It is inherently created by universal natural law the composition of people of common history, language, identity and geography to be one people except divided by war, colonialism or Western influence. The Chinese are one people in all ramifications only historical obstructions that brought about the divide in geographical settling. Albeit in such obstructions, the Chinese government spares no efforts in making sure that the mainland China and the Strait of Taiwan become peacefully reunited, and this is a shared aspiration of all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation.
It is indispensable for the realization of China’s rejuvenation. It is also a historic mission of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the government and the Chinese people. The emergence of President Xi Jinping at the core of the CPC and the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, socialism with Chinese characteristics has been pioneered. The party and government of China have continued to chart the course of cross-Straits relations in order to safeguard peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits, and promote progress towards national reunification.
In its seriousness and commitment to peaceful reunification, the Chinese government has published two previous white papers on Taiwan. One was The Taiwan Question and Reunification of China in August 1993, and the other was The One-China Principle and the Taiwan Issue in February 2000. These white papers are pathfinders to a peaceful reunification using policies and principles that can guarantee the realization of such goals.To the ignorance of many, Taiwan is an independent state separate from China and some do not geographically know the location of Taiwan.
The basic or elementary lesson to this class of people is that, Taiwan has belonged to China since ancient times. This statement has a sound basis in history and jurisprudence. New archeological discoveries and research findings regularly attest to the profound historical and cultural ties between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits. A large number of historical records and annals document the development of Taiwan by the Chinese people in earlier periods.
Apart from the fact that starting from the Song and Yuan dynasties, the imperial central governments of China all set up administrative bodies to exercise jurisdiction over Penghu and Taiwan, General Zheng Chenggong led an expedition 1n 1662 to expel Dutch colonialists who invaded southern Taiwan. Historical records have it that the Qing court gradually set up more administrative bodies in Taiwan. In 1684, a Taiwan prefecture administration was set up under the jurisdiction of Fujian Province. In 1885, Taiwan’s status was upgraded and it became the 20th province of China.
It is also worth recalling that during the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-1945), China’s Communists called for the recovery of Taiwan after in July 1894 the Japanese launched a war of aggression against China. The Cairo Declaration issued by China, the United States and the United Kingdom on December 1, 1943 stated that it was the purpose of the three allies that all the territories Japan had stolen from China, such as Northeast China, Taiwan and the Penghu Islands, should be restored to China.
There are other international proclamations made and international consensus made by some great powers with China on the Taiwan Question. This reaffirms the Chinese ownership of the strait of Taiwan. The Potsdam Proclamation was signed by China, the United States and the United Kingdom on July 26, 1945, and subsequently recognized by the Soviet Union. It reiterated: “The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out.” In September of the same year, Japan signed the instrument of surrender, in which it promised that it would faithfully fulfill the obligations laid down in the Potsdam Proclamation.
On October 25 the Chinese government announced that it was resuming the exercise of sovereignty over Taiwan, and the ceremony to accept Japan’s surrender in Taiwan Province of the China war theater of the Allied powers was held in Taibei (Taipei). From that point forward, China had recovered Taiwan de jure and de facto through a host of documents with international legal effect.Having the mainland and Taiwan strait to be one China, On October 1, 1949, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was founded, becoming the successor to the Republic of China (1912-1949), and the Central People’s Government became the only legitimate government of the whole of China. The new government replaced the previous KMT regime in a situation where China, as a subject under international law, did not change and China’s sovereignty and inherent territory did not change. As a natural result, the government of the PRC should enjoy and exercise China’s full sovereignty, which includes its sovereignty over Taiwan.
The United Nations was not left behind as it adopted resolutions in favor of China. At its 26th session in October 1971, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 2758, which undertook “to restore all its rights to the People’s Republic of China and to recognize the representatives of its Government as the only legitimate representatives of China to the United Nations, and to expel forthwith the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek from the place which they unlawfully occupied at the United Nations and in all the organizations related to it”.
This resolution settled once and for all the political, legal and procedural issues of China’s representation in the UN, and it covered the whole country, including Taiwan. It also spelled out that China has one single seat in the UN, so there is no such thing as “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”. The specialized agencies of the UN later adopted further resolutions restoring to the PRC its lawful seat and expelling the representatives of the Taiwan authorities. One of these is Resolution 25.1 adopted at the 25th World Health Assembly in May 1972.
It was clearly stated in the official legal opinions of the Office of Legal Affairs of the UN Secretariat that “the United Nations considers ‘Taiwan’ as a province of China with no separate status”, and the “‘authorities’ in ‘Taipei’ are not considered to… enjoy any form of government status”. At the UN the island is referred to as “Taiwan, Province of China.” Taiwan being under China, is not allowed to carry out independent international activities apart from cultural and business engagement, which all other provinces of China are allowed to.
Resolution 2758 is a political document encapsulating the one-China principle whose legal authority leaves no room for doubt and has been acknowledged worldwide. Taiwan does not have any ground, reason, or right to join the UN, or any other international organization whose membership is confined to sovereign states.Due to one reason or the other, the United States is breaching the principle of the one China policy especially by allowing Nancy Pelosy and other American politicians to visit Taiwan. This is double standard and provocative.
