, and there was every indication that General Chen Yi may indeed have authorized Mr. Chou’s approaches.  In the end, McConaughy left Shanghai in April 1950 with the uneasy feeling that the Chou Ming-hsun affair was in fact carried out with General Chen’s approval.  But the abruptness with which contact had been broken off also suggested that General Chen may have tried to gain negotiating leverage for Mao in Moscow and that once the alliance negotiations were settled, in the last week of January, Chou’s overtures for contacts with the American government became less urgent or desirable.  (Another possibility was that the communist security services, which were not under General Chen’s control but that of his pro-Soviet political commissar Rao Shushi, had penetrated the American consular premises thus jeopardizing the mission.)


            There are indications in Consul General McConaughy’s dispatches that he believed General Chen sought an American-backed coup attempt in Taiwan against Chiang Kai-shek.  Chen hoped for a new regime in Taipei with whom Beijing could deal.  And one name mentioned, at least by McConaughy, was Sun Li-jen.  Indeed, as early as January 3, 1950, the Commander in Chief of Ground Forces in Taiwan, General Sun Li-jen told Colonel David Barrett, the U.S. Military Attache in Taipei, that “Gimo now knows about Sun[‘]s reported plans for coup.  He told Gimo this report Communist inspired . . .  Gimo apparently believes Sun story as much as he believes anyone.”  Barrett relayed this to the Pentagon in a top secret cable.


            On March 9, another officer with the U.S. Embassy in Taipei reported a secret message from General Sun which confided that


it was quite probable that he and a liberal group , believing that the reactionary Kuomintang Government was ruining Formosa and making it ripe for a communist takeover, would overthrow the Government and set up one responsive to the people’s will which, purged of corruption and incompetence, they felt could defend the island.  Sun wanted to know whether he could anticipate U.S. support.[2]


            General Sun Li-jen was the only one of Chiang’s generals in Taiwan that Americans felt comfortable with.  He had an engineering degree from Perdue University, and studied for three years at the Virginia Military Institute.  He fought in Burma under General Joseph Stilwell, and during the Ledo Road Campaign, was credited with having rescued a British force of 5,000 men trapped at the Yenanyaung oil field with his own force of Chinese soldiers numbering about 1,000.  But Sun was an outlier among Chiang’s generals.  His promotions came at the insistence of Chiang’s American allies during the Second World War, not via the old-boys network of Chiang’s protégés from the Whampoa Military Academy. 


Nitze’s Scenario


            On April 25, the Embassy in Taipei learned that Generalissimo Chiang had already begun to hedge his bets on General Sun, using several loyal generals to develop command structures that would neutralize Sun’s freedom of movement within the ground forces on Taiwan.  But there was still indication from Sun that his plans remained alive.  On May 3, 1950, the Director of Policy Planning, Paul H. Nitze, drafted a top secret planning document outlining his proposed response in the event of a coup by General Sun.  It was a masterpiece of forward thinking and offers a glimpse of what could have been. The substance of the memorandum reads as follows:


1. This Government should in no way be involved in Sun’s coup d’etat.  Our criteri[a], however, of a successful coup would be:  a) The elimination form power of all prominent members of the Kuomintang; b) Sun’s assumption of supreme command of all armed forces; c. the foregoing to be substantially completed within 48 hours; d. a public announcement by Sun within the first 24 hours that a new order was being established on Formosa in the interest of the people of the island and that the future status of the island remained to be decided after the establishment of a representative civil government.


2. Such a coup, given Sun’s political naïveté, would leave a dangerous political vacuum on Formosa.  It would therefore be advisable that we have prepared a list of political leaders who can take over civil administration in the immediate wake of the coup.  Within three days after the take-over, there should have arrived in Formosa the most competent American official that we can obtain for the purpose who should make contact with Sun to provide him with guidance from that time on.  This official should have been granted wide latitude of discretion by the Department and have the confidence of the Department of Defense and General MacArthur.


3. Thenceforward, the American hand in the running of Formosan affairs should be veiled but vigorous.  The island should not be promptly overrun by a horde of callow [American] operators.  Special missions and junkets to Formosa should be kept to a minimum.


4. Our principal objectives should be to make Formosa (a) a show window for Asia, demonstrating that freedom, with American support, spells prosperity and contentment and (b) a base for clandestine propaganda and subversive activities directed at Soviet imperialism on the continent.


5. The first of these objectives is an overt operation with will require more of what we have been doing in the past.  It may necessitate pressure on Sun to remind him that he must win and keep the support of the people through a model administration.


6. The political warfare objective is more far-reaching and delicate in nature.  If Formosa is to have effective political appeal in China: 


a. It must not be torn from the Chinese context; it must assume something of the status of Manchuria during the 20’s – as part of China yet not accepting the authority of the national government; 


b. It must not announce its hostility to all of the Chinese Communist regime; it must play on the fundamental divisive forces within the Chinese Communist leadership by assuming a neutral attitude toward the Communist generals near it and declaring its hostility only against the Bolshevized elements in North China and Manchuria; 


c. It must not alienate the population on the mainland by indiscriminate air attacks and blockade; it must seek the support of the mainland population through tactics of infiltration, agitation and organization.


7. Specifically, this means that the civil administration on Formosa should proclaim itself as an autonomous provincial government.  It should proudly claim to be the incubator of the new Chinese nationalism which will eventually liberate China from its colonial status under Soviet imperialism, bringing peace and plenty to the Chinese masses.


8. Sun should inform Chen Yi, Communist Commander at Shanghai, Yeh Chien-ying [Ye Jianying], the Communist leader at Canton, and possibly other Communist generals south of the Yellow River that Formosa has no hostile intent towards their areas; that his agents will operate through their territory but will not engage in subversion against their authority, their mission being to conduct revolutionary activities in North China and Manchuria; that he will, of course, resist any attacks on Formosa with full force; that at anytime they desire to reach a mutual accommodation with him, he will be prepared to deal with them; that if they wish to break off from Peking leadership they can expect his support, including assistance from his air force.


9. Now that it is evident that the Communists will not abandon their intention to launch an invasion against Formosa.  This raises the question whether Sun’s resources are sufficient to withstand such an attack.  We should, of course, provide the materiel he needs.  If it appears that he requires additional help in the form of American air and naval units, we should be forthcoming.  (This is based, of course, on the assumption stated earlier that this Government would be willing to commit its strength to holding Formosa).  It must be recognized that the U.S.S.R. may be willing to make a Spain out of the Formosan situation and that American units committed to this operation might find themselves faced by the best Soviet aircraft and submarines.


10. The most exacting task, and the one for which we are least prepared, would relate to the political guidance which we would have to give in this situation.  Because, so far as we know, no Chinese have come forward with an ideology which can counter Communism, we would have to seek out and work out with selected Chinese a synthetic ideology appealing to the Chinese people.  As we did this, we would have to experiment with the disoriented and nebulous resistance elements in China and Formosa seeking through a process of elimination a reliable organization which could function as an effective instrument of revolution in Communist China.  All of this would have to be done at a forced pace because time may well be running out on us.  Peking may begin to reverse the tide of chaos and extend the tentacles of its police system.


11. Because we would have to proceed under forced draft, it would be necessary to rely heavily on our gadgets; air and balloon drops of propaganda material, radio broadcasts, submarine and small surface vessels smuggling agents and materials, etc.  This would require the use of a large number of American covert operators.  Because they are constitutionally incapable of living inconspicuously, these operators should be confined to secluded bases on the Pescadores or on one or more of the smaller islands of the Ryukyu chain.[3]


In early June 1950, Deputy Undersecretary of State for policy, Dean Rusk, received a secret note from General Sun, hand delivered for security.  Rusk was on the staff of General Joseph Stilwell in Chungking, and fought in the Burma campaign where he had known and admired General Sun’s independence and intelligence.  Again, Sun said he was prepared to lead a military coup against Chiang and pleaded, if not for American support, at least for Washington’s acquiescence.  Rusk’s biographer seems to think this was the first Rusk had heard of the coup, which is not the case, but the gears of the bureaucracy turned creakily even then, and the outbreak of the Korean War prevented the matter from being considered at the White House.[4]


Geopolitics of the Chinese Civil War


            The 21st Century’s rivalry between Taiwan or China stems from the Chinese Civil War of 1945-1949, and was rooted in a rivalry between the corrupt and authoritarian Chinese Nationalist Party (the “Kuomintang” or “KMT”) under Chiang Kai-shek and the then-idealistic but wholly totalitarian Chinese Communist Party under Mao Zedong.  It is possible that Chiang might have prevailed eventually with unquestioning financial and military backing from the United States.  But the American government had temporarily lost its taste for Asian dictators (only to reacquire it as the Cold War progressed).  As late as March 1947, Chiang's armies had victoriously seized and occupied Mao's dusty – and empty – administrative capital in the cave-dwelling city of Yan'an just a few hundred kilometers south of the Gobi Desert.  But the occupation of Yan'an proved a Pyrrhic victory, for while Chiang's armies had galloped off in a cloud of dust to the west, the communist columns were tightening their nooses around his huge but isolated garrisons strung like pearls along 900 miles of Manchurian rail lines from Dalian through Shenyang and Changchun to Harbin.  In the end, the kleptocracy of Chiang's wealthy in-laws, the greediness and incompetence of his generals, the brutality of his allied warlords and the pervasive venality of his under-paid bureaucracy had sapped American enthusiasm for Chiang's regime, or "Free China" as it was known at the time.  To most China hands in the State Department, Mao's well-disciplined guerrilla army seemed an antidote to China's post World War II ills . . . if only they hadn't been communists.


            In August and September 1945, the Soviet Army had occupied Manchuria and had disarmed the defeated Japanese army.  Stalin had already occupied Mongolia, once an imperial Chinese vassal nation but independent from Beijing since 1921.  And the Soviet army had already made itself predominant in far western Xinjiang.  Manchuria, Mongolia and Xinjiang comprised a thick buffer of vast spaces separating mother Russia from chaotic China, and Mao's Red Armies offered potential Moscow influence throughout most of China north of the Yangtze River. Chinese historians now believe that Stalin's strategic aim in the Chinese Civil War was to preserve Chiang Kai-shek's regime south of the Yangtze in what they termed a "North-South Dynasty" posture (nanbei chao jumian).[5]  That is, Stalin wanted China to be as disunited as possible, with a Moscow satellite "Northeast People's Government" regime in Manchuria under the most openly pro-Moscow member of Mao's communist Politburo, Gao Gang; a rump North China state with a capital at Peking (Beijing); Chiang's Nationalist China with its seat at Nanking (Nanjing); and a Soviet-dominated autonomous region in Xinjiang which would nominally owe allegiance to Mao.


            America's strategic interest, on the other hand, lay in preventing the Eurasian landmass from drifting into Moscow's orbit.  President Harry S. Truman saw that China must be prevented from fracturing into a vast landscape of minor warlordies easily dominated by the Stalin's Soviet Union.  In December 1945, faced with a China that would soon explode in civil war, President Truman dispatched General of the Army George C. Marshall to Shanghai with the exhortation that a “strong, united and democratic China” was in “the most vital interests of the United States”.[6]  


            General Marshall understood the importance of a "strong, united and democratic China" to global stability and focused much of his attention on the "democratic" part, believing that a "strong" and "united" but un-democratic China would be at least a cohort of, if not a junior partner to, Moscow.  His first order of business, then, was to nudge the congenitally despotic Chiang toward the constitutional legitimacy of a democracy.


            The Nationalist Chinese dictator, Chiang Kai-shek, for his part, was sensitive to American accusations of corruption.  His advocates argue that Chiang tried mightily to bring genuine democracy to China, but that turning around a millennia-old culture of official corruption was a Herculean if not impossible task.  One of Chiang's first post-war initiatives was the framing of a democratic constitution for China.  


            The Republic of China’s National Assembly met in December 25, 1946 and passed a new constitution which explicated the sovereignty of the people over the administration of government, and watered down an old KMT proposal for a "Five Yuan Council" in an effort to create checks and balances that were not under the direct influence of the President.   At General Marshall's insistence a restrictive clause “except in accordance with law,” was removed from the enumeration of basic civil and political rights.  


The only hope I could see of obtaining Communist cooperation in the establishment of a representative form of government was along the following lines:  adoption by the National Assembly of a constitution in accord with the PCC principles . . . . If this constitution were adopted without vitiating amendments voiding the protections insisted upon by the liberals, if definite steps were taken to put this constitution into effect, if the other above described steps were taken . . . I thought the Communists would be in a weak position.[7]


            While General Marshall’s overall peace and mediation mission is seen in hindsight as a failure, it did have one minor success.  It persuaded Chiang Kai-shek to allow the passage of the new amended Constitution without its anti-democratic elements.   Regardless, Generalissimo Chiang apparently remained unconvinced that the Chinese people were ready for democracy.  


Can the people grasp the political power and present infringements upon it by the governing power?  At present, in my opinion, an absolute majority of the Chinese population have not yet developed such ability and habit.  It is dangerous to implement the [Five] Power Constitutional System without the least guarantee.[8]


            General Marshall's efforts to mediate the Chinese Civil War were less successful than his influence on the constitutional process.   Despite the General's reputation for neutrality and even-handedness, Chiang felt Marshall was undermining the legitimacy of his regime as the national government, and Mao suspected Marshall and the Americans were secretly supporting Chiang.  Chiang's strategy was to get his nationalist troops quickly into major cities being vacated by the Japanese before the communist guerrillas could dig in.  This was especially so in Manchuria where American planes airlifted whole Nationalist armies into Mukden, Changchun and Harbin as Soviet-backed Chinese communist columns were streaming into the countryside surrounding those cities. 


            Through 1946, Marshall had tried to broker a peace between Chiang and Mao.  But Chiang was in the habit of announcing a cease-fire at the same time he would launch an offensive.  In November, the Communists called a halt to peace talks and proceeded with general war.  Chiang had 2.7 million men under arms facing communist armies of 1.15 million.  In December 1946, Marshall judged that Chiang's armies were incapable of defeating the Communists.  Moreover, Marshall saw the "evident growing disapproval of the character of the local government, or misgovernment, that the Kuomintang was giving the country."[9]


            In the end, however, rampant corruption at all levels of Chiang's government, party and army soured American policy-makers.  By January 1949, over two billion dollars in U.S. aid to China had seemingly disappeared.  Chiang's generals had spread their armies throughout China only to be chewed up one by one in pitched battles from Shandong on the east seaboard to Manchuria in the far northeast.  Beijing and Tianjin fell to the Communist armies by early 1949.  Stalin's vision for a "north south dynasty" was understandable.  He had assumed that any competent commander in Chiang's place would have withdrawn his forces completely from north China and consolidated his defenses along the Yangtze River.  But Chiang could not bring himself to cede key cities to the rebels and instead invariably lost them in battle.  In the last year of the Chinese Civil war, Nationalist armies preferred to surrender or flee the field rather than fight.


            As of New Year’s day 1949, the handwriting was on the wall for Chiang Kai-shek.  He ordered the sea and air evacuation of over 2 million ounces of gold from central bank coffers throughout China (but mostly in Shanghai), and by January 28th another 500,000 ounces left – all for bank vaults in Taipei.  In a great show of magnanimity and humility, Chiang also resigned the Presidency of the Republic of China on January 21, and turned over reins of government to his vice president, Li Tsung-jen.  Chiang admitted he and the communists distrusted each other so much he could not effectively negotiate with them, leaving acting President Li with the hopeless work.  But Chiang retained his chairmanship of the KMT, and through the party controlled the bureaucracy.  He also remained as commander in chief of the army.  


            When Chiang finally regrouped his armies along the mile-wide Yangtze river, they were too demoralized and uncoordinated to hold the defensive line.  On April 21, the Communist legions attacked across the river at five points east and south of Chiang’s capital city of “Nanking” (Nanjing, or “Southern Capital”), and on May 27, Communist Armies marched into Shanghai.  


Acting President Li retreated to Canton, thence to central China’s wartime capital at Chungking, but had no control over the army, the bureaucracy, or most importantly, the nation’s gold reserves.  On June 21, Chiang formally established his “personal office” in Taipei from where he continued to run by remote control the last remnants of Nationalist authority in China.  Already, hundreds of thousands of Chinese politicians, KMT cadres, soldiers and bureaucrats were flooding into Taiwan. Chiang’s authority sprang from his chairmanship of the KMT, and the fact that China’s parliament was controlled by a virtual KMT monopoly of votes. By October 1, Mao Zedong felt sufficiently confident that his victory in the civil war was certain to declare the establishment of the "People’s Republic of China" in Pei-ping (which he renamed Beijing, or “northern capital”).  And in early December 1949, the seat of Chiang Kai-shek's "Republic of China" was removed to the island of Taiwan, and Taipei became the "provisional capital".


Taiwan in the Civil War


            Although the ultimate disposition of the island of Taiwan was a matter of debate for much of the war, U.S. and British diplomats finally agreed at Cairo in November 1943 that "territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa, and the Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China."  ("Formosa" was the name given the "beautiful" isle by 16th century Portuguese explorers, and it was a name that later Spanish and Dutch colonists adopted and persisted in the West until the 1950s.) 


            That intent was indirectly affirmed in July 1945 at Potsdam where Allied leaders declared only that Japanese sovereignty would be restricted to the four home islands and "and such minor islands as we determine."  But while "Manchuria" seemed to be considered Chinese territory on the date of Japan's surrender, Taiwan's status was still unclear.  When General MacArthur issued his surrender orders of September 2 to Japan's armed forces via the Imperial General Staff, he specified that "senior Japanese commanders and all ground, sea, air, and auxiliary forces within China (excluding Manchuria), Formosa, and French Indochina north of 16 degrees north latitude shall surrender to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek."  Clearly, MacArthur, at least, saw that Chinese territory included "Manchuria" (where Japanese forces would turn their swords over to the Soviet Red Army which already occupied the territory), but not "Formosa". The surrender, by the way, was to be "on behalf" of the victors, the U.S. Britain, Russia, Australia and China.  To some, these remained significant legal points the importance of which would begin to emerge a year and a half later.


            In late September 1945, General Chen Yi, former governor of Fujian province with a spotty warlord background who was at the time serving as secretary general to Chiang’s cabinet, was named Governor of Taiwan and arrived in Taipei October 23.  On October 25, he declared a formal “retrocession” of the island to Chinese sovereignty.  But with all of Chiang’s best soldiers busy fighting the communists on the Chinese mainland, Chen Yi’s troops were notably ill-disciplined, uneducated, poor and tended toward theft and abuse.  Almost immediately, the social situation on Taiwan began to deteriorate.  The orderly, prosperous and well policed Japanese colony descended quickly into semi-chaos after battalions of Chinese soldiers began to show up in November.  By March 1946, American newspaper readers found front page accounts of Chinese plunder in Taiwan.  A Scripps Howard journalist reported that the Chinese state monopoly on Taiwan rice sent local prices soaring 1000 percent, with similar price hikes on other monopolized commodities such as coal, sugar and salt.  Crime was rampant.  If it wasn’t committed by soldiers, lowlife in the cities took advantage of the situation.  Whatever former Japanese businesses that the government couldn’t absorb were quickly confiscated by the KMT party itself.  Newspapers, movie theatres, radio stations, and the like, all guaranteed the KMT a propaganda lock on information.  


But there is no denying that a substantial number of Kuomintang Party cadres who accompanied the occupying army were idealistic professional political organizers.  They moved quickly to prepare elections for the Taiwan provincial People’s Political Council (PPC).  They organized local PPC elections in February-March 1946 and arranged for the PPC to meet in formal session on May 1, 1946.


             The Taiwan PCC spent that first ten-day session examining a vast spectrum of administrative corruption and incompetence ranging from police abuse and extortion, a collapse of the public health system, unpaid teachers and university staff, appropriation of public corporations, intimidation of journalists and editors, the failure of the government to pay its bills (China National Aviation Corporation cut off scheduled air service to Taiwan for a month for failure of the occupation administration to pay its debts), refusal to put local Formosans in government positions, and widespread looting of commercial shipments.  The delegates assailed the Taiwan Military Garrison commander for permitting his troops to engage in massive and indiscriminate looting (he stalked out of the session without replying).[10]


            In a report to the State Department, the Embassy in Nanking specifically noted that the Nanking Government's representatives met with:


"Outspoken and forceful criticism from an articulate and intelligence body of local representatives, spokesmen for a public whose general level of education and information is considerably higher than the average for the mainland from which the government officials come.  Attempts to limit debate, questioning and criticism and to slur over important but embarrassing problems met with spirited opposition."[11]


            It is clear that throughout 1946, Formosans readily adapted to the concept of representative democracy and awaited the new constitution with optimism and anticipation.  But the Kuomintang was not yet ready to confer democracy on a population that could actually make use of it.  On January 10, 1947, governor Chen Yi:


announced that China's New Constitution would not apply to Formosa when it went into effect on the Mainland on December 25, 1947.  The mainland Chinese, he said, were advanced enough to enjoy the privileges of constitutional government, but because of long years of despotic Japanese rule, the Formosans were politically retarded and were not capable of carrying on self-government in an intelligent manner.[12]  


            It was too much for the Taiwanese.  Governance and lawlessness had gone from bad to worse.  Sporadic demonstrations erupted throughout the island.  And on the evening of February 27, six policemen tried to arrest a woman for selling contraband cigarettes at a stall in the square at Taipei train station.  A crowd of angry onlookers surrounded the police, and when one officer struck the woman, the crowd heckled the police.  When a policeman’s gun went off killing a bystander, the crowd set upon the police.  The next day, February 28, 1947, some 3,000 Taiwanese marched in demonstration to the tobacco monopoly headquarters and thence on to Governor Chen’s office.  A government guard fired into the crowd, killing one of the protesters, a killing that sparked a paroxysm of violence throughout the city against mainlanders.  Immediately, the “2-28” rioting spread down the Island engulfing most of the bigger cities in turmoil that lasted for days.  The demands of the Taiwanese rebels included an end to corruption, reforms of the monopoly systems, greater home-rule for Taiwanese, and indeed some demonstrators wanted the Chinese off their island altogether.  Some even approached American consular officials in Taipei about the possibility of establishing a United Nations trusteeship government for Taiwan, preferably administered by the United States which had also take over administration of Japan’s nearby Ryukyu Islands.  


