Chapter 10: Taiwan

On This Chapter


From Sun to Mao


Three major setbacks

Democracy at home, flexibility abroad

Legal wrangles

Bilateral and multilateral ties

The diplomacy of democracy

Relations with China

Harsh veto state versus hesitant patron state

What future for Taiwan?



Having arranged our selection of contested states in order of seniority, beginning with the most ‘junior’ pretender, we have to end with the Republic of China (ROC or Taiwan). With its contested statehood dating back to the late 1940s, the ROC was the doyen of this corps. But longevity was not the main reason why the ROC deserved special attention in this inquiry. Taiwan provided a rich illustration of the diversity among contested states and served as an outstanding example of how such an entity can skillfully exploit its limited international space. Unlike many contested states, the ROC was not a secessionist entity that proclaimed unilateral independence. Instead it owed its contested statehood to revolutionary regime change in mainland China, which reduced the ROC to the last outpost of the ancien regime. Even so Taiwan has managed to retain a measure of international recognition, with the result that its diplomatic isolation has not been as severe as that of most other contested states. Not content to be boxed in, the ROC has become a pioneer in the development of semiofficial foreign representation as a substitute for normal diplomatic ties. One of the reasons for its success in this endeavour was Taiwan’s economic muscle – a feature that has also helped the ROC develop its empirical statehood to a level far superior to that of any other contested state. Its extensive socio-economic ties with its veto state, China, added to Taiwan’s uniqueness.

From Sun to Mao

The Republic of China was originally established in mainland China in 1912 following the revolution that overthrew the Manchu Qing dynasty. Sun Yatsen, leader of the Kuomintang (KMT or Nationalist Party), was the founding father of the new republic. During its first 16 years the poorly governed ROC’s reach was confined largely to southern China, with warlords holding sway in much of the north. It was only under Sun’s successor, Chiang Kaishek, that the KMT managed to establish an effective government and extend its writ northwards. However, Chiang’s authoritarian government still faced huge challenges in stamping its authority on the entire territory. Apart from diehard warlords and the Chinese Communist Party that instigated a revolutionary war in 1928, the central government had to contend with Japanese aggression. Imperial Japan occupied Manchuria in 1931 and staged a full-scale invasion of China six years later, unleashing the Second Sino-Japanese War. The island of Taiwan, which had been ruled as a prefecture of the Chinese Empire for two centuries before being converted to a Chinese province in 1886, was ceded to Japan in 1895. This was one of the terms of the Treaty of Shimonoseki concluded at the end of the First SinoJapanese War (1894–5).1 Despite these assaults on its territorial integrity, the Republic of China was treated as a big power by the League of Nations.

During the Second World War the ROC was preoccupied with the presence of Japanese forces on its soil. By 1940 the invaders had occupied China’s main cities, directed the major communication routes and controlled the modern sector of the Chinese economy. Even so the war had by then reached a stalemate, Japan realizing that China was unconquerable.2 Although it had little to contribute to the overall Allied war effort against the Axis powers, China was regarded as a valued partner. In 1942 the ROC signed the Declaration by United Nations and participated in the Cairo Conference with Britain and the US in 1943. At Cairo the three parties resolved that the territories Japan had ‘stolen from the Chinese’, including Taiwan and Manchuria, should be restored to China.3 This intention was confirmed by the US, Britain and the Soviet Union at the Tehran and Potsdam meetings. By so doing the trio of Allied powers acknowledged that Taiwan was part of China.4

In 1945 the ROC became a founder member of the UN and moreover one of the five permanent members of the Security Council. The ROC also held early elected membership of the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council and the International Court of Justice, and joined the UN’s specialized agencies. Befitting its great power status, the ROC maintained an extensive diplomatic network with embassies or legations in over 70 per cent of the UN’s 59 member states in 1949. Its international standing, however, belied the Nationalist government’s struggle for survival against Mao Tse-tung’s communist forces in the immediate post-war years.5

Three major setbacks

The ROC’s period of post-war international glory was brief. In 1949 Mao’s rebels defeated government forces and took power in mainland China. The newly proclaimed People’s Republic of China presented itself as the successor of the ROC. The Kuomintang government fled to Taiwan, located off southeastern China, in what Chiang Kai-shek and his followers portrayed as a temporary relocation following the communists’ illegal seizure of power. The KMT still considered itself the only legitimate government of all China and its stated policy was to recover the mainland from communist control and hence restore the ROC there. This was from the outset a very tall order because the ROC had surrendered over 99 per cent of China’s territory – including the capital – and more than 98 per cent of the total population to a rival government.6 The year 1949 represented a watershed in the history of the ROC because its statehood became contested in both world politics and international law.

