Security of the Taiwan Strait and Peace in the Asia Pacific
at Heritage Foundation luncheon
The Heritage Foundation http://www.heritage.org/
Today, I would like to talk about a possible crisis that will affect the survival of Taiwan. We shall need your understanding and support to turn this crisis into an opportunity.
China enacted an “Anti-Secession Law” in March of this year. Taiwan responded with a one million strong peaceful demonstration voicing its opposition against Chinese military threats.
Nevertheless, Chairman Lien of the KMT party, a former symbol of opposition to Chinese Communist Party, and Chairman Soong of the PFP made “friendly visits” to the PRC, one after the other, in seeming coordination with the establishment of such law. These well-publicized visits heightened a surge of goodwill in the Taiwan society toward China, as if the possibility of Chinese military force being used against Taiwan had disappeared. Such sentiment is still growing even though it is only a delusion.
In early 2008, there is a possibility that China may launch a “sudden attack” on Taiwan. What is China’s agenda? It is China’s national policy to “liberate” Taiwan so that their country would be complete. “Liberating” Taiwan is deemed as the duty of its leaders, whose positions would be at risk if they were not successful.
As the “factory of the world,” China’s economy has rapidly grown. It could be said that the major reason for their production and exports are the foreign multinationals investing in Chinese factories rather than the result of Chinese people’s own capabilities. Moreover, the current trade conflicts with the United States and other developed nations have arisen because China relies on the import markets of these developed nations and its economy is in fact quite fragile.
Furthermore, insufficiencies in the supply of energy and water as well as scarcity of labor, and its consequent rising wages, are beginning to surface. There are looming problems of social unrest caused by a widening gap between rich and poor, the economy losing steam and the collapse of social order.
Meanwhile, nationalism is rising. Chinese people long have had pent-up frustrations from their feelings of oppression by foreigners. China believes that such feelings ought to be eradicated and therefore xenophobic incidents frequently occur. Some examples include assaulting foreign students, violence against foreign athletes, and casting stones at foreign embassies.
Moreover, the Chinese government did not exercise control on the pretext of emphasizing patriotism, and instead, designed to shift the people’s dissatisfaction with the communist party toward the foreigners.
In order to avoid the crisis facing the communist system, the despotic Chinese communist government is hoping to demonstrate its national power through hosting the International Olympics and World Exposition. Again, China’s current agenda is to “liberate” Taiwan and ultimately become a “unified and great” China.
Chinese military authorities are gradually preparing to launch a military attack. They already have deployed 700 missiles along its coast aimed at Taiwan that can be fired at anytime. They also have sent submarines and spy vessels to the waters around Taiwan and simulated an attack on Taiwan from sea to land during the recent Chinese Russian joint military exercises, using the airborne units plus ground and amphibious tanks as the core weapons.
Chinese military authorities are preparing to launch an attack on Taiwan, once they have completed preparations and believe that the attack will be successful. Even if other Chinese leaders are opposed to it, they have no basis to stop such action after enacting the “Anti-Secession Law”.
In terms of overall military power, China still does not surpass the United States. Therefore, there is the view that China will not attack Taiwan. However, by employing “sudden attack” to quickly suppress Taiwan, China will probably be successful if it can restrict the war zone to Taiwan. As to the risk of an atomic war, the PLA probably thinks that even if Taiwan is attacked, the U.S. will restrain from countering the attack.
To make it easier for them to attack Taiwan, Chinese are publicizing their military expansion, even though it may be smaller than expected. They use the KMT and PFP opposition toward the military purchase budget and emphasize that such military purchase would heighten tensions on the Taiwan Strait to prevent the upgrading of Taiwan’s military capability.
In terms of economic and people to people exchanges, Chinese have displayed tolerance, and superficially act as if they are our best friends to bring down the Taiwan people’s guard, even as they completely obstruct Taiwan’s efforts to join international organizations and plot to divide our public opinion.
However, no Taiwanese is willing to live under Chinese communist tyranny. Although some people feel that Taiwan is part of the greater Chinese culture, no one wants to give up their freedom, democracy, high living standards, and well-functioning society in exchange for the oppressive tyranny and unhappiness of China.
Mere similarity in language and culture does not make a country. What is more important is the existence of common values and love for the land upon which one lives. Seeking a new world brought many Pilgrims from England to America where they embraced other ethnicities to build a new country.
Taiwan in fact has sovereignty. Almost all Taiwan people already completely identify with Taiwan. Most Taiwan people know that realistic China is an economic and trading partner, not a paradise that they want to unify with.
Taiwan is de facto an independent and sovereign country, though its foreign diplomacy, membership in international organizations and high level exchanges have been hindered by China. Moreover, such unreasonable treatment hopefully will gradually give way as the international community has improved understanding of the situation.
Though Taiwan faces many challenges, safeguarding freedom, democracy and human rights has been its top priority. Is it not a departure from U.S. policy and the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that the people of a democratic country with democratically elected leaders are excluded from the international community? It is my hope that the U.S. government and people have better understanding of Taiwan’s position and give us support.
However, should Taiwan gain international support, the PRC would become anxious and may want to attack Taiwan. The time frame of such a sudden attack may occur soon after the 2008 International Olympics. After the successful conclusion of the International Olympics, the confidence of the Chinese people would peak and their military preparations more complete by then.
Moreover, in the near future, it is certain that Japan will amend its Constitution to establish its collective right to self-defense. Because Japan’s defensive capabilities will rise with time, as Taiwan’s also will rise, the PRC will look to strike as early as possible.
Furthermore, it will employ the “sudden attack” method. Of course, China may prefer to use the Hong Kong model for unification, but since Taiwan cannot accept such a method, PRC may feel that the use of military force is the only way. If the PRC first announces its intention to attack, it may give the U.S. military time to help Taiwan’s military make preparations, thus a sudden attack may be the only option.
After China successfully strikes and controls Taiwan, if the PRC is able to proclaim that it have overthrown the Taiwan political regime before the U.S. military has time to intervene, then the war may be deemed over. The reason lies in the general Taiwan public－though detesting the Chinese communist regime, they will probably surrender rather than risk losing lives and property in the event of war. The PRC probably presumes that the U.S., rather than risking a world war, would only adopt economic sanctions for a few years before finally accepting China’s control over Taiwan.
If the KMT gains political power in 2008, China will believe that this situation is more advantageous because the KMT ideology is more amenable to “one China” ideology. When China attacks Taiwan, the Taiwan side would deem it as an internal matter, and therefore it would be easier for China to contend that U.S. involvement is inappropriate.
Unfortunately, the KMT and the PFP, relying on economic exchanges with China and tempted by interests at hand, have fallen for China’s friendly tactics while ignoring Taiwan’s defense, becoming those who “open the door to lure Chinese soldiers to attack.” They also secretly communicate with the Chinese communists. Some people even believe that they conspire to prevent Taiwan from strengthening its defense.
To guard against such sudden attack by China, more of the Taiwan people and the international society should be aware of its possibility, be amply prepared for such possibility, allow the Taiwan to strengthen its defense capability, and let China believe that such military activity would fail.
All human beings want peace. However, peace does not come from hope alone. This is past history from which we should have learned our lesson.
Regardless of the above, peace-loving Taiwan’s faces a possibility of being wiped out from a sudden attack by China. I hope that more people will know this as it concerns peace of Taiwan and Asia.