Hundreds of Taiwan’s leading citizens emerged after the violence died down to pacify their countrymen and to mediate with Governor Chen – who had already cabled Chiang Kai-shek for reinforcements.  For four more days, Chen temporized in his talks with the Taiwanese leaders, waiting, no doubt, for new troops to arrive. 


            The rebellion was suppressed effectively – during the course of which perhaps 10,000 Taiwanese were seized and summarily executed, with another 8,000 to 10,000 rounded up and shot in the ensuing months.  The dead included prominent Taiwan political leaders whose only crime was to attempt to mediate the uprising.  But the thousands of dead (generally reckoned at 18,000 out of a population of six million) included prosperous businessmen, college students, landowners, the elite of Taiwan’s society.  It was d


After February 28, even local and village elections were cancelled and the Island was immediately put under martial law.  Taiwan was not allowed to hold elections until 1950, and no new elections for National Assembly or Legislative Yuan members until 1969 – and then only for assemblymen and legislators from Taiwan.[13]  


The wanton corruption of the KMT administration in Taiwan which led to the February 28 Uprising and the bloody pogrom against Taiwanese elites that followed was a deep embarrassment to the United States.  The American ambassador in Nanking was obliged to portray U.S. support for Chiang's regime as aid to a democracy under siege from a communist rebellion.   In April 1947, Ambassador Stuart appealed to Chiang Kai-shek saying: 


Throughout 1946 Formosans sought permission to elect city mayors and hsien magistrates, in order to ensure themselves of some direct control over local police and over economic functions and public services.  The announcement of China’s new Constitution was greeted with relief.  Prominent Formosan leaders counseled that demands for local elections could wait until the Constitution would become effective at the end of 1947.   In early January, however, the Governor-General announced that although the Constitution would be effective on the mainland on December 25, 1947, it would be impossible for the Government to allow local elections of mayors and magistrates in Formosa until December 1949.  This had an effect which stirred political discussion to a new pitch.  Formosans state that until they can elect their own representatives at all levels of local government they will have no security of person; they cannot control the local police, ensure the enforcement of law nor enjoy security of property.[14]  


            So disturbed were American policy-makers about the abuse the Taiwanese people, newly liberated from the Japanese colonial yoke, at the hands of Governor Chen, his venal KMT cadres and his ill-led soldiers that they began to back away from the idea that now Taiwan was, in fact, sovereign Chinese territory.  Most American diplomats accepted that the immediate post-war policy intention for the disposition of Taiwan was to reunite it with China.  After the "2-28" pogroms, however, this no longer seemed to be a prudent idea. 


            On April 11, Acting Secretary of State Dean Acheson declared that the transfer of sovereignty over "Formosa" to China "has not yet been formalized."  The "2-28" uprising was also a wake-up call to Chiang himself who, by 1949 had begun to realize that his regime would be spending an extended period of exile on the Island of Taiwan.  Chiang was already under notice that the United States did not yet regard Taiwan as under formal Chinese sovereignty -- although it was "legally administered" by Chiang under the terms of the Japanese surrender.  Accordingly, Chiang realized that his minions must clean up their respective acts if they were to retain any durable international legitimacy on the island.  


            On the one hand, Chiang felt constrained to ratchet-up the repression of Taiwanese dissent, and most especially the ever-growing (but subterranean) sentiment for "Taiwan Independence" from China.  On Taiwan, a "White Terror" (as opposed to a communist "Red Terror") reigned which was fairly effective in making political opposition unhealthy for natives.  On the other hand, Chiang's bureaucrats implemented a rather sweeping land reform program which limited landholdings, gave excess acreage to tenant farmers, and compensated landowners for the confiscation of their properties with share ownership in local Japanese industries and businesses that had been appropriated by the mainland occupying authorities.  At least, the politically astute Taiwanese landowners were able to wangle shares in the nationalized firms.  Unlucky ones were compensated with "rice bonds" which were generally assumed among native elites to be worthless Chinese trickery only to find out later (after they had sold them at pennies-on-the-dollar to speculators) that, indeed, they had held their value quite nicely.


            The immediate effect of the "land to the tiller" program was to ingratiate the new KMT regime to the disaffected poor tenant farmers in Taiwan, a goodly number of whom were ethnic "Hakka" countrymen.  The land reform also infused the economy with new capital which seemed to revitalize enthusiasm for entrepreneurship.  By the end of 1949, it became clear Chiang on Taiwan that he was not going to "retake the Mainland" from the Communists anytime soon.  Although there was still scattered resistance to communist rule throughout China's south and southwest, on the Burmese border, and although the communists had still not occupied Hainan island in China's southern extremity or the offshore Chu-shan islands just south of Shanghai, that the Chinese Communists would consolidate their hold throughout China was a foregone conclusion. 


            To make matters worse, Chiang was left in no doubt that the United States intended not to lift one finger in his defense should Mao's forces invade.  On January 12 1950, Secretary of State Acheson gave seminal foreign policy speech entitled "Crisis in China - An Examination of United States Policy" at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., in which Acheson accused Chiang of squandering his support among the Chinese people. Chiang was, in Acheson's words, "a refugee on a small island off the coast" of China.  The United States, Acheson stated flatly, was committed only to defending a "defense perimeter" in the Western Pacific that fan from the Aleutian Islands, through Japan to the Philippines -- leaving Taiwan and South Korea outside the pale.  Chiang's army began to dig in on Taiwan's beaches for an expected communist invasion across the Taiwan Strait -- scheduled, intelligence officials estimated, for August 1950.


            On May 31, thought was even given to dispatching John Foster Dulles to Taipei, where

[t]he Gimo [Chiang] would be approached with word that (a) the fall of Formosa in the present circumstances was inevitable, (b) the US would do nothing to assist Gimo in preventing this, (c) the only course open to the Gimo to prevent the bloodshed of his people was to request UN trusteeship. The US would be prepared to back such a move for trusteeship and would ready the fleet to prevent any armed attack on Formosa while the move for trusteeship was pending.[15]


Taiwan and America’s Strategic Interests in the Pacific


            And then a miracle happened.   Late at night on June 25, 1950, Communist armies of North Korea under Korean People's Army commander Kim Il Sung, fully armed, supplied and fuelled on direct orders from Moscow, trained and commanded by Soviet military advisors (who disappeared into the background just weeks earlier), struck out across the formal post-war line of demarcation at the 38th Parallel between the Soviet occupied zone in the north and the American zone in the south.  In Washington and throughout the west, Marshal Kim's attack was a clear case of communist aggression.  It fit a pattern of Moscow-directed aggression in Eastern Europe, the Berlin Airlift, the Greek civil war, guerrilla fighting in Turkey, not to mention the communist victory in China.  


            Within 48 hours, President Truman ordered the U.S. Seventh Fleet into the Taiwan Strait with orders to prevent either side from taking advantage of the situation to attack the other.  With the Korean War, Taiwan suddenly reemerged in the U.S. political consciousness as “Free China” (though it was far from “free” in an American sense of the word.  

Truman called upon the "Chinese Government on Formosa" to cease all hostilities against the mainland, and stated that "the determination of the future status of Formosa must await the restoration of security in the Pacific, a peace settlement with Japan, or consideration by the United Nations."  The United States delegation to the United Nations asserted on August 25, 1950 that "the actual status of the island [Taiwan] is that it is territory taken from Japan by the victory of the allied forces in the Pacific," that the "Chinese Government was asked to take the surrender of the Japanese forces on the Island.  That is the reason the Chinese are there now."


            Ten days after the U.S. Army entered the North Korean capital at Pyongyang, and barely a month after the American amphibious landing at Inchon routed and ultimately destroyed the main force of the North Korean Army, on the night of October 16, 1950, eighteen divisions of “Chinese People’s Volunteers”, about 200,000 men[16], slipped “all at once” across the Yalu and proceeded stealthily by secondary roads and trails to wooded staging areas to await their initial offensive.[17]  They soon began harassing, here and there, small units of Americans who were spread thin throughout in what was assumed to be mopping-up operations. By November 24, there were “a total of 450,000 Chinese troops in Korea, including 380,000 combat fighters.”  And with that, the Chinese communist armies began the first of five bloody campaigns that would push the Americans, South Korean and United Nations forces back south of the Thirty-Eighth Parallel several times over the next six months.  China and America were at war (albeit that the Chinese claimed their troops were “volunteers”).  


            The United States, thereafter, was in no mood to be solicitous of Chinese sensitivities regarding Taiwan.  Chinese leaders fulminated about Chiang’s bandit regime in Taipei and Chiang reciprocated word-for-word.  Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek were rivals to the throne of China, Mao in the northern capital, and Chiang in exile offshore.  The matter of Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan was a matter of regime legitimacy in both Beijing and Taipei.  As long as a rival authority existed in Taipei, Beijing considered the Chinese Civil War to be unfinished.  And the longer Chiang’s regime was confined to the island of Taiwan, the more tenuous was the legitimacy of his own rule.  


Americans were sympathetic to neither side.  Their main criterion for supporting Chiang was American national interests.  The San Francisco Peace Treaty which formally tied up loose ends from Japan's surrender, could reasonably have been to have resolved the matter of Taiwan’s sovereignty, but the United States delegate (and future secretary of state) John Foster Dulles, argued that the situation in the Pacific was so uncertain that "the wise course" on Taiwan was "to resolve doubts by invoking international solvents other than this treaty."  To which the British delegation agreed that "The treaty itself does not determine the future of these islands."   The Soviet delegate, ostensibly incensed at this "intentionally omits any mention of the further fate" of Taiwan, refused to sign the treaty.


            Even Chiang's own foreign minister who signed a separate peace treaty with Japan in April 1952, had to admit to the Legislative Yuan, the Chinese parliament in exile in Taipei, that Taiwan was not -- legally speaking -- Chinese territory.  "In fact, we are controlling [Taiwan and the Pescadores islands] now . . . However, the delicate international situation makes it that they do not belong to us," he explained adding that "under present circumstances, Japan has no right to transfer Taiwan and the Pescadores to us; nor can we accept such a transfer from Japan even if she so wishes."


            Through the Korean War, the question “Who Lost China” became one of many campaign slogans with which the Republicans thwacked the Truman Administration.  With former General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower’s victory in the 1952 presidential election, Taiwan soon became the recipient of massive amounts of new American military and economic aid – which this time Chiang spent more wisely and effectively than he could ever have hoped in the chaos of post-War Chinese mainland.  Land reforms increased agricultural production and by the early 1960s, Taiwan’s government implemented a new industrialization strategy to foster rapid export-led growth for three decades to come.  


But even a United States under President Eisenhower, while formally recognizing Chiang Kai-shek's government as the sole legitimate government of China, declined to recognize that his government had "sovereignty" (as opposed to administrative authority) over Taiwan.  It was a rational paradox. As a “top secret” State Department position paper destined to be communicated by Secretary Dulles to British foreign minister Anthony Eden in October 1954 put it, the future status of Taiwan and the Pescadores


. . . was deliberately left undetermined, and the U.S. as a principal victor over Japan has an interest in their ultimate future.  We are not willing that that future should be one which would enable a hostile regime to endanger the defensive position which is so vital in keeping the Pacific a friendly body of water.”[18]


The language of the memorandum resonated with General Douglas MacArthur’s doctrine of America’s strategic interests in the Western Pacific articulated in his “Farewell Address to Congress” of April 19, 1951.


The Pacific no longer represents menacing avenues of approach for a prospective invader. It assumes, instead, the friendly aspect of a peaceful lake. Our line of defense is a natural one and can be maintained with a minimum of military effort and expense. It envisions no attack against anyone, nor does it provide the bastions essential for offensive operations, but properly maintained, would be an invincible defense against aggression. 


The holding of this littoral defense line in the western Pacific is entirely dependent upon holding all segments thereof; for any major breach of that line by an unfriendly power would render vulnerable to determined attack every other major segment.  This is a military estimate as to which I have yet to find a military leader who will take exception. For that reason, I have strongly recommended in the past, as a matter of military urgency, that under no circumstances must Formosa fall under Communist control. 


            This “littoral defense line in the western Pacific” remained the centerpiece of U.S. policy in East Asia until President Richard M. Nixon’s historic opening to China in July 1971.  Nixon and his national security advisor Henry Kissinger, stressed by the Vietnam War and Soviet nuclear threats to China, lost sight of America’s core strategic interests in the Pacific Ocean to focus on the more immediate threat of Soviet expansion and hegemony on continental Asia.  China, to them, was a potential counterweight to the USSR on the Eurasian landmass.  


Taiwan’s expulsion from the United Nations


            Until 1971, the Republic of China in Taipei, not the People’s Republic in Beijing, continued to hold the Chinese seat in the United Nations Security Council.  For two decades, with U.S. support, together with a healthy suspicion of communism among third world regimes plus a liberal dose of Taiwan’s foreign aid funding for third world friends, the ROC representatives had managed to ensure the issue of “China representation” remained an “important question” for the United Nations – and hence one that could be blocked by a Taiwan veto in the Security Council.  But in March of that year, support for the “important question” issue had dwindled to a dangerously low margin in the General Assembly and a switch of only eight votes would cross the two-thirds majority threshold.  When that happened, the matter of Taiwan’s representation would be taken out of the Security Council’s hands and land it in the U.N. General Assembly where it would pass easily with a majority vote. 


            The State Department in Washington proposed a new “dual representation” strategy and a “reverse important question” tactic that would table a vote on representation for both Taiwan and China in the General Assembly on the basis that it was not an “important question.”  But after so many years, and the considerable erosion of diplomatic support for Taiwan in the GA, a ‘reverse important question” was no longer a sure thing.


            That very month, March, Nixon’s secret feelers to Beijing began to produce results.  Pakistan’s president Yahya Khan had broached the subject of a hypothetical Nixon visit to China during a trip to Beijing, and he told Nixon that the Chinese leadership had responded favorably.  The stage was set for Kissinger’s secret visit to Beijing in July 1971.  Needless to say, the success of Kissinger’s China journey severely complicated American policy making on the “dual representation” question.  The State Department went ahead as it always had, but it lacked the enthusiasm of the White House.  In the meantime, China quietly rounded up support for a resolution sponsored by Albania which would remove Taipei’s representative from the Security Council and seat Beijing’s.  Chiang Kai-shek, having been assured that the United States whole-heartedly supported Taipei’s retention of its Security Council seat, eschewed all thought of “dual representation.”  Could Chiang stomach a “Two Chinas” outcome?  Would it mean that Chiang’s “China” only represented Taiwan?  And if so, who did all his legislators and national assemblymen elected a quarter century earlier on the Chinese mainland represent?  After all, their legitimacy was the foundation of his own.


A Chinese Republic of Taiwan? 


Friday, November 26, 1971, was just another day in Taipei.  It was the day after Thanksgiving and the 12,000 American military and diplomatic personnel and civilians with the various intelligence services stationed in Taiwan – and their families -- generally took the day off leaving only skeleton staff in their offices.  The local newspapers said the day was “cloudy” with intermittent showers, temperatures ranging into the low-eighties Fahrenheit.  For foreigners in Taipei, it was a plausible day for shopping, but a bit too warm, thick and wet for sightseeing. Even the U.S. Embassy’s isolated visa section on Nanking East Road closed its doors to allow the lone and overworked vice consul to calm his nerves after several hectic weeks of visa-stamping.  In the space of a month, lines at the visa office went from a manageable 40 a day to over 160 a day by Thanksgiving eve. News that Taiwan’s representative had peremptorily been booted out of the United Nations to make room for a new delegation from Beijing sparked anxieties among Taipei’s population, many of whom decided that it would be best to get a long-term U.S. visa in their passports – just to be safe. 


U.S. Ambassador Walter P. McConaughy, too, planned to relax at his Victorian walled residence built in the Japanese colonial-era on bustling and noisy Chung-Shan North Road, Taipei’s main street.  But his morning coffee was interrupted by a phone call from his secretary who had drawn short straw for Friday duty in the Embassy's front office. She patched through a senior vice minister at the Foreign Ministry.  Vice Minister Yang Hsi-kun, or “H.K. Yang” to his American friends, had vital business that could not wait. Ambassador McConaughy no doubt suggested that the minister come around to his residence for lunch. It was a convenient 15-minute limo ride from the Foreign Ministry. Surely, a casual lunch would be convenient.


Vice Minister Yang, however, demurred. He would meet the ambassador just after noon at a discreet restaurant (we don’t know which one) where they could talk privately. In hindsight, it seems likely that vice minister was attentive to the likelihood that chit-chat in the American ambassador’s parlor was quite audible to the listening devices of Taiwan’s security agencies. Instead, he preferred a less public venue—one of the private dining chambers of a fashionable downtown restaurant, perhaps. 


Ambassador McConaughy sensed that H. K. Yang’s voice carried more than the usual insistence for such meetings. Just one month before, on October 25, the United Nations voted to expel the representatives of the Republic of China on Taiwan (ROC) and seat the People’s Republic of China despite what Henry Kissinger called “valiant efforts” by the United States to pursue “dual representation” for both Taipei and Beijing. 


Expulsion from the United Nations was a dash of cold water on Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek’s hopes that his “Republic of China,” operating in Taipei, would ever again return victorious to mainland China. At the U.N. expulsion, some of Chiang’s top foreign policy aides immediately foresaw a diplomatic imperative of splitting Taiwan from China in the international context.


This, of course, was what the Vice Minister needed to impress upon the U.S. ambassador. The minister did not waste time on niceties as he entered the dining chamber alone with Ambassador McConaughy. “Almost immediately,” the ambassador reported, the minister launched “into a discussion of the critical situation.” Taiwan’s expulsion was an essential element of Beijing’s relentless “drive to isolate the GRC [Government of the Republic of China] internationally and force general recognition of the ChiCom [Chinese Communist] right to take over Taiwan as an integral part of China.”  The term “ChiCom” was a holdover from World War II days when American officials differentiated between “ChiNats” –the Chinese Nationalists under Chiang – from the ChiComs under Mao Zedong.  Minister Yang would have used the Chinese term “Zhonggong” if he had been speaking Chinese to Ambassador McConaughy – but despite McConaughy’s long experience in China (he had been the last American Consul General to leave China when he was expelled from Shanghai ten months after the communists took the city in May 1949), he spoke very little Chinese.  Minister Yang spoke in English, and referred to the Peking regime simply as “the communists.”  


Yang had been present in New York the previous month when the fateful U.S. vote was tallied and watched in horror as the Tanzanians danced in the aisles, the Algerians embraced, and the Albanians quietly shook hands when China’s victory was announced.  He wasted no time exiting the building and returning to Taipei for conferences with Chiang Kai-shek and his advisers.  Evidently those conferences were frustrating.


Yang confided to McConaughy that he told Chiang “it is of paramount importance” that Chiang issue a formal “declaration to the world that the government on Taiwan is entirely separate and apart from the government on the Mainland.”  Yang drew a breath and, according to McConaughy, described a virtual “declaration” of Taiwan independence.  


The declaration, he began, should prescribe a new designation for the government here: “The Chinese Republic of Taiwan.” It would be stipulated that the term “Chinese” did not have any political connotation but was used merely as a generic term stemming from the Chinese ethnic origin of the populace on Taiwan. It would be used in a way similar to the manner in which the various Arab countries use “Arab” in their official governmental titles.  But “Taiwan Independence” was a phrase fraught with profound implications for the very legitimacy of Chiang Kai-skek’s Chinese Nationalist regime, and the minister was not lightly sharing his views with the American envoy.  President Chiang suspected (erroneously, as it turns out) that the Americans were giving financial and moral support, covertly via the Central Intelligence Agency, to native Taiwanese who wanted to overthrow his government.


Yang had considered the legalities of such a declaration, McConaughy recalled:


The President in making the sort of declaration described should concurrently, or very soon thereafter, use his emergency powers to set aside the constitution and dissolve all of the parliamentary type bodies. He should then set up a new unicameral provisional representative body to be composed of two-thirds Taiwanese and one-third mainlanders. A new cabinet should be formed with some Taiwanese and some younger men included. He said a new image needed to be created with the government freed of the outworn trappings, encumbrances and shibboleths of the [Kuomintang] Party[19] and the establishment. He said the emergency decree of the President should provide for an island-wide referendum with universal suffrage to determine the future status of Taiwan and provide for a constituent body.[20]


Although “Taiwan Independence” was anathema, the minister reassured the ambassador, his was not a far-fetched idea. Retired Foreign Minister George K. C. Yeh and future premier Y. S. Tsiang supported him. Moreover, said Yang, he had spoken “very privately” with Chiang Kai-shek and found the President “impressively open-minded and willing to listen.”