Although a number of states quickly switched recognition from the ROC to the PRC, the majority initially supported the ROC’s claim to sole Chinese statehood and they accordingly refused to recognize the PRC. Largely because of China’s involvement in the Korean War, no state recognized Beijing from the spring of 1950 until mid-1955. In retrospect the mid-1950s had perhaps been a golden opportunity that the ROC had lost to proclaim itself as the sovereign government of Taiwan. The PRC had indicated a willingness to moderate its claims to Taiwan for the sake of constructive relations with the US. If the KMT had at that stage renounced its own claims to mainland China and resigned itself to ruling only Taiwan, non-communist states may have approved the arrangement – which may have allowed them to enter into relations with both Beijing and Taipei.7

With its own diplomatic fortunes still seeming reasonably bright, the ROC had little incentive to accept the permanence of communist rule on the mainland. The ROC’s most active diplomatic year since the retreat from the mainland came in 1957 with diplomatic missions being established or upgraded in several Latin American, Middle Eastern and African countries. The growth in the ROC’s diplomatic network continued into the 1960s, focused on Africa. Of the 23 African nations that achieved independence in the first three years of the decade, 13 recognized the ROC, five the PRC and five recognized neither. The process of expansion climaxed in 1970 when a total of 68 states had diplomatic missions in Taipei.

While the ROC managed to extend its bilateral diplomatic network, its position in the world’s principal multilateral body was coming under increasing pressure. Upon taking power on the mainland, the Communist Party lost no time in demanding that it be seated forthwith in the UN, particularly in the General Assembly and Security Council, as the sole legitimate government of all China. At the General Assembly’s session in 1950 a proposal to admit the PRC to membership was easily defeated by a vote of 33 against, 16 in favour, ten abstentions and one absence. After 1954 the issue of China’s representation made an annual appearance on the Assembly agenda. The principal opponent of these moves – and foremost champion of the ROC’s continued presence – was the US. Soviet endeavours in support of its Chinese ally were thwarted by such devices as the requirement of a two-thirds majority in the Assembly to change China’s representation. However, Washington could not stem the mounting clamour in favour of Peking’s inclusion in the UN. By 1965 a vote on the issue recorded 47 opposing the PRC’s admission, 47 supporting it, 20 states abstaining and a further three being absent. At the Assembly’s session in 1971, the two-thirds ruling was overturned. A convincing majority of 76 against 35 (with 20 nations abstaining or absent) approved the subsequent resolution (2758 of 25 October) ‘to restore all its rights’ to the PRC and to recognize its government delegates as ‘the only legitimate representatives of China’ in the UN, and ‘to expel forthwith the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek from the place they unlawfully occupy’ in the world body. America’s proposal of dual representation – a Security Council seat for the PRC and representation for both the ROC and PRC in the General Assembly – was easily defeated.8 Its enforced departure from the UN was a second turning point in the ROC’s post-war history.

By the time the ROC lost its UN seat it had become virtually impossible for the KMT government to sustain the assertion that it was still the sole legitimate ruler of the entire China. Consider the vast disparities between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait: the PRC was the world’s most populous state (1971: 730 million), whereas Taiwan (including the adjacent islands of Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu) then had only 13.4 million inhabitants; in size the PRC ranked third (over 9.5 million km2 against Taiwan’s 35,961 km2); the PRC had joined the ranks of the nuclear powers in 1964; as an international trading partner the ROC still eclipsed the PRC, but the latter offered enormous potential; and finally, the giant PRC made far more impact on the global political scene than tiny Taiwan. The communist government had moreover proven its durability and its long-term prospects for survival seemed better than those of its Nationalist opponents exiled on Taiwan.