The one-China principle represents the universal consensus of the international community; it is consistent with the basic norms of international relations. To date, 181 countries including the United States have established diplomatic relations with the PRC on the basis of the one-China principle. The China-US Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, published in December 1978, states: “The Government of the United States of America acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China.” It also states: “The United States of America recognizes the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China.
Within this context, the people of the United States will maintain cultural, commercial, and other unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan.”Since 1982, China has been committed to peaceful reunification with the strait of Taiwan. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, adopted at the Fifth Session of the Fifth National People’s Congress (NPC) in December 1982, stipulates: “Taiwan is part of the sacred territory of the People’s Republic of China. It is the inviolable duty of all Chinese people, including our compatriots in Taiwan, to accomplish the great task of reunifying the motherland.” The Anti-Secession Law, adopted at the Third Session of the 10th NPC in March 2005, stipulates: “There is only one China in the world. Both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China. China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity brook no division. Safeguarding China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is the common obligation of all Chinese people, the Taiwan compatriots included.
Taiwan is part of China. The state shall never allow the ‘Taiwan independence’ secessionist forces to make Taiwan secede from China under any name or by any means.”The National Security Law, adopted at the 15th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 12th NPC in July 2015, stipulates: “The sovereignty and territorial integrity of China brook no violation or separation. Safeguarding national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity is the common duty of all Chinese citizens, including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan compatriots.” Following the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee in 1978, with the establishment of diplomatic relations between the PRC and the United States, China’s Communists, led by Deng Xiaoping, defined the fundamental guideline for peaceful reunification in the vital interests of the country and the people and on the basis of the consensus for peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question. After the Fourth Plenary Session of the 13th CPC Central Committee in 1989, China’s Communists, led by Jiang Zemin, made eight proposals for the development of cross-Straits relations and the peaceful reunification of China.It is also notable the perpetual Chinese leaders’ efforts at peaceful reunification.
After the 16th CPC National Congress in 2002, China’s Communists, led by Hu Jintao, highlighted the importance of peaceful development of cross-Straits relations. The CPC pushed for the enactment of the Anti-Secession Law to curb separatist activities in Taiwan, hosted the first talks between the leaders of the CPC and the Kuomintang in six decades since 1945, and defeated attempts by Chen Shui-bian to fabricate a legal basis for “independence. After the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, China’s Communists, under the leadership of Xi Jinping, took a holistic approach to cross-Straits relations in keeping with changing circumstances, added substance to the theory on national reunification and the principles and policies concerning Taiwan, and worked to keep cross-Straits relations on the right track.
The CPC developed its overall policy for resolving the Taiwan question in the new era, and set out the overarching guideline and a program of action.Using all peaceful means by China to reunite is the fundamental principle and policy adopted to the whole process. By extension, China has also made it clear that: First, the one-China principle must be upheld, and no individual or force should be allowed to separate Taiwan from China; Second, it is imperative to strive for the wellbeing of all Chinese people, including those in Taiwan, and to realize the aspirations of all Chinese people for a better life; Third, we must follow the principles of freeing the mind, seeking truth from facts, maintaining the right political orientation, and breaking new ground, and defend the fundamental interests of the nation and the core interests of the state in formulating principles and policies on work related to Taiwan; Fourth, it is necessary to have the courage and skill to fight against any force that attempts to undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity or stands in the way of its reunification; Fifth, extensive unity and solidarity must be upheld to mobilize all factors to fight against any force that would divide the country, and pool strengths to advance national reunification.
This shows that international influence or external interference in the Taiwan question cannot succeed, but prone to meeting the utter rejection of such by China in full force.Reunification is being seen as part of China’s national rejuvenation from the historical past and obstructions caused by historical antecedents. In the modern era from the mid-19th century, due to the aggression of Western powers and the decadence of feudal rule, China was gradually reduced to a semi-feudal, semi-colonial society, and went through a period of suffering worse than anything it had previously known.
The country endured intense humiliation, the people were subjected to great pain, and the Chinese civilization was plunged into darkness. Japan’s 50-year occupation of Taiwan epitomised this humiliation and inflicted agony on both sides of the Taiwan Straits. Reunification will not mean alienating Taiwan, but more blessings, harmony and development. Provided that China’s sovereignty, security and development interests are guaranteed, after reunification Taiwan will enjoy a high degree of autonomy as a special administrative region. Taiwan’s social system and its way of life will be fully respected, and the private property, religious beliefs, and lawful rights and interests of the people in Taiwan will be fully protected.
All Taiwan compatriots who support reunification of the country and rejuvenation of the nation will be the masters of the region, contributing to and benefitting from China’s development. With a powerful motherland in support, the people of Taiwan will enjoy greater security and dignity and stand upright and rock-solid in the international community.The international community should try as much as possible to support China in achieving peaceful reunification and national rejuvenation for development, not to issue threats, polarisation and continued attempt to sabotage the efforts of China in this cause. Supporting China will mean support to international peace and security and anything short of that means disharmony and a move to create global insecurity and instability.
Ibrahim writes from the Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Abuja via [email protected]