This was not true, Yang continued, of most others in Chiang’s immediate circle (and contrary to Yang’s characterization of the Gimo as “open-minded” it probably wasn’t true of him either).  Madame Chiang, Yang ruminated, “seems determined not to budge an inch from the old claims, pretensions and ‘return to the mainland’ slogans,” and Madame’s “malign” nephew, H. L. Kung, “from the security of his New York residence, is waging a reactionary campaign for the GRC to stand absolutely rigid.” Inertia would prevent movement, and this was at the crux of Yang’s plea to McConaughy.


While Yang believed that President Chiang “is increasingly convinced of the imperative requirement for some early and radical action,” he was even more certain that Chiang would not “move without the application of a powerful persuasive effort by the U.S. government.” 


In fact, Chiang had already been softened up by the Japanese, Yang revealed. In the summer of 1971, while Beijing’s support in the United Nations metastasized across the General Assembly, Chiang’s top aide, Presidential Office Secretary General Chang Chun, conferred in Tokyo with Prime Minister Eisaku Sato and former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi. (The late Mr. Kishi, by the way, was the grandfather of Japan’s current cabinet secretary, Shinzo Abe, himself a potential prime minister of Japan). The advice from two of Japan’s most powerful politicians was blunt: “the only hope for the future of the Republic of China was to adopt a course of separation, giving up all Mainland claims and pretensions.”


Understandably, the blandishments of the Japanese—Taiwan’s former colonial overlords—were unpersuasive to Chiang, who himself had battled Japanese armies on the Chinese mainland during nine years of bloodshed and atrocity from 1936 through 1945. Chiang blamed the Japanese war for his defeat by the communists in 1949.  No, the Japanese were not to be trusted.  But a similar jolt from the United States, Yang believed, especially if it came in the form of a top U.S. statesman like Vice President Spiro Agnew, or someone Chiang trusted, like former Congressman Walter Judd or retired General Albert C. Wedemeyer, could generate momentum and legitimize the advocacy of separatist policies among Chiang’s more progressive advisers. 


McConaughy listened attentively and evinced sympathy.  But, of course, nothing ever came of Minister Yang’s overtures to the United States about pressuring Chiang to “set aside the constitution” and establish a “Chinese Republic of Taiwan.” Henry Kissinger had already made a secret pledge to Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai earlier that summer that the Nixon Administration would not support such a policy. For the following seven years, the United States followed a modality that Kissinger described to Zhou, saying “this is temporarily one China, one Taiwan.” 


There is ample evidence that, had the United States not opened channels to China in 1971, the United States would have continued to push its “dual representation” model for Beijing and Taipei in the United Nations. The international community would have welcomed it: Certainly Japan was supportive, as were a number of other major nations. Beijing would have resisted but no doubt in the end would have accepted a U.N. seat under protest.


            Like so much in history, however, if one thing had happened, another would not have, and the “Catch-22” for a “Chinese Republic of Taiwan” was that President Chiang in Taipei would have accepted it only if he had actually been expelled from the U.N.; and the People's Republic would never have allowed an independent Taiwan Republic unless it had been a fait accompli before the PRC took over the Chinese seat on the United Nations Security Council.  Once Taiwan had absented itself from the UN, it was never going to get back in.


            Five years later, as President Gerald Ford’s Secretary of State, Dr. Kissinger had a chance to muse about the risks inherent in a policy that accepted that Taiwan is “part of China.” On October 29, 1976, Secretary Kissinger asked his top China aides: “If Taiwan is recognized by us as part of China, then it may become irresistible to them. Our saying we want a peaceful solution has no force: it is Chinese territory. What are we going to do about it?” Arthur Hummel, then Assistant Secretary of State and later ambassador to Beijing, responded, “Down the road, perhaps the only solution would be an independent Taiwan.” 


            The international context of the 1970s was such that China remained a minor strategic power and an even more diminutive trade power whose global diplomatic footprint was faint. Constitutional changes along the lines of H. K. Yang’s vision would no doubt have caused apoplexy in Beijing but only minor heartburn in Washington. It would have been secretly cheered in Tokyo and shrugged off in the rest of the world, which at the time simply didn’t care.


            But the United States cared now.  China was America’s new strategic ally against the Soviet Union.  The high geopolitics of China policy enthralled America’s opinion elites through the decade of the 1970’s.  Americans did not especially seek to alienate China, nor was there any concern that Taiwan’s security would be in jeopardy.  Moreover, Taiwan had been a rock-ribbed authoritarian state for decades, and the moniker “Free China” was wearing thin.


Still, the traumas of Watergate, U.S. defeats in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, the failure of Carter’s policies which allowed Islamic extremism in Iran to prevail over the Shah’s rule, new Soviet client states in Africa, CIA scandals, and finally the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan helped Ronald Reagan rebalance U.S. foreign policy back towards American interests and away from the Nixon-Kissinger realpolitik and President Jimmy Carter’s idealism of unintended consequences.  


At the beginning of the China initiatives in 1971, then-California Governor Reagan had been deeply unsettled by Nixon’s summary treatment of Taiwan.  Because of Reagan’s impeccable credentials as a friend of Taiwan, Nixon sent him as a “special envoy” to Taipei to convince Chiang of America’s continued goodwill.  Before his departure across the Pacific, the California governor declared that Nixon “has been blunt in his declarations that we will not under any circumstances desert an old friend and ally . .  . give anything away, or betray our honor.  If I am wrong, and that should be the result – time then for indignation and righteous anger.”[21]  Reagan later consoled himself with the thought that 140 Soviet ground force divisions on the Chinese border damped Moscow’s temptations for adventures in the Middle East and Europe.  (In 1978-79, as he prepared for his presidential campaign, Reagan devoted at least fourteen of his daily five-minute radio commentaries to Taiwan and related issues.)


Nixon’s now-historic “Shanghai Communique”, issued ironically on February 28, 1972, further muddies American interests in a Taiwan that would be separate from China.  In it,  


the United States 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. The United States Government does not challenge that position.  


Six years later, Reagan outraged by Carter’s equally peremptory overnight normalization with Beijing in December 1978 with yet another communiqué which affirmed that


The Government of the United States of America acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China.


Actually, most of the U.S. Congress was appalled at the way President Carter dumped a long-time friend and ally, Taiwan, for China.  So much so that the Congress adopted an unprecedented piece of legislation, the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) drafted on the assumption that while “the Carter administration agreed that it had acknowledged the ‘Chinese position’ that Taiwan is part of China, but emphasized that “the United States has not itself agreed to this position.”[22]  Accordingly, the TRA treats Taiwan as a nation independent of China for the purposes of domestic U.S. law: “[w]henever the laws of the United States refer or relate to foreign countries, nations, states, governments, or similar entities, such terms shall include and such laws shall apply with respect to Taiwan.” [23]


But the real significance of the TRA was in its statement of U.S. policy. 

 (b) Policy 
It is the policy of the United States - 

      • (1) to preserve and promote extensive, close, and friendly commercial, cultural, and other relations between the people of the United States and the people on Taiwan, as well as the people on the China mainland and all other peoples of the Western Pacific area; 
      • (2) to declare that peace and stability in the area are in the political, security, and economic interests of the United States, and are matters of international concern; 
      • (3) to make clear that the United States decision to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China rests upon the expectation that the future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means; 
      • (4) to consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States; 
      • (5) to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character; and 
      • (6) to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan. 

 This policy statement, for all practical purposes, substituted what could be called a "quasi-alliance" with Taiwan (by virtue of Section 2(b)(6) which articulates a formal defense commitment to Taiwan),[24] for the soon-to-be defunct US-Republic of China Mutual Defense Treaty of 1954.[25]  Again, China reacted angrily to the TRA, but President Carter, facing a veto-proof margin of congressional support signed it into law.  It remains the law of the land, and one which was heartily endorsed by then-Republican presidential candidate, Ronald Reagan.  Indeed, Reagan’s presidential campaign hit heavy weather in August 1980 when he suggested that, as president, he would reestablish “official” relations with Taiwan and was obliged to send his vice presidential running mate (and former U.S. Liaison Officer to China) George H.W. Bush on a quick mission to Beijing to patch things up.


            Nonetheless, after his election to the presidency, Ronald Reagan remained uncomfortable with the regime in Beijing and went out of his way to treat Taiwan with dignity and warmth. In 1982, President Reagan’s “Six Assurances” to Taiwan’s president Chiang Ching-kuo (son and heir to Chiang Kai-shek who died in 1975) re-confirmed America’s “long standing” policy of not recognizing Chinese claims to sovereignty over Taiwan.  He promised that his Administration "will not interfere . . . or prejudice the free choice of, or put pressure on, the people of Taiwan" on their relationship with China.   But by 1992, the Washington China-policy bureaucracy had begun to articulate something called a “One China Policy”, an abbreviated wording that had the unfortunate effect of miscommunicating to Beijing the idea that the U.S. accepted China’s territorial claims and, as a matter of international law, would have to acquiesce in China’s sovereign right to use force to recover territory in rebellion.[26]


            American diplomats understand that this is the inherent danger of acquiescing to China’s claims of sovereignty over Taiwan.  By 2004, senior State Department officials could only hedge and evade when asked about Washington’s so-called “One China Policy.”  Moreover, the Bush Administration is careful to call its policy “Our One China Policy”, to differentiate it from Beijing’s “One China Principle”.  Consider, for example, an exchange between Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) and former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, James Kelly, that took place in congressional hearings April 21, 2004. 


REP. NAPOLITANO: The next question, then, is can the evolution of full-fledged democracy on Taiwan and the clear emergence of a sense of Taiwanese identity meld with the principle of One China, or are they in stark contrast with each other? 


MR. KELLY: There certainly is a degree of contrast.  The definition of “One China” is something that we could go on for much too long for this event. In my testimony, I made the point "our One China," and I didn't really define it, and I'm not sure I very easily could define it. 


I can tell you what it is not. It is not the One-China policy or the One-China principle that Beijing suggests, and it may not be the definition that some would have in Taiwan. But it does convey a meaning of solidarity of a kind among the people on both sides of the straits that has been our policy for a very long time.[27]


            Be that as it may, the United States, particularly the administration of President George W. Bush, has been very uneasy with democracy in Taiwan.  Bush China policy has been beset with distractions and anxieties around the globe, not to mention a war in Iraq and another in Afghanistan, perennial crises in the Levant, and of course the psychotic blustering of a nuclear armed North Korea.  It seems that the Bush foreign policy system can only handle a finite number of crises at a time, and the President himself was said not to want a “China in-box” that would further clutter-up his desk.  Accordingly, his aides adopted the simplest method of keeping a China in-box empty – they pressure Taiwan’s democratically-elected leadership to suppress their desire to deny that Taiwan is part of China.


            It was conventional wisdom in the second Bush Administration that Taiwan’s President Chen Shui-bian was a “trouble-maker” who agitated for “Taiwan Independence” for purely political advantage; that Chen was trying to get the United States into a war with China, from the rubble of which an independent Taiwan would emerge; and that Chen intended to fight for Taiwanese independence “to the last American” (words hauntingly identical to the America-Firsters’ attacks on Winston Churchill in 1941).  


            Set aside the notion that either Chen seeks Taiwan independence purely for “political advantage” or that he is willing to sacrifice the well-being of his own country to achieve it, or that he hopes the U.S. will protect his island in a war but does not intend for Taiwanese to fight or suffer the predations of war – but logically, it cannot be all three.  The Bush Administration – which staked its “national security strategy” on the global expansion of democracy – had a remarkably tin-ear when it came to democracy in Taiwan.  But to understand this, one must first examine what Taiwan’s new democracy is all about.


U.S. Interests in Taiwan and China


In the broad matrix of America's geostrategic stake in the Asia Pacific region, Taiwan may indeed be "small" compared to China, but as an East Asian power, it most emphatically is not "small" at all.  It is a very substantial member of the community of Asian democracies in its own right.   


Taiwan is a crucial element in the new geostrategic structure of the Asia Pacific as the magnitude of China’s military might catches up with its economic and trade power.  Taiwan is one of democratic Asia's major nations; its exports rank third after Japan and South Korea -- and it is one of America's top ten export markets taking about $22 billion in U.S. goods in 2005 – slightly more than half the value of total U.S. exports to China that year.  


Taiwan's population is slightly larger than Australia's.  And, if Taiwan were a member of the ten-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations, it would be ASEAN's biggest economy and largest military spender.  So, demographically, Taiwan is indeed a major East Asian nation.


Finally, the United States has a large political stake in the island’s success.  Taiwan is a poster-child for democracy in Asia; it is a long-term (albeit "unofficial") American defense partner; and it is a strategically significant piece of real estate in the Pacific Rim.  The United States has provided security assurances to Taiwan against Chinese threats for over a half-century.  


Aside from the obvious political interests the United States has in ensuring the survival and success of democracy in Taiwan, there are vital economic interests as well.  For example, Taiwan’s semiconductor industry is the world’s most advanced, according to a report in February by the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board.[28]  According to that same report, the Pentagon gets a substantial volume of vital microchips from Taiwan’s chip “fabs”.  Meanwhile, the report adds, America’s microchip production capacity is diminished -- with only one U.S. chip fab able to produce “trusted and classified” chips for U.S. defense needs.  


Consider also America’s concerns with China.


China is the new power in Asia, buy the ties that once bound Beijing and Washington together in the Cold War have been loosed.  Chinese strategists have accepted this since the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Americans have only begun to grasp its significance.


As has been alluded to above, it is critical that one understand a basic fact: the grand organizing principle that cemented the U.S.-China relationship for two decades from 1972 to 1992 was the "Soviet Threat".[29]  But the Soviet threat has been dead and buried for fifteen years, and so too has been the entire raison d’etre of a U.S.-China “strategic partnership.”  Indeed, the Chinese communist regime believed its very legitimacy was shaken with the disintegration of the communist world in Europe.  Now, the Beijing regime seeks to enhance that legitimacy by substituting a nationalism-based doctrine which posits as its ultimate goal the reclamation of China’s ancient place as the preeminent power in Asia – and in the process, the displacement of the United States as superpower in the Asia-Pacific region.


Although thus far, Beijing has prudently avoided head-on collisions with America’s interests around the globe, an examination of China’s strategic unhelpfulness at virtually every level of engagement with the United States, from the war on terror to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (and even in the control of North Korea’s counterfeit currency) is unsettling.  


            It is not surprising that the Chinese Communist Party, as a matter of political doctrine, seeks to challenge the United States’ predominance in Asia.  Why, after all, should China acquiesce to America’s power at all?  Subtly undermining the U.S. posture regionally (and indeed globally) would be an ideological priority if purely for the sake of regime legitimacy.  This is because the Party no longer can claim the dogmatic orthodoxy of “Marxism-Leninism” (still less “Mao Zedong Thought) to justify its governance of China without the consent of the governed.


            To appreciate the crisis of legitimacy in 21st Century China, one must go back to its origins in the mid-20thCentury.


Erosion of Maoism


            Mao’s China in the 1950s was a great socialist experiment, launched with the certitude of believers in the absolute truth of communism’s promise to guide the benighted Chinese people safely past the age of slavery and feudalism, leap-frog the several stages of capitalist development, and thrust them right into a socialist structure – which itself was the unfailing launch-pad for the communist utopia.  


It all seemed plausible in the immediate aftermath of the Korean War because the relative honesty of the Communist Party and its bureaucracy was greatly appreciated by the “broad masses of the peasants and proletariat.” Peace, social stability, and the elimination of corruption resulted in a few years of general improvement in China’s overall quality of life.  Nonetheless, the purges of at least three of the “five black elements” (landlords, capitalists, rich peasants, underworld criminals and counter-revolutionaries) during the “Anti-Rightist Campaign of the early 1950s also meant that the economy turned stagnant.  Factories lost their managers, shop-keepers lost their wares, and whatever efficiencies there were in the agricultural sector were sacrificed in land-reforms.  By 1956, Mao’s economic ideas were souring as were the attitudes of China’s intellectual elites who, at the time, had made a collective, though unconscious decision to keep their opinions to themselves.  To do otherwise was bad for their health and easily resulted in enforced quarantine in “reeducation through labor” (laojiao).


In 1956-57, Mao was persuaded to “let a hundred flowers bloom, a hundred schools of thought contend” (bai hua qifang, bai jia zhengming) in an effort to establish a critical dialogue between the Party and the opinion elites.  In February 1957, he penned his seminal monograph “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People” in which he noted that “contradictions among the people” were to be studied and profited from, while “contradictions between ourselves and the enemy” were to be resolved with decisive force.  Mao hoped (or at least said he hoped) that constructive criticism from scholars and academics would help fine-tune the slowing economy.  Unfortunately, the criticism far surpassed anything Mao had expected.  Opinion in scholarly journals and newspapers, initially published under orders to “bloom and contend” rapidly degenerated into demands that the Party relinquish its political monopoly.  


At some point in the debate, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai opined that there must be 100,000 intellectuals of whom 40 percent were “progressive elements” who supported the Party, 20 percent were reactionaries who opposed the Party, and 40 percent were simple bureaucrats who did their jobs and stayed out of politics.  On June 8, 1957, when the cacophony of “Hundred Flowers” discontent became unbearable to Mao and company, an major People’s Dailyeditorial said that “rightist elements” (youpai fenzi), under the pretest of helping the Communist Party reform, in fact intended to overthrow the Party.  On June 19, the People’s Daily published a revised text of Mao’s “Contradiction” essay which included six criteria for distinguishing “fragrant flowers from poisonous weeds.”  


With that, the “Anti-Rightist Campaign” was born, and Premier Zhou’s best guess that 20 percent of intellectuals were rightists led to a campaign quota of 20,000 intellectuals who had to be identified, rounded up and liquidated one way or the other.  Mao believed that the backlash from the “Hundred Flowers” was due in large part to the Hungarian Revolution the previous year which may have given rightists the impression that the Party was vulnerable.  It wasn’t, and just about any educated person who had said, much less published, anything critical of the Party was corralled and disappeared for the next two decades.


A large majority of opinion exists inside China and out that Mao’s “Hundred Flowers” was a stratagem to get rightists to expose themselves and thus aid the Party in purging society of “poisonous weeds.”  Probably, but what one saw as the movement progressed was what one got.  In any event, Mao decided that with most “Rightists” out of the way, he had a free hand to push his far more radical vision of Maoist communism.  The “Three Red Flags” movement shortly followed.  The “Great Leap Forward”, the “People’s Communes” and the “Socialist Education” movements are generally lumped together under the “Great Leap” rubric.  It was one of the nuttier crazes of revolutionary communism, and one that cemented the term “Maoism” as the appellation of choice for “extremist socialism”.  Mao’s motivations were also grounded in a desire to establish himself as a great philosopher of the Communist Movement at the same time as the Soviet Union’s Nikita Khrushchev was discrediting Stalinism.  


By 1959, the “Great Leap” had left China – countryside and cities – in economic ruins.  Agricultural collectivization had cut output dramatically, “backyard furnaces” designed to help expand steel production simply resulted in millions of tons in molten lumps of waste pig iron where once utilitarian pots, pans, pipes, gutters, etc. used to be.  Famine and starvation progressed into 1961, but not before saner minds in Beijing eased Mao out of his policy role and persuaded him to simply be a Party Chairman who mused over socialist theory.  Deng Xiaoping was one of those who gently escorted Mao from his position as “Chairman of State” (China’s head of state) and supported another top Party Politburo member into the state chairmanship, Liu Shaoqi.


Mao did not go quietly.  He retained his command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and steadily cultivated a coterie of revolutionary propagandists in a cult of personality presided over by Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing.  By 1966, this group, based in Shanghai, launched the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” which encouraged grass-roots level communist party members to overthrow their entrenched, complaisant, and (worst of all) “revisionist” (in the sense that they wanted to “revise” Marxist-Leninist and Maoist doctrine) elders.  Soon, college students, and even middle schoolers were exhorted to root out capitalists, revisionists, bad elements, and such like, and replace them with the perpetual revolution, a “Cultural Revolution”.


Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution


The madness of the Cultural Revolution continued  for a decade.  The entire nation, from Beijing and Shanghai to the poorest countryside villages, became locked in civil war between youthful “Red Guards” and old-line Party members.  Horrifically  violent Red Guard battles of 1967 and 1968 ravaged the nation.  Rival factions of students formed warring Red Guard battalions in all major cities and set about beating each other up for months on end.  In the summer of 1968, Beijing itself was torn by battling Guards factions.  Mao, pressured by the Army, relented to demands that they be permitted to step in and halt the fighting – by force if necessary.  And it was necessary.  Often, the Army opened fire on recalcitrant youth who shot back with whatever firearms they had appropriated from looted police stations.  That year, the Army oversaw the deportations of millions of city youth “down to the countryside”, often hundreds of miles from their homes.  In the central Chinese city of Wuhan on the Yangtze River, one PLA general mutinied against the Red Guards and had to be convinced that the central government would soon get a handle on the chaos.


By 1969 with the eager support of the Cultural Revolution Group and the reluctant acquiescence of the Army, Mao had purged all his former rivals in the top levels of the Party, including Deng Xiaoping, who had been labeled the “Number Two Capitalist Roader in the Party,” second only to Liu Shaoqi.  Liu had been harshly imprisoned in frigid solitary confinement, and died of untreated diabetes and pneumonia on November 12, 1969.  Deng was lucky to survive.  


In 1969, Mao’s favorite general, Marshal Lin Biao (once described by Mr. Chou Ming-hsun as pro-Soviet), was named in the constitution as Mao’s “closest comrade in arms and successor.”  Marshal Lin was not well liked in the military and in 1960 had cast his lot with Mao.  In gratitude, Mao made him defense minister where he launched an intensive campaign to indoctrinate the troops in absolute devotion to Chairman Mao.  But there was always something a bit odd about Lin.  In the Korean War, he had refused an order to take command of the People’s Volunteer forces then poised to cross the Yalu River into Korea to fight the Americans.  On September 12, 1971, having steadily lost Mao’s confidence, and having apparently botched up a plan to assassinate Mao by ordering an airstrike on his private railroad car, Marshal Lin commandeered an empty (and apparently un-fuelled) passenger liner in Beijing and attempted an escape to Russia.  He made it only as far as the grassy steppes of southern Mongolia where his aircraft ran out fuel and crashed.  


Lin’s attempted escape to the Soviet Union and his ultimate demise came suspiciously within the same timeframe as Mao’s decision to welcome Richard Nixon.  Lin certainly opposed Mao’s opening to the U.S., an initiative supported by Zhou Enlai, but unenthusiastically glowered at by Madame Mao – Jiang Qing.  With Lin and his faction neutralized, Madame Mao saw Zhou Enlai as her sole rival for power should her octogenarian husband depart the scene, and Mao’s parkinsonism and other severe geriatric debilities promised that he would be around for only a few more years at most.  Apparently, with Zhou, the feeling was mutual.  Madame Mao launched another campaign, this one called “Criticize Lin [Biao], Criticize Confucius” which, thickly veiled thought the reference was, everyone assumed “Confucius” was a metaphor for Zhou Enlai himself.  Mao had begun to tire of his spouse’s plotting, and increasingly relied on Zhou to keep the country running.  In 1973, Zhou’s cancer was already debilitating the 75-year old, and he prevailed upon Mao to bring Deng Xiaoping out of detention and appoint him executive vice premier under Zhou.  For the next three years, Deng and Jiang were spiders in a bottle, while the pragmatic Zhou Enlai faction struggled for position against Jiang’s “Cultural Revolution Group.”  


Zhou succumbed to his cancer in January 1976.  On “Tomb Sweeping Day,” April 5, the traditional Chinese day of remembrance of the dead, tens of thousands of students and party cadres paraded in Tiananmen Square with banners and elaborate floral wreathes bewailing the passing of their beloved Zhou.  Over the previous ten years, Zhou was believed to be the only man in the leadership who could keep the Cultural Revolutionaries from unbridled terror. Naturally, Jiang interpreted the demonstration as an attack on her and her faction – and on Mao himself, since she was his wife.  She also fixed on Deng Xiaoping as the “black hand” behind the demonstration – and he probably was.  Deng was purged for the second time in a decade, but strangely, the progressively-debilitated Chairman resisted the Madame’s blandishments to appoint one of her faction to the premiership and instead reached down into the Politburo to select the Minister of Public Security (and also a junior vice premier under Deng), a colorless apparatchik named Hua Guofeng whose only distinguishing trait was that his fleshy round face looked a bit like Mao’s own.  Immediately, Premier Hua ordered gargantuan posters of his smiling self, and a robust Chairman Mao patting him on the knee, with the caption “with you in charge, I am at ease” (ni ban shi, wo fang xin).  That is what passed for a legitimate succession in those days.


Madame Jiang Qing’s fortunes had not yet run out, however.  She proceeded through the summer of 1976 to consolidate her influence in Mao’s inner sanctum, and her reputation as the scheming dowager at the side of an insentient husband crystallized.  In August 1976, the Madame’s power began to crumble, literally and figuratively.  One of the 20th Century’s most devastating earthquakes obliterated the coal mining metropolis of Tangshan, leveled the key North China port city of Tianjin, and turned much of decrepit Beijing’s hutongs and alleyways to rubble.  Fabulous meteor showers in Manchuria that same month convinced traditional Chinese (and 90 percent of Chinese were traditional) that the regime had lost the mandate of Heaven.  


The People’s Liberation Army, now sympathetic with the ousted Deng Xiaoping, suspicious of Premier Hua, and utterly disgusted with Madame Jiang and her three top Shanghainese advisors in the Politburo (Wang Hongwen, Zhang Chunqiao and Yao Wenyuan), began to consider the post-Mao transition.  PLA Marshal and then-Minister of Defense Ye Jianying (whom Mr. Chou Ming-hsun had identified as a partner of General, later Marshal, Chen Yi in January 1950), quietly planned the arrest of Madame Jiang’s factionalists. 


At that point, events turned rapidly.  The Chairman finally expired on September 9, 1976.  Madame Jiang’s “Shanghai faction” drafted the funeral eulogy, which was to include Mao’s final order “act according to the principles laid down” (an jiding fangzhen ban) was to be included in the oration – to be delivered by “acting chairman” Hua Guofeng.  The phrase was meant to legitimate the continuity of the Cultural Revolution, and the succession of Communist Party Vice Chairman, and Jiang’s protégé, Wang Hongwen.  But when Hua delivered the speech at Tiananmen Square on September 18, the crucial line was omitted.  Vice Chairman Wang was clearly perplexed at its disappearance, but apparently thought it was Hua’s idea.  Madame Jiang surely saw it as a set-back, but no doubt believed they could handle Hua. 


But it wasn’t just the acting Chairman’s idea.  It was Marshal Ye Jianying’s who had the entire PLA behind him.  Ye coordinated his move with Wang Dongxing, who as director of the Party’s general office controlled the 8341 Unit which guarded the central leadership and Premier Hua himself.  On the evening of Wednesday, October 6, 1976, Vice Chairman Wang Hongwen and Politburo member Zhang Chunqiao, were summoned to a meeting at central party offices in Zhongnanhai, just off Tiananmen Square, where they were efficiently arrested and handcuffed by 8341 Unit officers.  Madame Jiang was similarly seized at her residence near the White Pagoda Temple in Beijing’s western district.  News dribbled out slowly.  The “Gang of Four,” as Madame Jiang’s Shanghai faction was later dubbed, had been under arrest for ten days before the Chinese public was told about it, although foreign media began reporting the coup on October 12.[30]    


Part of Marshal Ye’s arrangement with Premier Hua included Hua’s elevation to the Chairmanships of both the Party and the Central Military Commission (CMC), and the inclusion in the Politburo of Wang Dongxing, himself a diehard Maoist with little love for Deng Xiaoping.  But Deng had the confidence of Marshal Ye and the Army as well as that of the late Premier Zhou Enlai’s bureaucracy.  By August 1, 1977, against considerable resistance from the late-Chairman Mao’s proteges, including Chairman Hua and Wang Dongxing, Deng was fully rehabilitated.  He was quickly reinstated as Vice Premier and Vice Chairman of the CMC with operational control of the PLA.  


Deng’s “Third Plenum” Opening and Reform


Deng’s first order of business was to dismantle the Maoist faction that held onto its seats in the Politburo.  In November-December 1978, he had orchestrated the “Third Plenum” (of the Eleventh Party Congress) to ratify his economic reforms, which included the abolition of Mao’s “People’s Communes” and the incipient marketizing of farm produce.  Foreign commodities and manufactured goods began to appear in state department stores so that farmers had something to buy with the money they earned from their produce.  The “Third Plenum” reforms also called for the construction of a “special industrial zone” in plot of several hundred acres of rice paddies called “Snake Mouth” (Shekou) on the banks of Guangdong’s Pearl River within sight of Hong Kong.   Shekou’s new factories were powered by an ultra-high voltage electric cable strung under water from Hong Kong’s modern Castle Peak power plant.  


Immediately, Hong Kong manufacturers began setting up production lines in Shekou to take advantage of underemployed farming labor in the area.  Within a year, China had established three “Special Economic Zones” in Guangdong, Shenzhen (including Shekou), Zhuhai (bordering Macau), and Shantou, and another SEZ in Fujian province opposite Taiwan at Xiamen where the local dialect was identical to native Taiwanese.  In 1985, the island of Hainan became a fifth SEZ and was given provincial status separate from Guangdong.  Construction began quickly in all the SEZs, but some got off the ground faster than others.  Shenzhen, abutting Hong Kong, raced out ahead because of its proximity to Asia’s wealthiest city.  Zhuhai and Shantou suffered until the laws of real estate supply and demand channeled capital their ways.  Xiamen languished until Taiwan’s President, the late Chiang Ching-kuo (Chiang Kai-shek’s son) began to ease Taiwan investment rules to permit travel to the communist-controlled “bandit territories,” and indeed it took until 1992 before Xiamen began to see large infusions of Taiwanese capital. 


Like Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia before it, and Japan’s before even them, China’s economic take-off was powered by foreign investment in export processing.  Very few foreign enterprises were able to invest in consumer products for China’s domestic market.  Still, as labor costs in the industrialized Asia pushed upwards, Asian manufacturers began to site more and more production lines in China.  Chinese township and village administrations were authorized to permit their farmers to form “cooperative” ventures in light-industry, providing consumer items to local markets, a phenomenon that Southern Chinese, Cantonese in particular, took to like ducks to water.  


To manage these phenomena, Deng took advantage of the 12th Party Congress in 1982 to place reformist-minded provincial leaders with proven track records of accomplishment from the pre-Cultural Revolution years.  Hu Yaobang had been with Deng Xiaoping since the early fifties and through Deng’s intercession was named first secretary of the rather liberal Communist Youth League (CYL) in 1957, before the “Anti-Rightist Campaign” went into full swing.  As CYL chief, Hu was known as open-minded and skeptical of the ideological deification of Chairman Mao, a reputation that got him purged in the Cultural Revolution.  He was rehabilitated along with Deng in 1973, and Deng arranged a place for him in the Politburo at the “Third Plenum” giving him organization department and propaganda portfolios.  At the 12th Party Congress, Deng supported his appointment as General Secretary of the Party (the title “chairman” was abolished), and paired him up with Zhao Ziyang as premier.  Zhao was an economic reformist known for his pre Cultural Revolution successes in Guangdong province, and his rapid implementation of Deng’s “Third Plenum” economic reforms in 1979 while Party Secretary in Deng’s home province of Sichuan.  Zhao was a Marxist believer, which meant that he believed China had to endure capitalism and mature into an “initial stage of socialism” before moving into more advanced stages of socialism.  In other words, Zhao was a capitalist Marxist.


Under Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang, implementation of Deng Xiaoping’s “Third Plenum” reforms was assured, despite considerable grumbling from the leadership ranks of the Party’s economic central-planners.  But rapid economic growth had its bad points, and by 1987, unprecedented inflation was one – 40 percent in that year alone. That was enough to give Deng’s “reform and opening” policies a bad name and generate a backlash from the hardliners who demanded that economic reforms cease.  But economic hiccoughs were not Hu’s and Zhao’s only problems.  Hu had been an advocate of political reforms since the 1950s, and his patronage gave scholars, academics and intellectuals loose reins to explore heterodox theories about socialist development.  As a former CYL Secretary, Hu also kept the League under his tutelage and encouraged its newspaper, China Youth News, to emulate western journalism, at least as far as Party discipline allowed.  Hu was also a bit to easy on “spiritual pollution” in the form of western influences on the dress, reading material, music and literature of China’s youth.


All of this was too much for the Party’s elders (also known as the Eight Immortals[31]) to bear.  Hu Yaobang was removed from his post as Party General Secretary in January 1987 and demoted into the lower ranks of the Politburo where he still had a vote but not much influence.  But Hu’s decline was not solely because of his liberal outlook on communist dogma.  During the early 1980s, Hu Yaobang’s Party Secretariat played a pivotal role in economic policy, particularly in SEZ policies where it might have been expected that Zhao Ziyang’s government apparatus under the State Council would have taken the lead.  But when economic policy ran counter to decades of economic dogma, it was understandable that the Party would perforce grant ideological indulgence to the experiments.  Nevertheless, frictions between the Party’s sphere and the State Council’s sphere generated antipathy in the two wings of the Hu-Zhao reformist camp.  In addition, those frictions opened Hu Yaobang to accusations of “factionalism” from the more “leftist” elements in the leadership and among the elders.  The rift between Hu and Zhao came into the open at a December 1986 Central Military Commission meeting which addressed student demonstrations against corruption, cuts in student subsidies, nepotism, and (just to keep it patriotic) “Japanese economic aggression” in China.  Hu recommended a measured response to the unrest, which led to charges that he was at lest soft on anarchy, or at worse, was trying to use Cultural Revolution style mass movements among the students to push his own agenda.  Premier Zhao felt General Secretary Hu was meddling in governmental economic policy areas, leaving Deng Xiaoping (then Chairman of the CMC) distraught that his reformist campaign was being undermined by dissention in its own ranks.


Deng cut his losses by accepting Hu Yaobang’s demotion, but managed to hedge his bets by supporting Premier Zhao Ziyang’s candidacy for Hu’s position.  Nonetheless, Hu’s dismissal shifted the ideological momentum to conservative leftists in the Party leadership.  At the 13th Party Congress in October 1987, Deng log-rolled with the central-planners under former vice-premier for economics (in the 1950s), and now influential Party elder, Chen Yun to bring two putative reformers into the top rank of the Politburo, while Chen balanced those appointments with two of his own hardline central planners, acting premier (later Premier) Li Peng and executive vice premier Yao Yilin.


Tiananmen Demonstrations and Suppression


For the next year or so, Deng Xiaoping struggled with a dual strategy of bold economic reforms balanced with cautious and slow political liberalization.  But in 1988, runaway monetary inflation gave the central-planners the debating points. Meanwhile, the Party had neglected to monitor how deeply the reform era’s economic liberalization had impacted political discourse.  1988 and early 1989 were marked by widespread philosophical debates about Communist ideology, new newspapers, journals, periodicals, books and conferences sponsored in universities, government think-tanks, and party organizations.  Petition campaigns agitated for the release of political prisoners, and petition drives turned into peaceful mass demonstrations.  Plans were under way for a mass rally on May 4, 1989, the 70th anniversary of China’s historic student-led “May Fourth Movement” of 1919 against Japan’s “Twenty-one Demands” – it was to be a patriotic demonstration.  


But Hu Yaobang’s sudden death of heart failure during a Politburo meeting on April 17 gave the demonstration’s planners a new focus of discontent.  The ex-Party General Secretary was certainly revered by China’s youth elites.  But the demonstration planners most probably were more inspired by the resonance with the Tiananmen demonstrations in the wake of Premier Zhou Enlai’s death thirteen years earlier.  The parades were moved up to April 22 (from May 4) and marchers numbered in the tens of thousands, more likely hundreds of thousands and lasted days.  Deng ordered General Secretary Zhao Ziyang on a goodwill visit to North Korea, and once Zhao was out of town, convened an expanded Politburo meeting which labeled the demonstrations “counterrevolutionary turmoil” thus legitimating the use of force to disband them.  Zhao hurried back from Pyongyang as soon as he learned of the decision and protested  -- to no avail.  


The demonstrations took on a life of their own.  Protesters from all walks of life – students, bureaucrats, cadres, workers, peasants, housewives, even police, began to march in parades demanding an end to corruption and nepotism, an end to press censorship, and some even called for democracy.  In a May 4 speech at an Asian Development Bank board of governors meeting (which included a finance minister from Taiwan), Zhao signaled his support by calling the students “patriotic.”  As Party General Secretary, Zhao’s endorsement of the students validated their complaints – complaints theretofore privately shared by most party members anyway. 


The demonstrations continued full-bore even as Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev arrived in Beijing on May 15 for the first cordial visit of a Soviet leader to China in thirty years.  As luck would have it, thousands of journalists, reporters, and television production teams from around the globe converged on Beijing to cover the Gorbachev visit and landed serendipitously in the middle of the demonstrations – which provided even more dramatic television images than the Soviet visit itself.   Chinese media bridled at their own restrictions on reporting the mass demonstrations which centered on Tiananmen Square, and started to give broad coverage to the demonstration on Chinese domestic television stations.  General Secretary Zhao approved freer press coverage of the movement and indicated he was amenable to a dialogue with the demonstrators about their hopes for China’s future.  


By May 18-19, over a million Chinese demonstrators converged on Tiananmen in a feverish atmosphere of anticipation that change was in the air.  They were encouraged profoundly by Gorbachev’s own relaxation of restraints on Poland’s Solidarity movement and the general feeling that Eastern Europe was about to pull away from Moscow’s dominion.  At this point, the main focus of the demonstrators’ demands turned to democratic reforms in China’s political structure.  


But on the evening of May 18, the Party center had received reports that sympathy demonstrations had broken out in 21 provinces.  The Tiananmen student leaders finally got a meeting with Premier Li Peng, but the session was mutually abusive.  The Politburo had decided to declare martial law, and at 4:00 am the following morning General Secretary Zhao went to Tiananmen to plead with the students to leave the square before it was too late.  Over the next two weeks, the Party Center ordered 400,000 army troops to Beijing to restore order, but as time passed and students had ever more frequent clashes with incoming army columns, there was a sense that the Army would not act.  But that sense was wrong.  On the night of June 3, several divisions of heavily-armed troops marched toward Tiananmen Square along the city’s main thoroughfare, shooting indiscriminately as they approached killing at least several hundred if not thousands in the process.  They entered the Square, burned the tents and kiosks the demonstrators had erected, and herded several thousand to busses and drove them off to detention centers to be dealt with later. 


The U.S. Ambassador, James R. Lilley, had ordered his staff to stay away from the Square that evening of June 3.   One of his junior consular officers who had been reporting on the demonstrations, however, could not stay away, and after a quick dinner returned to Tiananmen via back streets that flowed into the Square from the North.
















































Constructing a Post-Tiananmen Legitimacy


 In 1992, the Chinese Communist Party’s “paramount leader” Deng Xiaoping reshaped the Party’s core ideology into one extolling “comprehensive national strength” in place of the Maoist doctrine of the “universal truth” [pubian zhenli] of communism.[33]  Communism as a “universal truth” was, for all practical purposes, exposed as a fraud with the collapse of the USSR, and China’s leaders were perforce obliged to redefine “socialism with Chinese characteristics” as anything which “increased comprehensive national strength.”  As long as the Communist Party is successful in building China into a new global power, it needs no popular legitimization – those who oppose the regime are no longer “counterrevolutionaries” as they were during the Mao years, now they are simply traitors.  The success Deng’s ideological metamorphosis of early 1992 was due in no small part to his ability to convince the People’s Liberation Army that China’s “increasing comprehensive national strength” would provide the military with a modern industrial base to support rapid modernization.[34]  Today, having dumped the substance of  “communism” and adopting the “socialist market economy” (in reality a mercantilist structure designed to maximize profit at the expense of China’s trading partners) China's is now the fifth largest economy in the world in nominal gross domestic product and in "purchasing power parity" terms is second only to the United States.[35]  But China’s growth is not limited to its economy.  Since 1992, unlike the rest of the world, China’s military machine has been growing even faster than the economy. 


With the Soviet threat gone, the United States immediately set about reaping a “peace dividend,” with defense expenditures dropping over ten percent, from $298 billion in fiscal year 1992 down to $268 billion in fiscal year 1997.[36]  In the same period, Chinese defense spending sustained annual double-digit increases. The Pentagon estimates total defense-related expenditures in 2004 to be between $50 and $70 billion, and as high as $90 billion in 2005, ranking China third in nominal dollar defense spending after the United States and Russia.[37]  On March 6, 2006, China announced another 15 percent increase in military spending, on top of 13 percent in 2005.[38]


One rapidly growing cost-center for Beijing’s military budget is ballistic missiles.  Short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) production has doubled since 2002, from 50 per year to over 100 by 2006,[39] and it is likely that China’s entire missile program has seen similar growth in every class.  China’s military spends billions each year to field growing numbers of medium- and intercontinental-range missiles as well as new classes of submarine launched strategic nuclear missiles.[40]  There is no doubt China’s primary ICBM target is the United States.  Its recent military exercises with Russia which included drills with carrier-busting supersonic cruise missiles (although no country in the region, save the U.S., has aircraft carriers) also raise considerable doubt as to China’s peaceful intentions in the region and especially its benevolence toward the United States.  


Perhaps the most unsettling facet of China’s naval development is the emergence of a robust and technically-advanced submarine fleet in the Pacific.  In addition to four modern Russian Kilo-class submarines already deployed with the Chinese navy, China has on order eight more.  China has also increased production—to 2.5 boats per year—of the new, formidable Song-class diesel-electric submarine, and is testing a new diesel-electric that the defense intelligence community has designated the “Yuan.” The Yuan is heavily inspired by Russian designs, including anechoic tile coatings and a super-quiet seven-blade screw. The addition of “air-independent propulsion,” which permits a submarine to operate underwater for up to 30 days on battery power, will make the Song and Yuan submarines virtually inaudible to existing U.S. surveillance networks—and even to U.S. subs. By 2025, Chinese attack submarines could easily outnumber U.S. submarines in the Pacific by five to one.  By the year 2025, several Chinese nuclear ballistic missile submarines will prowl America’s Western littoral, each closely tailed by two U.S. attack submarines that should have better things to do.[41]


American intelligence analysts and academic researchers are unanimous in their assessment that China’s submarine strategy aims at neutralizing America’s carrier-centered naval strength in the Pacific.[42]


China’s military modernization since 1996 has been incredibly rapid, outpacing the wildest estimates of the entire U.S. intelligence community.[43]  Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld points out that “China's defense expenditures are much higher than Chinese officials have publicly admitted. It is estimated that China's is the third-largest military budget in the world, and now the largest in Asia.”  Rumsfeld himself mused openly, "since no nation threatens China, one wonders: why this growing [military] investment?"[44]  Although most in the Administration prefer to evince agnosticism on China’s intentions, the Pentagon sees China’s strategic goal as “developing on the world stage as a regional power, but its emergence also has global implications . . . China can also choose, or find itself upon, a pathway along which China would emerge to exert dominant influence in an expanding sphere. The future of a rising China is not yet set immutably on one course or another.”[45]


What does China intend to do with its new military might?  Certainly, it intends to subdue democratic Taiwan with relentless threats of war – designed as much to cow the United States, now distracted in the Middle East, as to intimidate Taiwan’s people.  Some analysts see China’s forced ‘unification’ with Taiwan, not as an end in itself, but as key to developing a military power-projection capability in the Western Pacific.  They cite a senior Chinese military theorist who sees Taiwan as of “far reaching significance to breaking international forces’ blockade against China’s maritime security. . . . Only when we break this blockade shall we be able to talk about China’s rise. . . . [T]o rise suddenly, China must pass through oceans and go out of the oceans in its future development.”[46]  In a rapidly rising China, a totalitarian regime that does not suffer external pressures to change will not.   Instead, the regime which effectively abandoned "socialism" as its ideology in 1992, now seeks to legitimate its rule by stressing that its ideology “increases the comprehensive strength of the nation.”[47]  As such, China is a power driven by an ideology of "nationalism" committed to changing the status quo. The Chinese Communist Party now “opposes hegemonism and power politics” (i.e., the United States) and seeks to “boost world multipolarization” (i.e., opposing America’s role as the sole superpower).[48]  Moreover, it equates “terrorism” and “hegemonism” as equal threats.[49]  China’s recent pressure on its Central Asian neighbors to demand a timetable for U.S. withdrawal from Afghan border areas is only the most recent example of China’s lack of enthusiasm for fighting global terror.[50]  In an earlier incarnation as advisor to presidential candidate George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice wrote, “China is not a ‘status quo’ power but one that would like to alter Asia’s balance of power in its own favor,”[51] an assessment that, six years later, seems preternaturally prescient.  Moreover, this assessment makes it essential that the United States catalog both its interests in the "status quo" and its strategic objectives in Asia.


There is no question that today the United States faces a new great power competitor.  Secretary of State Rice admits that China is becoming a “military superpower” and that “it is crucial for the U.S. to help integrate China into an international, rules-based economy” before that happens.[52]  Deputy Secretary of State Zoellick says that “the focus now” is to make China a “stakeholder” in these systems, as if to say China has not been up to now.[53]  In a September 2005 speech, Zoellick asked, “For the United States and the world, the essential question is – how will China use its influence?”  To answer that question, he said, “we need to urge China to become a responsible stakeholder in that system.”[54]  American disappointment in China’s trade, financial, diplomatic, proliferation, human rights and Taiwan policies are reflected in the poignant question mark in the title of Zoellick’s speech, “Whither China - From Membership to Responsibility?” Indeed China hasn’t been, and there is little likelihood that China wants to be, a “stakeholder” in a status quo that it is intent on changing.


There appears to be a glimmering of appreciation among America's top foreign policy officials that China is a grave and gathering challenge.  But there simply isn't any evidence that this appreciation is being translated into "policy".


In 1945, President Truman declared that a “strong, united and democratic China” was in “the most vital interests of the United States”.[55]  But is two out of three good enough?  Is a “strong and united” China in U.S. interests at all?  Unless China is also a reliable democracy, might it just be a greater challenge to U.S. interests than a weak, unstable and disunited China? 


Chinese leaders certainly think so.  Chinese Leader Hu Jintao and his chief ally, Vice President Zeng Qinghong are reliably reported to have given “back-to-back” speeches in May 2005 at a secretive party meeting that attacked "liberal elements" in society who were supposedly supported by the United States. The two top leaders Hu and Mr. Zeng argued that during 2004 and 2005 the United States had fostered social unrest in Ukraine’s “Orange Revolution”, Georgia’s “Rose Revolution” and Kyrgyzstan’s “Tulip Revolution” and had similar designs on China.[56]


I, for one, sincerely doubt there is any such coordinated U.S. policy to support democratic reforms in China -- other than giving large monetary grants to Chinese Communist Party and government delegations for academic exchanges.  However, if fostering a clamor for freedom in China indeed is a strategic objective of the United States, one has to ask how belittling democracy in Taiwan promotes that objective.  Because belittling Taiwan’s democracy has become the default mode for U.S. policy toward Taiwan.


I blame inept American diplomacy for beginning their efforts to nudge Taiwan’s politicians into the Chinese orbit after 1993 just at the time China began to plan in earnest for the takeover of the Island.  President Clinton did not have to disinvite Lee Teng-hui from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum leaders meeting in Seattle in 1993 -- the APEC Charter demands that all member economies be treated equally[57]; and we didn’t have to pressure Lee to pull back from his “interim two China’s policy” that same year, or his two-states theory in 1999.  We did not have to snub President Lee’s request for an overnight transit of Hawaii in May of 1994, or make a litmus test of denying President Lee permission to address an audience at Cornell University in 1995; or to pressure President Lee on his “special state to state” doctrine of 1999; or pressure Chen Shui-bian for his skepticism about the benefits of “One China” under communism.  President Chen had two successful trips to the United States (Houston in 2001 and New York in 2003), but since then U.S. policy-makers seem intent to make President Chen’s visits needlessly inconvenient, uncomfortable and complicated.  As Hurricane Rita roared past Florida in September, the State Department apparently denied President Chen’s request for an extra six hours on the ground in Miami.  And when President Chen petitioned to layover in New York or San Francisco for a few days en route to state visits to Costa Rica and Paraguay in May 2006, the State Department limited him to refueling stops at the Honolulu and/or Anchorage airports, where he would be confined to the VIP lounges for a few hours before proceeding on his way.


Perhaps, the most egregious example of belittling Taiwan’s democracy came on December 9, 2003, when President Bush chastised “Taiwan’s Leader” for making comments that “indicate that he may be willing to make decisions unilaterally that change the status quo, which we oppose."  The Taiwanese leader’s comments that had upset President Bush involved a democratic referendum on Taiwan that would express Taiwanese indignation at being the target, at the time, of 350 Chinese short-range ballistic missiles.


Unfortunately, President Bush made these comments in the presence of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, without equally chiding China for attempting to “change the status quo” with its missile deployments against Taiwan -- which have since more than doubled to 820 as of mid-2006.[58] Yet very little is heard from the U.S. administration about the massive ballistic missile build-up as a rather egregious change in the status quo itself.[59]


This behavior leads China’s leaders to believe that the United States government will denigrate Taiwan’s democracy if China puts up enough of a stink.  Consequently, the more American officials belittle Taiwan’s democracy, the more China’s leaders will demand it, and the more they demand it, the more sensitive America’s leaders are to China’s demands . . . and so it goes.  


The effect in Taiwan is even more insidious.  It leads Taiwan’s people to believe that the American leaders don’t truly care what happens to Taiwan – peacefully or by force.  It also leads China to expend a great amount of money on developing a military force that can give the U.S. a face-saving excuse, i.e. "avoiding war", not to intervene in a Taiwan conflict.  And if Taiwan does finally go peacefully into the warm embrace of the motherland, well, then, China has a modern military force that can be used elsewhere. 


Yet, on its face, American policies toward Taiwan clearly contemplate China's ultimate absorption of the island.  Since 1992, successive U.S. administrations have called our policy toward Taiwan "our one China policy," apparently hoping to convey the signal to China that the U.S. agrees with China's contention that Taiwan is sovereign Chinese territory.  


Taiwan's people, who had hoped to maintain their separation from China indefinitely as one of America's democratic friends in Asia, are now being led to believe that the United States does not want or need their friendship.  This is a profound mistake.  


But it does not to be so.  There are ways Washington can craft its Taiwan policy to minimize antagonizing Beijing, to maximize support for Taiwan, and to protect America's vital interests in the Western Pacific from Chinese predation.


Understanding the formal China-Taiwan policy


Three things American political leaders must first understand are: what U.S. policy toward Taiwan actually is; how the name "our one China policy" undermines its effectiveness; and what animates a bureaucratic antipathy toward Taiwan in the face of China's pressures against Taiwan and the United States.


The formal, diplomatic stance of the United States toward Taiwan is to “take no position on the question of Taiwan’s sovereignty”.[60]  Of course, in a rather Zen-like way, to "take no position" is indeed to take a position because having no position cedes the argument to those that do have a position.  That aside, it should be obvious that the United States certainly does have very important strategic, political, economic and defense interests in preventing one of Asia’s most successful democracies -- and one of America's traditional allies in Asia -- from being threatened and pressured by Asia’s most successful dictatorship into an annexation that it does not want.


Thus, a political union between Taiwan and China cannot possibly be in America’s interests on any level.  Unhappily for democratic Taiwan, China's communist regime claims sovereignty over the Island and threatens catastrophic war should Taiwan's people formally and democratically repudiate Beijing's claim.  


Washington accommodates the Chinese regime by assiduously ignoring the issue -- and by pressuring Taiwan's leaders not to make too much of it either.  But the incoherence of this stance lies in its conflict with U.S. policy clearly mandated in the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.[61]


To the credit of the George W. Bush Administration, it has tried to re-articulate a somewhat conditioned position which insists that the United States is committed to “our one-China policy” and “opposes” any move by China or Taiwan to “change unilaterally” the “status quo as we define it.”[62]  


On April 21, 2004, came a glimmering of this position in a public statement by Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs James Kelly, who enumerated for the House International Relations Committee the "core principles" of U.S. policy in the Taiwan Strait.


--The United States remains committed to our one-China policy based on the three Joint Communiqués and the Taiwan Relations Act; 


--The U.S. does not support independence for Taiwan or unilateral moves that would change the status quo as we define it


--For Beijing, this means no use of force or threat to use force against Taiwan. For Taipei, it means exercising prudence in managing all aspects of cross-Strait relations. For both sides, it means no statements or actions that would unilaterally alter Taiwan's status; 


--The U.S. will continue the sale of appropriate defensive military equipment to Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act; and 


--Viewing any use of force against Taiwan with grave concern, we will maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion against Taiwan.[63]

Indeed, Secretary Kelly admitted at the April 21 hearings that, when it came to “our” one-China policy, he was “not sure [he] very easily could define it.”  Nonetheless:

I can tell you what it is not. It is not the One-China policy or the One-China principle that Beijing suggests, and it may not be the definition that some would have in Taiwan. But it does convey a meaning of solidarity of a kind among he people on both sides of the Strait that has been our policy for a very long time.[64]


Sadly, this is as close as a State Department official has ever gotten to defining "our one China policy", in private or in public.  Nor, as it happens, has any U.S. official ever “defined” the “status quo as we define it”.[65]  


One part of the Taiwan Policy canon that also received Kelly’s special mention was President Ronald Reagan's "six assurances":


Our position continues to be embodied in the so-called "six assurances" offered to Taiwan by President Reagan. 1) We will neither seek to mediate between the PRC and Taiwan, nor 2) will we exert pressure on Taiwan to come to the bargaining table. Of course, 3) the United States is also committed to make available defensive arms and defensive services to Taiwan in order to help Taiwan meet its self-defense needs. We believe a secure and self-confident Taiwan is a Taiwan that is more capable of engaging in political interaction and dialogue with the PRC . . . [66]


But Kelly lost count of the Reagan "six assurances" when he neglected to mention the fifth assurance, that "the U.S. has not altered its position regarding sovereignty over Taiwan," and the sixth which promised that "the U.S. will not exert pressure on the Republic of China to enter into negotiations with the PRC".[67]  Instead, Kelly continued 


. . . and we expect Taiwan will not interpret our support as a blank check to resist such dialogue


Kelly's last phrase, however, ran counter to the Reagan assurances that the United States will not "exert pressure on Taiwan to come to the bargaining table" with the Chinese communists.  Why, pray tell, would the U.S. expect Taiwan to "interpret" the Reagan assurances as anything else but a "blank check" to resist dialogue, if the democratically elected leaders of the people of Taiwan choose resist dialogue?


Congressional suspicion about an undefined "our one China policy" and "status quo as we define it" is straight-forward.  Both reflect a deep uneasiness in Congress and among the American public with an executive branch policy that – on its face – seems to concede that democratic Taiwan should be “one” with China’s dictatorship.  The prototypically "diplomatic" replies from State Department officials were equally revealing.  There is no policy – at least not that they could speak of, no doubt for fear of antagonizing Beijing.


Twentieth Century history is replete with examples of democracies that fear to antagonize dictatorships.  The western democracies' silence during the Austrian Anschluss in March 1938 and the aversion of their eyes during the Czechoslovakian Crisis that September, come to mind.  More recently, Saddam Hussein’s claims in 1990 that Kuwait was Iraq’s “nineteenth province” brought the State Department comment that “we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.”[68]


Given that whichever side controls the terminology and terms of reference in a policy debate, these State Department responses were proof positive that the United States has ceded control of the Taiwan policy agenda to Beijing.    


China’s Calculus for War over Taiwan


China, unlike the United States, is quite forceful in asserting its agenda.  China’s irredentist rhetoric of “unification” has become alarmingly bellicose since the late Marshal Ye Jianying pronounced a “fundamental policy of striving for peaceful reunification” in September 1981.[69]  On August 31, 1993, just in case anyone was under any illusions that Beijing had accepted the Cold War status quo, the Chinese State Council issued a white paper which asserted flatly that "there is only one China in the world, Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and the seat of China's central government is in Beijing"; that wishes for Taiwan's reunification with China "have not come to fruition for reasons such as interference by some foreign forces"; that, in fact, "the Taiwan question and the responsibility of the United States"; and that "the Chinese Communist Party is ready to establish contact with the Chinese Kuomintang [KMT] at the earliest possible date to create conditions for talks on officially ending the state of hostility between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits and gradually realizing peaceful reunification."  The repository of true authority over Taiwan, the CCP believed, was not the people of Taiwan, still less the government of the "Republic of China", but rather the "Chinese Kuomintang Party".  The white paper also stated that 


Peaceful reunification is a set policy of the Chinese Government. However, any sovereign state is entitled to use any means it deems necessary, including military ones, to uphold its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Chinese Government is under no obligation to undertake any commitment to any foreign power or people intending to split China as to what means it might use to handle its own domestic affairs.[70]


By February 2000, the Beijing regime sensed a need to be a bit more categorical about the status of Taiwan's so-called "government”.


Since the KMT ruling clique retreated to Taiwan, although its regime has continued to use the designations "Republic of China" and "government of the Republic of China," it has long since completely forfeited its right to exercise state sovereignty on behalf of China and, in reality, has always remained only a local authority in Chinese territory.[71]


But Beijing was quite a bit more strident, hysterical even, as it pondered the possibility that, in less than a month, Taiwan's voters could elect a pro-independence president.  The new white paper dismissed the idea of "so-called controversy about democracy" as "an excuse for obstructing the reunification of China" and a "scheme to deceive compatriots in Taiwan and world opinion."


And to make certain Taiwan's voters got the message, the white paper drew its red lines defining the circumstances under which China would use armed force against Taiwan: 


if a grave turn of events occurs leading to the separation of Taiwan from China in any name, or if Taiwan is invaded and occupied by foreign countries, or if the Taiwan authorities refuse, sine die [which is Latin for "wu xianqi" or, in English, "without a date certain"], the peaceful settlement of cross-Straits reunification through negotiations, then the Chinese government will only be forced to adopt all drastic measures possible, including the use of force, to safeguard China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and fulfill the great cause of reunification.[72]


"Drastic" was the operative word.  Four days before the Taiwan election in March 2000, Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji heatedly advised Taiwan voters to cast their ballots in the presidential election with a "cool head" or risk "not getting a second chance."  The normally staid, sober-minded Chinese premier said "Taiwan Independence Forces" gain strength daily as the election nears, and was "unusually direct" in serving notice that "we cannot accept Taiwan independence, that's our bottom line, and it's the heartfelt demand of China's 1.2 billion people."  Working himself into near hysterics in a briefing for foreign reporters on March 14, the Chinese premier hissed that those who argued that China did not have the missiles, ships or aircraft to invade the island had misread history, and Chinese were ready to ''shed blood'' to prevent Taiwan breaking away.[73]   In all likelihood, Premier Zhu was under severe pressure within the Chinese leadership that was willing to sacrifice China's trade relations with the west -- especially the United States -- on the Taiwan issue, and Zhu's emotions were more likely a reflection of his alarm at the economic costs of rash behavior of the Chinese Politburo than of the political costs of rash decisions by the Taiwanese electorate.


Of course, Chen Shui-bian was elected, and China had to put up with it.  There ensued four more years of Chinese histrionics, and in March 2004, Chen was re-elected.  Three days before Chen's second inauguration, on May 17, 2004, China’s foreign ministry proclaimed that China would "crush" Taiwanese independence moves "at any cost"[74], comments that the White House spokesman declared "have no place in civilized international discourse.”[75]  


A year later, on July 14, 2005, Chinese Major General Zhu Chenghu, dean of foreign students at the People’s Liberation Army National Defense University, at the request of China’s foreign ministry, briefed a group of foreign journalists all of whom had their voice recorders humming on the table before them, saying "if the Americans are determined to interfere [then] we will be determined to respond" and added that “we Chinese will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all of the cities east of Xi’an. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds. . . of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese."[76]  


General Zhu's comments were a culmination of Chinese threats that had built up over the previous several months.  The 2006 Pentagon report on China’s military power points out that General Zhu’s views are widely shared in the PLA and at the very least are emblematic of an ongoing debate on nuclear strategy within the military.[77] One of my colleagues at the Heritage Foundation (and now Chairman of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission) who has known Gen. Zhu for more than a decade, Dr. Larry Wortzel, observed one objective of the Chinese leadership "is to put enough doubt in the minds of the American public that they will think it's not worth going to war over Taiwan."[78]  


A few months prior to General Zhu’s threats, in March 2005, China’s National People’s Congress had passed legislation called “The Statute against Splitting the Nation,” article 8 of which declares 


In the event that the ‘Taiwan independence’ secessionist forces should act under any name or by any means to cause the fact of Taiwan's secession from China, or that major incidents entailing Taiwan's secession from China should occur, or that possibilities for a peaceful reunification should be completely exhausted, the state shall employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. [79]


The use of the word “shall” (dei) in the last sentence is a mandate to action.  Article 8 also directs that “the State Council and the Central Military Commission shall decide on and execute the non-peaceful means and other necessary measures,” without the need for further reference to the National People’s Congress.  Nowhere in the legislative history of the Chinese Statute, however, is there any clue to the meaning of “splitting the nation” or “incidents entailing Taiwan’s secession” or just what might be an example of “incidents entailing Taiwan’s secession”, or how anyone would know when “possibilities” for “peaceful reunification” would be “exhausted”.  This is a problem because Taiwan has already functioned for over a half century as an independent political entity from China and already considers itself de jure separate from the People’s Republic of China. 


It is difficult to imagine a situation in which Taiwan could engage in any additional substantive “incidents entailing secession” than it already has, and therefore the “statute”, in effect,  proclaims that a casus belli already exists without requiring further action by Taiwan.  In short, this “statute” is not any kind of law recognizable in the Western democracies. 


“War Avoidance”: a sensible strategic objective for Washington? 


Although the United States has never had the reputation for cringing in the face of war threats from strategic adversaries who seek to dominate America's friends and allies -- or anyone else, for that matter -- there has arisen over the past decade a "China exception" in American doctrine about nuclear war.  Apparently, American policy-makers who understood during the Cold War that "mutual assured destruction" was the price to pay should the Soviet Union have attempted similar adventurism, believe that China's military leadership -- as personified by General Zhu Chenghu -- is completely psychotic.  Under General Zhu’s scenarios, the very rapid and drastic escalation of a war with China over Taiwan would be very difficult to control, yet many in the Washington foreign policy bureaucracy are persuaded that China will, in fact, risk nuclear war.  If it were otherwise, such threats from China would be no more effective on them than Soviet threats were to America's Cold Warriors.


Many thoughtful (but perhaps naïve) commentators point out that the Taiwan issue could become a casus belli in a Chinese war against the United States.[80]  They argue that nothing is worth getting into a war with China and consequently the United States should abandon any security commitments to Taiwan save to provide Taiwan arms should the Taiwanese feel like fighting China all by themselves.  What would they have said to Stalin in 1948 during the Berlin blockade if Stalin had threatened war unless Berlin was surrendered?  Or to Khrushchev in 1961 as the Berlin Wall was erected and West Berlin further isolated from the West?   How would that have been different from Beijing’s current demands about Taiwan?  China’s claims to sovereignty over Taiwan are virtually identical to the German Democratic Republic’s claims to Berlin, or to National Socialist Germany’s claims to the Rhineland in 1936 and to Austria and the Sudetenland in 1938.  “Taiwan independence means war,” is not a threat that should matter if America’s leaders truly consider the “global expansion of democracy” a national strategic objective.  


I am told often that America’s paramount national interest in the Taiwan Strait area is to "avoid a war."  Taiwanese strategists have a similar view.  A former Taiwan vice minister of national defense used to begin his PowerPoint briefings with the statement “Taiwan’s overarching defense policy is the prevention of war.”  To which I would point out, to both my American and Taiwan colleagues, that if that’s your “overarching defense policy” then the cheapest way to implement that policy is to surrender.  


International Relations scholars and bureaucrats alike tend to forget their academic training.  Modern “war avoidance" theory centers on the proposition that democracies do not make war on each other, but rather are themselves the targets of aggression.[81]


Henry Kissinger pointed out in his first published book "A World Restored" that in an international system where "peace" is made the highest priority, the system is at the mercy of its most ruthless member, and there is an overwhelming incentive to appease the demands of the most ruthless member regardless of how unreasonable they are.[82]   Kissinger's model predicts that China will use its constant threats of war over Taiwan as a means to an end because it sees influential forces in the US and other nations that value "peace" more than they value democracy in Taiwan.


When one considers how much China has enmeshed itself in the international manufacturing supply chain, however, it is clear that war isn't any more in the interests of the Chinese Communist Party leadership than it is of America’s.  It is inconceivable that the Beijing regime would ever challenge the United States in Taiwan unless, of course, it was absolutely convinced that the United States would back down.  Consequently, its strategy in the Taiwan Strait is a multi-dimensional one-- military, political, economic and psychological – designed to induce America to back down.  


China is financing a very rapid expansion of its military, particularly its navy, in order to give the appearance that it will soon be in a position to inflict heavy pain on the U.S. Navy in the Pacific.  With a certain amount of huffing and puffing, Beijing believes that it can present Washington with a calculus that says "the pain I could suffer from a Chinese naval strike is greater than the pain I would suffer from the loss of Taiwan, hence, I will cut my losses and quit ahead of time."  


So, presented in this way, "Taiwan Independence=War", is an unpalatable policy equation.  


One logical U.S. counter-response would be to present China with a similar calculus with an added disincentive-- something that says "the pain China will suffer from increasing threats or even military action against Taiwan will be far greater than leaving Taiwan alone, independent or not independent."  Or, simply put, the U.S. should posit a new strategic equation on the Taiwan issue: 


(War=economic devastation) + (war=Taiwan Independence)


To be an effective response to China, of course, Beijing must believe that Washington is prepared to sanction China severely for military action.  In addition, if Washington were also to proffer the likelihood that the United States would, actually, in the end, recognize the de jure independence of an invaded Taiwan, Beijing would be faced with an even more unpalatable conundrum: how could it be sure that threatening military action against Taiwan would not itself ultimately result in an internationally-recognized independent Taiwan?


Private conversations I had between March and May 2004 with administration officials and foreign service officers around the time of Vice President Richard Cheney's April 15 visit to Beijing, indicated that some thought was actually being given to this scenario.  "We have told the Chinese that a Taiwan declaration of independence would be meaningless, it would just be words on paper, it wouldn't change anything, and no country on earth would change its diplomatic recognition of Taiwan one way or the other because of it," said one U.S. diplomat.  When I pressed him about the message that statement was supposed to send, he replied, "we do not consider a Taiwan declaration of independence to be a legitimate cause for war."


It is possible that this is indeed the internal, confidential view of the Bush Administration. Assistant Secretary Kelly told the House International Relations Committee in 2004 that 


A unilateral move toward independence will avail Taiwan of nothing it does not already enjoy in terms of democratic freedom, autonomy, prosperity and security. Realistically, such moves carry the potential for a response from the PRC -- a dangerous, objectionable, and foolish response -- that could destroy much of what Taiwan has built and crush its hopes for the future. It would damage China, too.[83]  


Kelly's statement stopped short of declaring for the record that the United States considered a Chinese attack on Taiwan as an illegitimate response under international law to a Taiwan declaration of independence.  And Beijing continued its "war" threats.  Beijing quickly followed up the re-election of Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian on May 17, 2004, with a threat that Taiwanese would "in the end, meet their own destruction by playing with fire.''[84]  One could read the rather intemperate Chinese statement as a reflection of Beijing's belief that Washington was indeed pushing Taiwan to the bargaining table and that Beijing wanted to help move things along.  It was a warning meant for the State Department, not the Pentagon.


Moreover, it pointed out the lack of coherence and consistency among the various U.S. policy statements about the specific reasons the United States has taken on a security responsibility for Taiwan.  This lack of consistency is especially evident in policy statements from the U.S. Department of State as contrasted with those from the Department of Defense.  Assistant Secretary of State Kelly's April 21, 2004, statement to the Congressional hearing was quite different in tone from that of Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Rodman who testified immediately after Kelly.  Kelly offered faint praise for Taiwan's democracy ("Taiwan is a most complex and, in some ways, inconsistent polity") and placed it as a secondary interest to the more important "sparing the region the dangers of war."  And Kelly darkly warned Taiwan’s leaders (not China’s), "as Taiwan proceeds with efforts to deepen democracy, we will speak clearly and bluntly if we feel as though those efforts carry the potential to adversely impact U.S. security interests."  


The Pentagon’s Rodman pointedly was more sympathetic to Taiwan's democratic achievements.


The United States takes these obligations [under the Taiwan Relations Act] very seriously. The President’s National Security Strategy, published in September 2002, calls for “building a balance of power that favors freedom.” Taiwan’s evolution into a true multi-party democracy over the past decade is proof of the importance of America’s commitment to Taiwan’s defense. It strengthens American resolve to see Taiwan’s democracy grow and prosper.[85]


The Kelly-Rodman statements would have been more effective in moderating Chinese assertiveness on the Taiwan issue if the Kelly had been a bit more supportive of Taiwan's democracy and explicated -- as Rodman did -- the reasons why America "takes these obligations very seriously."  Unfortunately, the State Department’s habit has been to insist that America’s commitment to Taiwan is no more than a “responsibility under the Taiwan Relations Act.”[86] As such, two years of careless statements by various senior U.S. officials have given Taiwan’s people the impression that Washington eventually foresees Taiwan shoved into the suffocating embrace of the Chinese motherland, to suffer the same fate as Hong Kong.[87]


Taiwan in America’s Asia Strategy


Then there is General MacArthur’s dictum to keep "island-Asia" out of the hands of "mainland-Asia".[88] The United States is the globe's preeminent naval power, and security of the sea lanes is essential to its national security. Taiwan sits astride major sea-lanes between the West Coast of the United States and East Asia and Japan's sea-lanes to the Middle East. America's alliances with nations in the island chain along the Asian mainland provide the surveillance capabilities essential to protecting U.S. naval forces in the Pacific. Taiwan is a link in that "island-Asia" chain. American naval planners closely monitor Chinese ship movements through Japanese and Taiwan waters reportedly because they "consider Taiwan as part of the 'First Island Chain' of defense."  New phased-array radar stations on Taiwan will also be integrated into the U.S. missile defense network in the Western Pacific.


And, as will be discussed in subsequent chapters, the United States also has a robust intelligence sharing relationship with Taiwan. Clearly, a future Taiwan regime forced into Beijing's suzerainty would break that relationship.


While times have changed since MacArthur's era, the geography of the Pacific has not.  It now seems that history has replaced one set of mainland Eurasian non-status quo powers with -- surprise! -- the same set, only this time, instead of Moscow in the lead, Beijing is the leader.  Thus, keeping “island Asia” out of the hands of “mainland Asia” continues to be a compelling strategic objective even today, and within that construct we can start addressing the increasing complexities of Taiwan's domestic politics.    


Taiwan's definition of itself


A crucial element in keeping “island” Taiwan out of Beijing’s hands is understanding how Taiwan’s people view themselves and supporting them in that view.  For the years between 1988 when Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui came to power until 2000 when he retired (and his successor was defeated in that year’s presidential elections), Taiwan’s people had formed a substantial consensus on their future as separate from China.  Since then, that consensus has been strained, both by external pressures from China as well as the United States and other fellow democracies, and by internal pressures against resisting China’s pressures exacerbated by the external ones.


One thing that the vast majority of Taiwanese believe is that Taiwan is presently independent from the People’s Republic China and has been since 1949.  This infelicitous fact has been a burr in the saddle of America’s China policy for thirty years, and no doubt will continue to be for years to come precisely because few American officials in authority have devoted any thought to a desirable end-state of the Taiwan-China calculus -- or if they have, they keep it to themselves.  


China, on the other hand considers Taiwan to have been deeded over to Chiang Kai-shek’s regime in 1945, and therefore, since the People’s Republic succeeded Chiang’s regime in 1949 (and in the United Nations in 1971), Taiwan’s real estate is communist property.


Taiwan’s “Republic of China,” has always considered itself both de facto and de jure separate from the “People’s Republic of China,” and since 1992 has constitutionally cut itself off from the People’s Republic by statutorily disenfranchising all residents of the mainland who otherwise would have “Republic of China” citizenship. 


In 2000, a pro-independence candidate was elected Taiwan’s president by nearly forty percent of the popular vote (in a three way race), and he was re-elected with a shade more than fifty percent in 2004.  Taiwan’s long-standing official description of its own status is that it and the People’s Republic are “two sovereign, independent and mutually non-subordinate nations”.[89]  In 1999, Taiwan’s previous president described his country’s relations with China as “special state-to-state relations”[90], and the current president said in August 2002 that “there is one nation on each side of the Taiwan Strait.”  As of September 2005, Taiwan’s official description of itself is “The Republic of China is Taiwan.”[91]On May 18, 2006, Taiwan’s President Chen told visiting European legislators that 


Over the past 50 years, the `status quo' across the Taiwan Strait has been that on one side, there is a democratic Taiwan, and on the other, there is an authoritarian China. Neither of the two countries are subordinate to each other, because they are two independent sovereignties. Both sides have their own national title, national flag, national anthem, legislature, judicial system and military.[92]


Unlike the leadership of Communist China, Taiwan's political leadership is not monolithic.  Democratic Taiwan’s political leaders on both sides of the so-called “Green-Blue”[93] divide are getting progressively anxious as China's military expansion builds steam, as China begins to use its economic clout to deepen Taiwan's economic dependence on China and as China's Communist Party ratchets up pressure on Taiwanese businessmen with investments in China.


Taiwan’s pro-independence “Greens” led by President Chen Shui-bian are nervous that China's military power will further weaken support in Washington for Taiwan.  In their agitation, they believe they must trumpet ever more loudly Taiwan’s separate democratic identity from China.  That identity, for them, has become a fundamental element of state legitimacy.  Hence, their sense of urgency in abolishing governmental institutions, like the National Unification Council and the National Unification Guidelines, that imply that unification with China is Taiwan’s state doctrine.


For the moderates in the “Blue” camp, however, their “state legitimacy” rests on a claim that Taiwan's “Republic of China” – not the communists’ “People’s Republic” – has sovereignty over all China from the Pacific coast to the western deserts of Xinjiang.  Their vision of a future China is one where the democratic “ROC” eventually supplants the totalitarian “PRC” – or that the PRC regime democratizes and the ROC can then unify with it. In the decades or centuries until China’s democratic millennium, however, they are content to acquiesce to Beijing’s claim that the PRC (as “China”) is sovereign over Taiwan.[94]  Moreover, because they have no intention of challenging Beijing’s assertion that Taiwan cannot be “independent”, some "Deep-Blue" politicians question the need for a robust defense, and seem willing to entrust Taiwan’s security to Beijing’s goodwill.


Taiwan and Asia in the 21st Century


At the beginning of 2006, new worries are beginning to arise about the direction of Taiwan and corrosive effect that incoherent U.S. policies are having on the resolve of Taiwan's people.


On January 29, Taiwan’s President Chen Shui-bian made some unscripted comments by about the continued utility of the "National Unification Council" (a public council designed to consider possible modes of future unification of democratic Taiwan with communist China). President Chen told a Lunar New years gathering that day “everyone now calls for, encourages, demands to know whether the national unification council and the guidelines should or should not be dismantled (feichu)” and opined that 


everyone knows the National Unification Council has become just a name on a sign, and if a store not only has a sign that no one can see, and moreover has nothing to sell, then what kind of 'common unification' shall such an establishment, such a National Unification Council, such a set of National Unification Guidelines, be able to achieve?”  He added that the “principle of ‘one China’ … is profoundly problematic (feichang you wentide).[95]  


Since mid-2002, the Bush Administration had tried to gain Chinese acquiescence for U.S. moves on North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, the War on Terror, by trying to keep the Taiwan issue out of sight.  For Bush National Security Council aides and the State Department, this meant leaning on Taiwan's president to keep silent when China touted claims of sovereignty over the Island.  In President Chen’s first inaugural address on May 20, 2000, at the suggestion if not insistence of the United States, he made five pledges, including “the abolition of the National Reunification Council or the National Reunification Guidelines will not be an issue.”[96] The first blow-up over these pledges came when President Chen outlined a new "One Country on Either Side of the Strait" (yibian yiguo) formulation on August 3, 2002, just as the United States was courting Chinese support (or at least non-opposition) for United Nations Security Council.[97]   


From that point on, the White House and State Department viewed the Taiwanese leader's penchant for publicizing the objective fact, that Taiwan was indeed independent, as a nuisance.  Whenever top Beijing leaders were thrust into near proximity of an American one, "Taiwan" was regularly hinted as the reason why China found it inconvenient to cooperate with the United States.[98]  So, Washington's bureaucrats got into the habit of calling on the Taiwan president to refrain from publicly questioning of the "one China" principle because his pronouncements had roiled the waters of the Taiwan Strait thereby causing mal-de-mer in Washington.[99]  Washington, of course, gets anxious that any time he opens his mouth. President Chen’s words, they believe, could be seen in Beijing as a casus belli against Taiwan and precipitate an American military confrontation with China.  


But concerns are misplaced. Beijing, after all, is the real problem.  Beijing's so-called "Anti-Secession Law" was itself an open-ended declaration of a casus belli against Taiwan.  Unfortunately, the official U.S. reaction – at least in public – was muted.  The most the State Department spokesman could say was “we believe it to be unhelpful”.[100]  “Unhelpful,” indeed.  Yet Washington’s reaction to Beijing’s “law” was far milder than its abuse of Taiwan’s leader for far less serious transgressions.


When it comes to sincere attempts to east strains across the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan’s president Chen Shui-bian is thechampion.  Starting on New Years Day 2001, he has proffered an unending string of compromises, outreach, and unilateral openings to China. Taiwan opened direct links between China and the offshore islands of Kinmen (known more familiarly to American as "Quemoy") and Matsu, licensed direct charter flights to China, relaxed investment rules, and begged for military-to-military "confidence-building measures." China has rebuffed every call from Taiwan for cross-Strait dialogue.  Instead, it has deployed over 800 ballistic missiles targeted on Taiwan, and is increasing that number at a rate of 75-100 a year.  Beijing threatens both Taiwanese who support President Chen and U.S. businessmen who support Taiwan’s government, behavior that is in direct contravention of U.S. anti-boycott legislation.[101]  


Rebuffing pleas from the US Government to open a dialogue with "Taiwan's elected leaders"[102], Beijing deals onlywith opposition parties in Taiwan that "adhere" to the "one China principle" and oppose Taiwan's defense spending.  Beijing even refused to allow a Taiwan representative to attend the December 30, 2005, funeral of Wang Daohan, Beijing's eminent Taiwan negotiator.


But it is vital that the U.S. Administration, and particularly President Bush himself and his successors, sympathize with the existential challenge facing Taiwan when it harangues Taiwan's leaders about their precious, yet undefined, "status quo."  Compromise the legitimacy of their own governance is the one thing that Taiwan's democratically-elected leaders at either end of the political spectrum simply cannot, and will not, do.  Sovereignty over Taiwan, they insist, belongs solely to the people of Taiwan -- not to the "sole legal government of China" in Beijing.  


And the United States government must understand that so long as Taiwan refuses to acknowledge Beijing's sovereignty, Beijing's long-term strategy is to isolate Taiwan in the international community to the most extreme extents possible.


In short, China has done nothing -- and intends to do nothing -- to requite Taiwan's outreach. By the time of his November 2005 visits to Japan and China, President Bush is said to have become so dismayed by Beijing’s sustained hostility toward Taiwan’s leaders that he inserted a paragraph praising Taiwan's democracy into his Asia policy speech in Kyoto[103] -- a paragraph that surprised every China watcher in Washington, including those in the White House.[104]


The receptivity of Taipei's "elected leaders" to a dialogue with Beijing's unelected ones is unquestioned.  Beijing simply refuses.  


Crucial Questions


Before moving on to specific questions about the direction of Taiwan policy, the U.S. Administration must reach a consensus on whether "war avoidance" by itself makes sense as a strategic objective of the United States; on whetherChina, or any totalitarian regime, can ever be deterred from ultimately using military force except with unified and firm push-back from the democracies of the world presumably bolstered by coherent American leadership.  If firmness and unity among the nations of the international community of democracies are needed, do American policies regarding the Taiwan Strait have the perverse effect of encouraging China’s bellicosity rather than assuaging it?  


If Washington hopes even to begin addressing these issues, it should undertake a bottom-up reassessment of America’s stake in Taiwan in the broad strategic context of the emergence of China as a "military superpower" and likely “peer competitor” in Asia.[105]  By some measures, China is already the world’s second largest economy and is now rising as a new “military superpower” and “peer competitor” to the United States in the Asia-Pacific.  


In counterpoint, the United States and Taiwan have had a remarkable security partnership in the Western Pacific for over a half-century -- but it is a partnership in peril.  The Bush Administration must reexamine its strategic position in Asia and what it will look like without a robust U.S.-Taiwan relationship or, worse still, with Taiwan under the military sway of the People’s Republic of China.  If U.S. policy-makers do not like what they see, they must craft a strategy to prevent it and implement policies consistent with that strategy.  


At the very least, the U.S. must counter Beijing’s relentless campaign to isolate Taiwan economically and politically by strengthening U.S.-Taiwan trade ties and strongly encouraging allies and other democracies to include Taiwan in international efforts on health, transportation, nonproliferation, counterterror, and disaster relief.  A U.S. free trade agreement with Taiwan would be a good place to start.  Membership – even as an “observer” – in other formal and informal international organizations like the World Health Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Maritime Organization, and the various informal nonproliferation groups like the Australia Group (on chemical weapons) and the Missile Technology Control Regime, and in refugee and relief “core groups” would benefit the international community and provide Taiwan with enhanced international legitimacy.  In turn, Taiwan’s enhanced legitimacy would provide extra deterrence against China’s constant threats of force against Taiwan. 


Within this context, does it still make sense for the United States – or any other global democracy – to humor China’s claims to “sovereignty” over Taiwan?  If Beijing is successful in persuading Washington to back away from its support of democratic Taiwan, would Asia see in it a signal that the United States is withdrawing from the Western Pacific?  How would a Chinese-aligned Taiwan impact America’s strategic position in Asia?


Taiwan's legal status, as a matter of international law, has gone unratified since 1945.  Japan formally renounced "right, title and claim" to Taiwan in its instrument of surrender at the end of the Second World War.  It was occupied by the Chinese Nationalist Army in October 1945, and became a haven for the Nationalists' government in exile after their defeat in China's civil war. Taiwan was saved from certain Chinese Communist occupation by the Korean War which obliged President Harry S Truman to position the U.S. Seventh Fleet in the Taiwan Strait.  And, in the absence of an international treaty formally transferring sovereignty from a defeated Japan to anyone else, the question of who "owns" Taiwan has been in diplomatic limbo since 1945.[106]  


Communist China, of course, claims sovereignty over the Island of Taiwan and its people and reserves the right, under international law, to bring this terra irredenta under its control by force of arms.  And while the United States has tried, under successive administrations, to evade the legal issue claiming that "the United States takes no position on the matter of sovereignty over Taiwan", Congress has legislated a formal defense commitment to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations.


Question One –Is Taiwan strategically important?  Does it make sense for the United States to encourage Taiwan’s voters to move toward China in an effort to stave off Chinese military and economic threats?  The only answer is "no."  There is no indication that China’s military buildup would abate with the successful absorption of Taiwan.  Aside from the unassailable fact that Taiwan is a vibrant democracy and is one America’s top trading partners, U.S. policy-makers certainly must be able to see that Taiwan is an important defense and intelligence partner that occupies 13,000 square miles of strategic real estate in what General MacArthur called America’s “littoral defense line in the western Pacific”.[107]  This will be dealt with at some length in Chapter 3.  But one aspect of the relationship should not be underestimated.  Taiwan is an important source for advanced electronics – a strategic commodity if ever there was one.


Taiwan’s semiconductor industry is the world’s most advanced, according to a report in February by the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board.[108]  According to that same report, the Pentagon gets a substantial volume of vital microchips from Taiwan’s chip “fabs”.  Meanwhile, the report adds, America’s microchip production capacity is down to near zero -- with only one U.S. chip fab able to produce “trusted and classified” chips for our defense needs.  Meanwhile, U.S. semiconductor manufacturing is increasingly outsourced to China where all chip fabs are under the control of the Chinese government.  And chips aren’t the only vital defense items supplied from Taiwan.  


As an important U.S. security partner, Taiwan’s freedom from Beijing’s control is, by itself, in America’s interests.


Question Two - is there a danger of a Taiwan-China security partnership?  Some senior pro-China politicians in Taiwan’s “Blue” camp are quietly relieved that their continuing legislative veto of defense funding for advanced U.S. anti-missile and anti-submarine weapons -- the two defense capabilities Taiwan needs most urgently and which Beijing most urgently opposes[109] -- achieves the dual goal of antagonizing Washington and gratifying Beijing. 


On May 12, 2005, Chinese Communist Party leader Hu Jintao and Dr. James Soong, (now chairman of one of Taiwan’s small pro-China opposition parties who was very nearly elected Taiwan’s vice-president in 2004), issued a “joint news communiqué” in Beijing declaring that “Military conflicts shall be effectively avoided so long as there is no possibility that Taiwan moves toward ‘Taiwan independence’”.[110]  Then, at a September, 2005, “peace conference” in Shanghai, Soong explained that Communist Party leader Hu had given him a commitment not to attack Taiwan, and therefore, Taiwan did not need to defend itself from China.[111] Clearly, under such a formula, China must perforce assume all defense responsibilities for Taiwan, a task Beijing's leaders would certainly relish.  Also, under such an arrangement with China, Beijing would also reserve the right to use military or police force against any private citizens, members of the government or legislature, in Taiwan who advocate Taiwan’s separate identity from China -- a population that includes at least 57% of Taiwan’s people according to a poll conducted for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research dated February 11, 2005.[112]


In other words, there will be no room in any “one China” framework between Beijing and Taipei for Taiwan’s continued security relationship with the United States or other Asian democracies.[113]  Indeed, Taiwan’s biggest opposition party, the “Chinese Kuomintang” also supports a new cooperative relationship with China and often points to American policy statements to justify its policies.[114]


Question Three - is Taiwan moving in China's Direction?  As Washington contemplates the political debate in Taiwan, however, it must consider its own strategic position in the Western Pacific.  Surely, the prospect of Taiwan’s embryonic democracy and advanced technological base firmly enfolded within Beijing’s 21st century co-prosperity sphere should perturb America’s leaders who value the global expansion of democracy and would like, as a matter of prudent caution, to keep America's primary source of advanced semiconductors out of the hands of Asia's leading dictatorship.  Even more unsettling should be the prospect an important U.S. defense and intelligence partner on the Pacific Rim -- where reliable friends of America are getting hard to come by -- deciding that its future lies with the illiberal, albeit powerful and wealthy, regime in Beijing.  


Democracy is a wonderful thing, but democracies in foreign countries don’t always work in ways that suit U.S. policies.  Taiwan’s opposition parties, for example, have bottled-up key defense budget legislation by claiming either that the Pentagon is deliberately cheating Taiwan’s taxpayers by insisting that Taiwan buy overpriced and ineffective weapons systems;[115] or they claim that Taiwan can't afford an 'arms race' with China, and buying new systems is no use.[116]  Taiwan’s President Chen has argued that Taiwan can afford new weapons systems and they will be effective in meeting the threat from China.  He points out that Taiwan certainly has better finances now than a decade ago, yet the proportion of the national budget devoted to defense has been cut by nearly half since then.


Clearly, Washington needs some political allies in Taipei.  If Taiwan’s government cannot make needed changes in the island’s defense posture, however, Taiwan risks becoming a defense liability to the United States. 


[1] Foreign Relations of the United States[FRUS], 1950, Volume VI, East Asia and the Pacific (United States Washington: Government Printing Office, 1976), p. 291.

[2] Top Secret memorandum from Kenneth C. Krentz to Director of Policy Planning (S/P), Paul H. Nitze, dated March 9, 1950, copy in files of the Office of Chinese Affairs.

[3] Memorandum entitled “Hypothetical Development of the Formosan Situation” dated May 3, 1950, classified Top Secret, and signed “PHN” in Nitze’s handwriting.  National Archives record number 793.00/5-350.

[4] Thomas J. Schoenbaum, Waging Peace and War; Dean Rusk in the Truman, Kennedy and Johnson Years, New York, Simon and Shuster, 1988, p. 209.

[5] Liao Gailong, "Guanyu Dang Shi he Dang Shi Ziliao de Mantan" [Remarks on Party History and Party Historical Documents], Report to the Third All China Work Conference on Literary and Historical Materials, December 4, 1980, published by the Beijing Municipal Political Consultative Congress Study Committee February, 1981, p. 19.  Internal Reference Document, in the author's collection. 

[6] See President Truman’s instructions to General George C. Marshall in U.S. Department of State, United States Relations with China, with Special Reference to the Period 1944–49 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1949), p. 133 (emphasis added). This document is also known as the “China White Paper”.

[7] George C. Marshall memorandum of the China Mission, Chapter XXXIII The National Assembly and the New Constitution; President Truman’s Statement of American Policy toward China, page 491.  Original at the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. 

[8] See Memorandum from the Ambassador in China to the Department of State, Subject” Transmission of Copy of Text of President Chiang Kai-shek’s Speech to National Assembly Upon Presentation of Draft Constitution, dated December 4, 1946.  NARA reference 893.011/12-446

[9] China White Paper, p. 212.

[10] George H. Kerr, Formosa Betrayed, Houghton Mifflin, Boston 1965, p. 199-201

[11] Dispatch No. 311 from the Ambassador in China (Stuart) to the Secretary of State, dated Nanking December 4, 1946.  Reprinted in FRUS, 1946 Vol. X, p. 590.  

[12] Formosa Betrayed, p. 240

[13] Representatives from Mainland China constituencies elected in 1947 were allowed to retain their seats indefinitely -- and as they died off, losing candidates for those seats (who managed to escape to Taiwan) were appointed in place of the dead.  LY and NA members were virtually members-for-life and faced no electoral challenge until Constitutional revisions in 1992.

[14] US Ambassador John Leighton Stuart’s memorial to Chiang Kai-shek of April 18, 1947.  See United States Relations With China With Special reference to the Period 1944–49, U.S. Department of State, Publication 3573, Far Eastern Series 30 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, August 1949), p.925. Hereafter cited as the China White Paper,

[15] FRUS, 1950, Volume VI, p. 348.

[16] Hong Xuezhi; p.44. Earlier U.S. estimates put the Chinese force at about 180,000.  See Alan S. Whiting, China Crosses the Yalu, RAND Corporation Research Study R-356, Macmillan, New York, November 1960; p. 118.  By November 24, there were “a total of 450,000 Chinese troops in Korea, including 380,000 combat fighters” -- see Li Jian below (A True Account of New China’s Six Wars Against Aggression)   

[17] Marshal Nie Rongzhen notes that China’s original plan was to send in only six divisions to face the widely scattered US-UN-ROK forces.  See Nie p. 741.  Hong Xuezhi says there were “twelve infantry divisions, three artillery divisions,” with an additional 24 divisions concentrating on the border.  Hong, p. 44.  Also see Billy C. Mossman, U.S. Army in the Korean War: Ebb and Flow November 1950 -July 1951; Center for Military History, United States Army, Washington D.C. 1990; p.55.

[18] FRUS, 1952-1954, Volume XIV, China and Japan (Part 1) (United States Washington: Government Printing Office, 1985), p. 760.

[19] The "Chung-kuo Kuomintang," or "Chinese Nationalist Party" had been China's ruling party since 1927.  The terms "Kuomintang", "Nationalists" and the abbreviation "KMT" are used here interchangeably.

[20] The substance of the November McConaughy–Yang meeting comes from Department of State Telegram 71 Taipei 5869 from the Ambassador in Taipei to the Secretary of State, “Subject: Conversation of Vice Minister Yang His-kun with Ambassador,” November 30, 1971, classified “Secret–Nodis–Eyes Only for the Secretary and Assistant Secretary Green.” The substance of the November McConaughy–Yang meeting comes from Department of State Telegram 71 Taipei 5869 from the Ambassador in Taipei to the Secretary of State, “Subject: Conversation of Vice Minister Yang His-kun with Ambassador,” November 30, 1971, classified “Secret–Nodis–Eyes Only for the Secretary and Assistant Secretary Green.”

[21] Edmund Morris, Dutch, a Memoir of Ronald Reagan, New York, Random House, 1999, pp. 377-378.

[22] Report No. 96-7, Taiwan Enabling Act; Report of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Together with Additional Views on S.245, March 2, 1979, Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979, p. 7.

[23] Section 4(b)(b)(1), Taiwan Relations Act, P.L. 96–8, April 10, 1979.

[24] The Taiwan Relations Act, P.L. 98-6 of April 10, 1979.  Section 2(b)(6) reads: “It is the Policy of the United States to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force of other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people of Taiwan.”  In Section 3(c), the TRA directs that "the President and the Congress shall determine, in accordance with constitutional processes, appropriate action by the United States in response to any such danger."

[25] Mutual Defense Treaty Between the United States of American and the Republic of China, signed at Washington December 2, 1954.  See Treaties and Other International Acts Series TIAS 3178.  Article II of the MDT says "the Parties separately and jointly . . . will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack and communist subversive activity directed from without against their territorial integrity and political stability."   Article V states that each Party will "act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes."

[26] That this is a fundamental tenet of international law, see 1 Lassa Oppenheim, International Law: Peace 452 (H. Lauterpacht ed., 8th ed. 1955) cited in Y. Frank Ching, “One China Policy and Taiwan,” Fordham International Law Journal, Volume 28, Number 1, December 2004, pp. 6-8.

[27] James Kelly, “The Taiwan Relations Act: The Next Twenty-Five Years,” testimony before the Committee on International Relations, U.S. House of Representatives, April 21, 2004, p. 75, at

[28] (No author cited), Defense Science Board Task Force on High Performance Microchip Supply, U.S. Department of Defense, February 2005.

[29] Henry Kissinger describes the policy process of the 1969opening to China.  One view, he said, opposed the opening because it “would make Soviet-American cooperation impossible”, while another view held that relations with the USSR “should not be a major factor in shaping our China policy.”  A third view, which he called “a kind of ‘Realpolitik’ approach” argued that the Soviets “would be more conciliatory if they feared that we would otherwise seek a rapprochement with Peking”.  He concludes, “Not surprisingly, I was on the side of the Realpolitikers.”  See White House Years, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1979, p. 182.

[30] The best description of the arrest of the “Gang of Four” is in Roger Garside, Coming Alive, China after Mao, New York McGraw Hill, 1981, pp. 150-167.

[31] There were certainly more than eight, but at the very least, they included Deng Xiaoping, State Chairman Li Xiannian, General Yang Shangkun, Bo Yibo, Zhou Enlai’s wife Deng Yingchao, security and legal czar Peng Zhen and central planning guru Chen Yun.

[32] This is the text of State Department Confidential Cable no. 89 BEIJING 17584 of June 28, 1989.

[33] A fascinating account of the ideological battle within the Chinese Communist Party that resulted in abandoning “Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought” in favor of “increasing the comprehensive strength of the nation” is chronicled in Ma Licheng and Ling Zhihui, eds. Jiaofeng: Dangshi Zhongguo San Ci Sixiang Jiefang Shilyu [Crossed Swords: A True Account of the Three Emancipations of Thought in Contemporary China], Jinri Zhongguo Publishers, Beijing, 1998, especially pp. 160-204.

[34] Deng consolidated the support of the People’s Liberation Army for economic reforms very early in 1992.  See, for example, “Liu Huaqing kaocha Guangzhou Junqu shi qiangdiao Liyong Gaige Kaifang youli tiaojian quanmian jiaqiang budui zhiliang jianshe” [During an inspection tour of the Guangzhou military region, Liu Huaqing stresses the need to utilize the beneficial conditions of Reform and Opening to establish a strengthened quality among the troops],  Nanfang Ribao, January 29, 1992, p. 1.

[35]  Or China’s could be the world’s fourth largest economy (after the U.S., Japan, and Germany) if new revised figures for China's service sector and Hong Kong's GDP are included; see Joe McDonald, "China Says Economy Much Bigger Than Thought", The Associated Press December 20, 2005.   For a review of China’s “mercantilist” economic policies, See “Whither China - From Membership to Responsibility?”, Deputy Secretary of State’s Remarks to National Committee on U.S.-China Relations”, New York City, September 21, 2005, at  Zoellick used the word “mercantilist” four times to describe Beijing’s policies.  On China’s GDP, see James T. Areddy and Jason Dean, "China's GDP exceeds Italy, nudges France", The Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2005; p. A12.  

[36] U.S. Office of Management and Budget, “The Budget for Fiscal Year 2005: Historical Tables,” pp. 49–51, select from menu at  [Ed. note: the U.S. State Department lists China’s annual military expenditures as second only to the United States. See “World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers 1999-2000” released June 2002, p. 38, at and

[37] Testimony of Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Richard P. Lawless before the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Committee on Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Senate, April 26, 2004, at  For a comprehensive overview of China’s military expansion see Office of the Secretary of Defense, The Military Power of the People’s Republic of China A Report to Congress Pursuant to the National Defense Authorization Act Fiscal Year 2000, published July 18, 2005, at  (Hereafter “MPPRC Report”.)  Overall Chinese military spending in 2005 of $90 billion is noted at p. 22. The Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook puts China’s 2004 military spending at $67.49 billion.  See  

[38] Shai Oster, “China Plans 15% Boost In Military Spending; Leaders Cite Price Of Oil, Soldiers' Pay; Neighbors Are Wary”, The Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2006, p. A8 at

[39] For example, SRBM deployments against Taiwan increased at a pace of 50 per year between 1996 and 2002 (See Bill Gertz, “Missiles bolstered opposite Taiwan”, The Washington Times, April 29, 2002, p. A-12).  By the end of 2005, new SRBM deployments had reached at least 100 a year.  Peter Rodman, assistant secretary of defense for international security policy, told the U.S. China Commission on March 16, 2006, that China had deployed over 700 SRBM’s against Taiwan, with numbers increasing at about 100 missiles a year.  See Foster Klug, “Pentagon Official Warns of Chinese Buildup,” The Associated Press,  March 16, 2006.     

[40] For a comprehensive look at China’s missile industry see Evan S. Medeiros, Roger Cliff, Keith Crane, James C. Mulvenon, A New Direction for China’s Defense Industry, RAND Project Air Force, Santa Monica, 2005, pp. 51-108.

[41] For a discussion of this see John J. Tkacik, Jr., “China's Submarine Challenge,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo #1001, march 1, 2006, at

[42] In addition to the Pentagon Reports on the Military Power of the PRC, see also the Quadrennial Defense Review Report, February 6, 2006, pp.29-30, and Lyle Goldstein and William Murray. "Undersea Dragons: China's Maturing Submarine Force," International Security 28, no. 4 (Spring 2004), pp. 161-196. 

[43]  One respected expert said recently, “you look back on those [intelligence] studies, and it’s only been a decade, China has exceeded – in every area of military modernization – that which even the far-off estimates of the mid-1990s predicted.”  See comments by former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Kurt Campbell in Mike Shuster, “Growing Chinese Military Strength Stirs Debate,” Morning Edition, National Public Radio, October 17, 2005, at

[44] “Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore, Saturday, June 4, 2005,” U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), at

[45] See Office of the Secretary of Defense, Annual Report to Congress; The Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2005, U.S. Department of Defense, July 18, 2005, pp. 7-8, at

[46] Ibid. p. 12.

[47] A fascinating account of the ideological battle within the Chinese Communist Party that resulted in abandoning “Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought” in favor of “increasing the comprehensive strength of the nation” is chronicled in Ma Licheng and Ling Zhihui, eds. Jiaofeng: Dangshi Zhongguo San Ci Sixiang Jiefang Shilyu [Crossed Swords: A True Account of the Three Emancipations of Thought in Contemporary China], Jinri Zhongguo Publishers, Beijing, 1998, especially pp. 160-204. See “Liu Huaqing kaocha Guangzhou Junqu shi qiangdiao Liyong Gaige Kaifang youli tiaojian quanmian jiaqiang budui zhiliang jianshe” [During an inspection tour of the Guangzhou military region, Liu Huaqing stresses the need to utilize the beneficial conditions of Reform and Opening to establish a strengthened quality among the troops],  Nanfang Ribao, January 29, 1992, p. 1.

[48] Chinese Leader Jiang Zemin told the Congress: “However, the old international political and economic order, which is unfair and irrational, has yet to be changed fundamentally. Uncertainties affecting peace and development are on the rise. The harm resulting from terrorism is increasing. Hegemonism and power politics have new manifestations.” See “Text of report delivered by Jiang Zemin at the opening of the 16th CCP National Congress at the Great Hall of the People”, Chinese Central TV on 8 November; subheadings as published, transcribed by BBC Monitoring on November 8, 2002.

[49] Jiang was also quoted by a senior Chinese political scientist as saying "The elements of traditional and nontraditional security threats are interwoven, with terrorism rising in harm and hegemonism and power politics having a new manifestation." The author explains “it is very difficult to discern whether hegemonism or terrorism is the principal threat in the long run; instead, the two elements of threat are interwoven and rise alternately.” See Liu Jianfei, "Grasp Relation Between Antiterrorism and Anti-Hegemonism" (Renqing Fankong yu fanbade guanxi); Liaowang(Outlook) Beijing, China, February 24, 2003, pp 54-56. English translation by Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) at FBIS-CHI-2003-0307. 

[50] (No author cited), “Beijing Shiya Jiguo guan Mei Jidi, Fangzhi Meijun Jiankong Dalu xibu, Jizhengfu ju cong” [Beijing pressures Kyrgyzstan to close US bases, seek to avoid US reconnaissance in China’s west, Kyrgyz government refuses], New York World Journal (in Chinese), August 4, 2005, p. A-8. For more information see C.J. Chivers, “Central Asians Call on U.S. to Set a Timetable for Closing Bases”, The New York Times, July 6, 2005, page A-12, at

[51] Condoleezza Rice, “Promoting the National Interest”, Foreign Affairs, January February 2000, p. 56.

[52] Neil King, Jr., “Rice Wants U.S. To Help China Be Positive Force,” The Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2005; Page A13, at,,SB112001578322872628,00.html.

[53] See Robert Zoellick, Deputy Secretary of State, “Zoellick Remarks at U.S. Embassy Beijing”, August 2, 2005, at

[54] Robert B. Zoellick, “Whither China - From Membership to Responsibility?, Deputy Secretary of State’s Remarks to National Committee on U.S.-China Relations”, New York City, September 21, 2005, issued by the Office of Public Affairs, at

[55] See President Truman’s instructions to General George C. Marshall in U.S. Department of State, United States Relations with China, with Special Reference to the Period 1944–49 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1949), p. 133 (emphasis added). This document is also known as the “China White Paper”.

[56] Joseph Kahn, “China's Leader, Ex-Rival at Side, Solidifies Power”, The New York Times, September 25, 2005, at

[57] APEC was founded on the principle of "a commit to open dialogue and consensus, with equal respect for the views of all participants" and APEC's Seoul Declaration of November 1991, the participants " the joining of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan."  See paragraph 4 of the Bogor Declaration, November 15, 1994, and the Executive Summary of "Achieving The Apec Vision: Free And Open Trade In The Asia Pacific", August 1994, which states " the principle of mutual respect and egalitarianism − we believe that the entire APEC enterprise should be conducted in the spirit of mutual respect and equality, informed by the understanding that different societies are at different stages, have different perspectives, different capabilities and different priorities."   

[58] The 2006 Pentagon Report on the "Military Power of the People's Republic of China" estimates that there were 710-790 SRBM's deployed against Taiwan as of December 2005.  In private conversations, I have learned the estimate is about 810 as of May 2006.

[59] The only record of such an expression of sentiment came from Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Rodman who observed "When you go from zero missiles opposite [Taiwan in] the Taiwan Strait, and a few years later there are 700, that's a change in the status quo."  See Charles Snyder, "US official accuses China over build-up," Taipei Times, March 18, 2006, p. 1, at

[60] This is at least the public position whenever anyone can actually squeeze a position out of an executive branch spokesperson.  In a letter from the State Department to Senator John East (R-NC), the Department answered the direct and simple question "what is the United States' position on the matter of sovereignty over Taiwan?" with the answer "The United States take no position on the question of Taiwan’s sovereignty.  We view this as a matter the Chinese themselves must resolve.” See Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Separation of Powers, The Taiwan Communique and the Separation of Powers, United States Senate, 97th Congress, 2nd Session, Transcript of Hearing, September 17 and 27, 1982, page 140.  In July 1982, President Reagan gave personal assurances to Taiwan's president Chiang Ching-kuo that, among other things, "The United States has not changed its long-standing position on the matter of Taiwan's sovereignty."  For a longer discussion of President Reagan's "Six Assurances" see Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs John H. Holdridge's testimony in “China–-Taiwan: United States Policy,” Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives, August 18, 1982, pp. 15–16. Holdridge also described the “Six Assurances” in his memoir, Crossing the Divide: An Insider’s Account of Normalization of U.S.-China Relations, Lanham, Md.; Rowan and Littlefield, 1997, p. 232.

[61] Public Law 96-8 (United States Code Title 22 Chapter 48 Sections 3301 – 3316), enacted April 10, 1979.  See text reprinted at Appendix I in this volume.

[62] Emphasis added.  In a prepared statement for testimony before the House International Relations Committee on April 21, 2004, Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly declared that "The U.S. does not support independence for Taiwan or unilateral moves that would change the status quo as we define it" and that this was a "core principle of administration China policy. See "House International Relations Committee Hearing on Taiwan; Statement of Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly", April 21, 2004, at

[63] House International Relations Committee Hearing on Taiwan Statement of Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly April 21, 2004, at Emphasis added.  

[64] Emphasis added. For a transcript of the hearing, see “The Taiwan Relations Act: The Next Twenty-Five Years,” testimony before the Committee on International Relations, U.S. House of Representatives, April 21, 2004, p. 40, at 

[65] On February 27, 2006, for example, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli was asked "Do you think Chen Shui-bian's move is a change of the status quo, and what is the U.S. definition of  . . . the status quo?"  Ereli tried to turn the question around: "President Chen has said that he is committed to the status quo and that he is committed to the pledges in his inaugural speech."  But the questions persisted: "I just want to get this right. So you don't consider this as a change of status quo?"  To which the cornered Ereli could only admit "You know, I'm not going to define it further than I already have."  Needless to say, he hadn't described it at all.  Transcript of the February 27 briefing is at

[66] Statement of Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly", April 21, 2004,

[67] The U.S. government never formally issued the "Six Assurances" which were conveyed by President Reagan to Taiwan's President, Chiang Ching-kuo on July 14, 1982.  But Reagan did authorize President Chiang to release the text of the assurances on the day of the announcement of the "August 17, 1982 Communiqué" with China.  That same day, then-Assistant Secretary of State John H. Holdridge repeated these assurances to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and later, Holdridge's successor, Paul Wolfowitz repeated the substance of the "Six Assurances" to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary: see Taiwan Communique and Separation of Powers, Hearing before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, March 10, 1983.  Wolfowitz said," it is important to bear in mind some things that we did not agree to in the communiqué.  We have not agreed to consult in advance with the PRC on arms sales to Taiwan, nor shall wee do so.  We have not changed our position that the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese on both sides of the strait to resolve, and we will not interfere in this matter or pressure Taiwan to inter into negotiations.  We have not changed our longstanding position on the issue of sovereignty over Taiwan.  We do not seek any of these changes nor should we seek to change the protection of the Taiwan Relations Act itself." Emphasis added.


In his memoirs, Holdridge claimed that Taipei was alerted to the August communiqué negotiations and suggested the six points as "guidelines in conducting [U.S.] relations with Taiwan."  My own memory is that the "six assurances" were drafted by Dr. Gaston Sigur, then at the National Security Council.   Holdridge also claims that the fifth point regarding the U.S. position on sovereignty was that the U.S. "would continue to regard Taiwan as part of China, the question of reunification would be left to the Chinese themselves."  See John H. Holdridge, Crossing the Divide: An Insider's Account of Normalization of U.S.-China Relations (Lanham Md.: Rowan and Littlefield, 1997), pp.231-2.  In fact, the fifth point read "we have not agreed to take any position regarding sovereignty over Taiwan" when presented to President Chiang on July 14, 1982, a position that was modified for public consumption later to read "The U.S. has not altered its position regarding sovereignty over Taiwan." 


These "six assurances" have been embraced by all subsequent U.S. Administrations as part of the canon of U.S. policy toward Taiwan.  Secretary of State Colin Powell reiterated this during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 8, 2001. He confirmed that the Assurances "remain the usual and official policy of the United States." See Hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the Fiscal Year 2002 Foreign Operations Budget, transcribed by Federal News Service, March 8, 2001.


[68] See “Excerpts From Iraqi Document on Meeting with U.S. Envoy”, The New York Times, September 23, 1990, (no page number available), a version of which is available at

[69] See, “Marshal Ye Jianying’s Nine-Point Proposal”, Beijing, Xinhua news agency, September 30, 1981.

[70] "The Taiwan Question and the Reunification of China", issued by the Taiwan Affairs Office and the Information Office under the State Council of the People's Republic of China on August 31, 1993.

[71]  "The One-China Principle and the Taiwan Issue", issued by the Taiwan Affairs Office and the Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, on February 21, 2000.

[72] Ibid.

[73] Paul Eckert, “China PM warns Taiwan voters on Chen,” Reuters, March 15, 2000.

[74] (No author cited), “Putting a check on 'Taiwan independence' a pressing task”, Beijing China Daily, May 17, 2004, p.1, at

[75] White House Daily Briefing, May 19, 2004, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, at

[76] This was described to me, first-hand, by a correspondent that was in the meeting.  But for other reporting see, Danny Gittings, "General Zhu Goes Ballistic", The Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2005; Page A13, at,,SB112165176626988025,00.html; Jason Dean, "Chinese General Lays Nuclear Card On U.S.'s Table," The Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2005, at,,SB112135825292585833,00.html.  See also Alexandra Harney "China 'ready to use N-weapons against US," Financial Times, July 14 2005, at,ft_acl=,s01=1.html; Joe McDonald, "Chinese General Threatens U.S. Over Taiwan; Response Might Be With Nuclear Weapons, Reporters Told." The Associated Press, July 15, 2005; Joseph Kahn, "Chinese General Threatens Use of A-Bombs if U.S. Intrudes," The New York Times, July 15, 2005, at

[77] See “Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2006”, Office of Secretary of Defense, issued May 23, 2006, p. 20, at .

[78] Supposedly, General Zhu was 'punished' for his indiscretion before a gaggle of foreign reporters with tape recorders humming, but as one unidentified Chinese source put it, "the punishment could not be too harsh or we would be seen as too weak toward the United States"; see "China Punished General For Talk Of Strike At U.S.", Reuters, December 22, 2005. 

[79] This is the literal translation “Fan Fenlie Guojia Fa”, more commonly known in English as the “Anti Secession Law”.  For a full text see

[80] See for example, Ted Galen Carpenter, America's Coming War with China; A Collision Course Over Taiwan, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

[81] For a short review of "war avoidance" theory see Steven Geoffrey Gieseler, “Debate on the ‘Democratic Peace’: A Review”, in American Diplomacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, January 3, 2004, at

[82] Stephen Richards Graubard makes this point in Kissinger: Portrait of a Mind, New York, WW Norton & Company, 1973, p. 17.  Kissinger's book, A World Restored, Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace 1812-1822, was republished in paperback by Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London, on October 19, 2000.

[83] Kelly, April 21, 2004, testimony. 

[84] "China Denounces Taiwan's Chen, Warns Against Independence Moves," Associated Press, May 17, 2004, at,,SB108478661502913242,00.html.

[85] Prepared Statement of Peter W. Rodman, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs before the House International Relations Committee hearing “The Taiwan Relations Act: The next 25 years,” April 21, 2004, at

[86] State and NSC policy-level spokespersons rarely, if ever, describe America’s interest in the survival of a democratic Taiwan.  Instead, they couch U.S. support in terms of “obligations under the TRA”.  For example, when asked by the Chinese language press about U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, Secretary of State Colin Powell only said the US “completely understands Chinese concern about the arms-sales issue” but that the U.S. “also has responsibilities under the Taiwan Relations Act. When selling arms to Taiwan, the US considers all factors.” See “Interview With Phoenix TV”, Secretary Colin L. Powell, Washington, DC, February 19, 2003 at  Dr. Condoleezza Rice told reporters that “the U.S. is very clear on our policies about Taiwan, one China policy. We are basing our policy on the three communiques. And we, of course, always remind people that we also have obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act to help China -- to help Taiwan defend itself.” See “Dr. Rice Previews President's Trip to Asia and Australia”, Press Briefing by National Security Advisor, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, October 14, 2003, at

[87] For example, Secretary Powell opined ex tempore that Taiwan “does not enjoy sovereignty as a nation,” and suggested that Taiwan and China “look for ways of improving dialogue across the Straits and move forward toward that day when we will see a peaceful unification.”  See “Interview With Anthony Yuen of Phoenix TV”, Secretary Colin L. Powell, China World Hotel, Beijing, China, October 25, 2004,  Both these remarks were later recanted by the State Department spokesman, who explained “I don't think you should read that any prejudging or hinting or departure from our longstanding position,” and added “I think the Secretary is very outspoken and very emphatic about encouraging an intensification of that dialogue. And that's where we think the focus ought to be.” See “Daily Press Briefing” by Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman, October 25, 2004 at

[88] This paraphrases MacArthur's strategy.  See General Douglas MacArthur’s “Farewell Address to Congress” delivered April 19, 1951, in the Congressional Register for that date, a version of which is at,    

[89] Chen Fengxing, "Jiang Bingkun: Liangan shi liangge zhuquan guojia; Qiangdiao woguo zhengce wei ‘yi yige zhongguo wei zhixiangde jieduanxingde liangge Zhongguo zhengce’" [PK Chiang: There are two sovereign nations on either side of the Strait; stresses that Taiwan's policy is ‘an interim two China's policy with One China as its conceptual guide’], Taipei United Daily News, November 22, 1993, p.1.

[90] Meng Ronghua, "Li Zongtong: Liangan dingwei teshu guo yu guo guanxi" [President Lee: The two sides of the Strait are defined as special state-to-state relations]. Taipei Central Daily News, July 10, 1999, p. 1. at

[91] See Presidential Office Press Release. 2005-08-02, “President Chen Receives the Youth Friendship Ambassadors of the Formosa Foundation in the United States”.  See also (No author cited), “Taiwan People Want to be Their Own Masters: President”, Taipei Central News Agency, August 13, 2005.

[92] Ko Shu-ling, “Status quo” is two independent countries: Chen,” Taipei Times, May 18, 2006, p. 3, at

[93] Taiwan’s “Green” camp comprises President Chen Shui-bian’s left-of-center, labor/environment-oriented “Democratic Progressive Party” (DPP) and the solidly pro-independence “Taiwan Solidarity Union” (TSU).  The “Blue” camp is dominated by the right-of-center, pro-business “Kuomintang” (Nationalist) party (KMT) and includes the smaller pro-China “People First Party” (PFP).

[94] For an authoritative statement of the KMT’s position on Taiwan, see KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou’s speech at the London School of Economics, “Bridging the Divide: A Vision for Peace in Asia”, 

February 13, 2006.  Mr. Ma noted that “insofar as the political question is concerned, should the Kuomintang regain power in 2008, we will try to resume the disrupted cross-Strait talks under the so-called ‘Consensus of 1992’. This is a tacit consensus reached by the two sides in 1992 in Hong Kong accepting the “one-China principle” but allowing different interpretations by each side, in order to find the common ground and cement mutual trust in the first place. For us, the “China” is Republic of China; for them, it is the People’s Republic of China.”  He added, “But as the ROC Constitution is a one-China constitution, it does not rule out the option of eventual reunification between Taiwan and Mainland China if the overall conditions across the Taiwan Strait are ripe, that is to say, when the developments in Mainland China reach a stage when its political democracy, economic prosperity and social well-being become congruent with those of Taiwan.” 

[95] (No author cited), “Zongtong yu Tainan Xiangqin Huanzhong Xinnian Tuanyuan Canxu” [President’s Dinner Remarks to Tainan Kinsmen New Year Gathering], Taipei, Central News Agency, January 29, 2006.  President Chen announced the “cessation” (zhongzhi) of the council on February 27, 2006.

[96] Chen was clear that his speech would “satisfy” the Americans.  See Zheng Renwen, Huang Qianyu, “Bian ti Jiuzhi Yanshuo San Yuanze” [Chen Shui-bian raises three principles for inauguration speech], Taipei Central Daily News, May 4, 2000, p. 1.  Those three principles were: 1) The U.S. will be satisfied (zuo dao rang Meiguo manyi); 2) it will be accepted by the international community (rang guoji shehui kending); and 3) and the Chinese communists will find no excuse to say Taiwan is provocative (Zhonggong zhaobudao jiekou lai shuo Taiwan tiaochi).  On May 15, 2000, The State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher was asked, “Q: Let me come back to Taiwan.  The same Post article indicated that Raymond Burghardt, the AIT director in Taiwan, has tried to exert influence in the writing of President-elect Chen's inaugural speech.  Would you confirm or deny that, or . . .”   Boucher replied, “No, I'm not going to talk about that.  We have meetings with a lot of people a lot of times.  We don't get into every single one and try to talk about it.” When pressed on whether the U.S. representative in Taipei had “been given any talking points on his speech,” Boucher demurred.  “I'm not going to try to characterize it one way or the other.”    The so-called “Five Noes” were in a part of the speech that read : “Therefore, as long as the CCP regime has no intention to use military force against Taiwan, I pledge that during my term in office, I will not declare independence, I will not change the national title, I will not push forth the inclusion of the so-called "state-to-state" description in the Constitution, and I will not promote a referendum to change the status quo in regards to the question of independence or unification. Furthermore, the abolition of the National Reunification Council or the National Reunification Guidelines will not be an issue.”  See President Chen Shui-bian's inauguration speech, “Taiwan Stands Up”, Office of the President, Republic of China, May 20, 2000.

[97] For a discussion of the "yibian yiguo" controversy see John J. Tkacik, Jr. "Taiwan Hornets Nest", The Asian Wall Street Journal, August 5, 2005, p.A-12, at

[98] This was especially true at the time of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.  Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao made clear that China would expect U.S. cooperation in return for its support. "The United States has asked China to provide assistance in the fight against terrorism," Zhu told a news conference. "China, by the same token, has reasons to ask the United States to give its support and understanding in the fight against terrorism and separatists," he said.  "We should not have double standards."  See John Pomfret, “China Also Wants U.S. Help Against 'Separatists;' Seeks U.S. Support on Taiwan, Tibet, Missile Defense”, The Washington Post; September 19, 2001, p. A.11.

[99] The Bush Administration believes it has an understanding with Taipei that there should be close communication on any Taiwan initiative that might upset the political “status quo as we define it” in the Taiwan Strait.  But historically, any comments by Taiwanese leaders that hint Taiwan has lost interest in some future unification with Communist China have caused successive U.S. administrations considerable jumpiness. Caught off-guard by the Taiwanese leader’s comments, a State Department spokesman said on January 30, 2006, “we certainly weren't expecting [President Chen's statement] and we weren't consulted about it.  So I'd say it was a surprise.”

[100] See Richard Boucher, Spokesman, Department of State Daily Press Briefing, Washington, DC, March 14, 2005 at  “Mr. Boucher: The decision by the Chinese leaders to have the National People's Congress adopt an anti-secession law today is -- it's unfortunate. It really does not serve the cause of peace and stability on the Taiwan Strait and for that reason we believe it to be unhelpful.”  Assistant Secretary of State-designate for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill told Senators during his confirmation hearings that Washington must be "We don't believe there is any justification for making these unhelpful statements that suggest that there are other options out there that the Chinese can use beside peaceful dialogue" and added, "It is unthinkable to resort to military means to solve [cross-strait issues]. So clearly any Anti-Secession Law that alludes to the legality of military means is simply not helpful."  See Charles Snyder, “Rice to tell Beijing US upset over law,” Taipei Times, March 17, 2005, p. 1, at

[101]  See Wang Zhuozhong, "Renzhi Taishang Yingxiang, Zhonggong Lalong Fandu" [Mindful of Taiwan business's influence, China Coerces them to oppose Taiwan Independence], Taipei China Times, May 3, 2006. For a discussion of this see John J. Tkacik, Jr., “Needed: A Strong Response to Beijing's Boycott of Foreign Businesses Dealing with Taiwan,” Heritage Foundation Executive Memorandum #773, September 7, 2001, at  Section 4(b)(8) of the Taiwan Relations Act “makes clear that Taiwan will be treated as a ‘friendly’ country for the purposes of United States Laws.  The anti-boycott provisions of the Export Administration Act, for example, are made applicable with respect to Taiwan by these sections.”  See the Taiwan Relations Act Conference Report, U.S. House of Representatives Report No. 96-71, March 24, 1979, p. 13.

[102] It is an established mantra of U.S. policy that Beijing should talk directly with the democratically "elected leadership" on Taiwan.  See Department of State, Daily Press Briefing, Richard Boucher, Spokesman, May 2, 2005, at  Mr. Boucher emphasized that "a long-term cross-strait solution will require dialogue between representatives of the duly elected leadership in Taiwan and the authorities on the mainland."  On February 27, 2006, White House spokesman Scott McClelland, said "the United States continues to also stress the need for Beijing to open a meaningful dialogue with the duly elected leadership in Taiwan that leads to a peaceful resolution of their differences."  Those words were echoed the same day by State Department spokesman Adam Ereli, who said "we continue to stress the need for Beijing to open a dialogue with the elected leadership in Taiwan."

[103] George W. Bush, “President Discusses Freedom and Democracy in Kyoto, Japan, Kyoto Kaikan, Kyoto, Japan”, White House Press Release, November 16, 2005, at; see also Jennifer Loven, "Bush Hails Taiwan As Model of Freedom", The Associated Press, November 16, 2005.  

[104] For a longer discussion of this see John J. Tkacik Jr., "Revenge of the Panda Hugger: The Bush administration's China policy is hardening", The Weekly Standard, Volume 011, Issue 23, February 27, 2006, at

[105] Senior U.S. officials first began to refer to China as an emerging “military superpower” as early as June 2005. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice used the term “military superpower”.  See Neil King, Jr., “Rice Wants U.S. To Help China Be Positive Force,” The Wall Street Journal June 29, 2005; p. A13, at,,SB112001578322872628,00.html. Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte told a congressional hearing that “China is a rapidly rising power with steadily expanding global reach that may become a peer competitor to the United States at some point,".  See Bill Gertz, “China's Emergence as Military Power Splits Strategists on Threat To U.S.” The Washington Times, February 7, 2006, page A-3, at  

[106] For the State Department’s official position on Taiwan’s sovereignty as of July 13, 1971, see a memorandum from the Office of the Legal Advisor entitled “The Legal Status of Taiwan”, a copy of which appears in John J. Tkacik, Jr. ed., Rethinking “One China”, The Heritage Foundation, 2004, pp. 180-191. For an extended discussion of the Taiwan “sovereignty” issue, see Y. Frank Chiang, “One-China Policy and Taiwan, cited above.

[107] General Douglas MacArthur - Farewell Address to Congress.

[108] (No author cited), Defense Science Board Task Force on High Performance Microchip Supply, U.S. Department of Defense, February 2005.

[109] For a discussion of these systems see Richard P. Lawless, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, Asian and Pacific Affairs, “Keynote Dinner Address” at the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council; US Taiwan Defense Industry Conference, Scottsdale, Arizona, delivered October 4, 2004.

[110] (No Author Cited), “Hu Jintao yu Song Chuyu huitan dacheng liuxiang gongshi” [Hu Jintao and Song Chuyu reach a six-item consensus], Renmin Wang [People’s Daily Net], Beijing, May, 12, 2005.  See also (No author cited), “No ‘Taiwan independence’, no military conflicts: communiqué”, Xinhua news agency, Beijing, May 12, 2005, at

[111] Soong told reporters on September 12, 2005, that “When I visited Beijing in May, China’s President Hu Jintao told me that there would not be any military threat facing Taiwan as long as it does not declare independence.”  Later when asked if he would encourage his PFP legislators to pass the defense budget in return for direct air links between Taiwan and China, Soong refused to respond.  A PRC Taiwan Affairs official present at the exchange, He Shizhong, warned there was no need whatever for “a certain defense capacity” on Taiwan, and Soong did not contradict him.  See (No author cited), “Taiwan Opposition Shoots Down Arms Package”, Agence France-Presse, September 13, 2005, at (February 13, 2006).  See also (No author cited), “Song Chuyu: Liangan bubi ti Junshi huxiang jizhi, zai liangan qingying luntan changyi ‘jianli jingji huxin jizhi’; Jia Qinglin ti sidian hezuo jianyi”, [James Soong: Two sides do not need military mutual confidence mechanism, Calls for ‘establishment of economic mutual confidence mechanism,’ Jia Qinglin proposes four point cooperation agreement], New York Shijie Ribao (in Chinese), September 16, 2005. See also (No author cited), (No author cited), “Taishang cu Song zancheng jungou huan zhihang, dangzhe Guotaiban Guanyuande mian, tiwen jianrui”, [Taiwan Businessmen Urge James Soong to trade Arms Budget for Direct Links, Slap in Face to Taiwan Affairs Officials, Questions Sharp], New York Shijie Ribao (In Chinese), September 16, 2005. P.2.  

[112] Robert J. Levy, “M-16-05 Opinion Analysis: Taiwan Public’s Anxiety about Beijing Does Not Translate into Willingness to Spend on Defense”, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Intelligence and research, Office of Research, February 11, 2005, Table 3.  Nearly half or all Taiwan’s residents do not consider themselves “Chinese” at all and only 4.4% considered themselves “Chinese only” according to Taiwan Gallup Poll results reported in Jason Dean, “National Identity Grows in Taiwan Trend Shows Economic Ties To China May Not Propel Goal of Political Unity,” The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2004, at,,SB107808014465642122,00.html.

[113] Other Asian partners like, for example, Singapore which has elaborate military training programs in Taiwan. See Dana Dillon and John J. Tkacik Jr. “China’s Quest for Asia”, Policy Review, Stanford University, December 2005 & January 2006, No. 134, pp.29-40; at

[114] See for example, see Caroline Hong, “Lien, Paal discussed China visit – KMT”, Taipei Times, April 23, 2005, P. 1, at; Lawrence Chung, “US 'may be using spy scandal as warning'; Washington could be playing up incident as a way of telling Taiwan's Chen to go easy on separatist remarks, say analysts,” Singapore Straits Times, September 23, 2004, (no page number available). 

[115] This is a chronic problem.  See "Liyuan chengweihui 50 du fengsha, Jungou shengbian, Guomindang you chongxin diancai" [Legislative Procedure Committee kills bill for 50th time, Arms purchase changes, KMT wants a complete reorder from the menu], Taipei China Times, April 5, 2006,

Chen Yingci, “Lian Zhan: Jue bu jieshou ‘Yizhong Liangzhi’, ye bu zuo Meiguo de maqianzu”[Lien Chan declares absolutely no acceptance of ‘One Country Two Systems’, also will not be an American pawn], Taipei United Daily News, August 17, 2003.

[116] See Xiao Xucen, “Tuiyi jiangling lianshu fan jungou, Yu 200 ke Xing” [Retired Generals line up against Military Budget, over 200 stars”, Taipei China Times (in Chinese), September 24, 2004, at; see also Wu Mingjie, Jiang Huizhen, “Jungou yusuan, fanlan cu chongbian zai shen” [Pan-Blue Wants Special Arms Budget Re-calculated and Re-submitted], Taipei China Times (in Chinese), December 14, 2004. 




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