The UN’s ejection of the ROC was a major act of collective delegitimization, denying the ROC’s right of statehood. The UN expressly rejected the ROC’s claim to inclusive (all-China) statehood and by implication also any future claim to exclusive (Taiwan-only) statehood. The world body in effect relegated the ROC to non-state status. Having thus cleared its agenda of the Taiwan issue, the UN signalled that the future of the ROC was to become a domestic Chinese matter – off limits to foreign countries and organizations. The outside world henceforth regarded Taiwan (a designation widely preferred to Republic of China) as an integral part of China and supported Beijing’s assertion that Taiwan was a ‘renegade’ province that would in due course return to the fold. The ROC agreed that there was a single China that included both the mainland and Taiwan. As a consequence Taiwan did not claim statehood separate from that of mainland. Instead, it clung to the illusion that the ROC remained the sole legitimate ruler of all China.

While the majority of states accorded the PRC this exclusive status, the ROC proved that it could not easily be condemned to extinction; it became a contested state. Despite expulsion from the UN and the loss of 13 diplomatic partners to the PRC in 1971, the ROC could take some comfort from the fact that 26 countries continued to recognize its statehood. Taipei nonetheless moved quickly to replace conventional diplomatic ties with an innovative web of semi-official or pseudo-diplomatic representation. This alternative network of bilateral links was inaugurated with Japan after it switched recognition to the PRC in September 1972. Tokyo and Taipei agreed to substitute their embassies with the Interchange Association and the East Asia Relations Association, respectively. These were followed by representative offices in scores of other countries in a variety of guises, like trade missions, cultural centres and even China Airlines.9

Still, its exclusion from the UN had undoubtedly accelerated Taiwan’s slide into diplomatic isolation. The country was swept out of scores of intergovernmental organizations. Although the ROC had withdrawn under duress from a number of UN specialized agencies well before 1971, the floodgates opened after its ejection from the General Assembly and Security Council. At the end of 1973 the ROC retained membership of only four UN agencies, notably the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. In 1980 the ROC lost its membership of both institutions as well. By the end of the decade the ROC belonged to only ten IGOs, all outside the UN ambit. These included the Permanent Court of Arbitration, International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) and Asian Development Bank (ADB). Although Beijing in 1983 declared its desire to join the ADB on condition that Taiwan be expelled, it subsequently relented and in 1986 took up membership alongside the ROC, henceforth designated as ‘Taipei China’ in the organization. The ROC initially resented this name change, but then decided that participation was more important than pride. This reflected the so-called flexible diplomacy associated particularly with President Lee Tenghui, who assumed office in 1988. One aspect of the new flexibility was that Taipei would not necessarily insist on the designation ‘Republic of China’ when participating in inter-governmental organizations or conferences. Another element was that the ROC would no longer retreat from multilateral forums to which the PRC had gained admission; instead, Taipei would try to secure or retain a seat of its own.

The United States was the only major power to resist the rising tide of isolation engulfing the ROC – until 1979. In that year America also changed sides, unilaterally terminating an official relationship with the ROC that dated from 1928. This move on the part of the ROC’s principal post-war ally was a third watershed event, necessitating a reconfiguration of relations between Washington and Taipei. The US formally spelled out the terms of the new bilateral relationship in the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) of 1979. In letter and spirit the law signalled America’s intention to grant the ROC on Taiwan recognition sui generis.10 Among other sovereign attributes the validity of the ROC’s laws and acts was recognized; privileges and immunities were accorded, on the basis of reciprocity, to the two countries’ representative institutions (called the American Institute in Taiwan and the Coordination Council for North American Affairs in the US); and the treaty-making capacities of the ROC were acknowledged. The TRA also replaced the 1954 Mutual Defence Treaty in some respects by mandating the US to provide such defence items ‘as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability’. The US would furthermore maintain the capacity ‘to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system’ of the island.11

Democracy at home, flexibility abroad

While the ROC experienced grave setbacks in its international relations, the domestic situation remained remarkably stable. A smooth transition in leadership took place in 1978 when Chiang Ching-kuo, son of the late Chiang Kai-shek, assumed the presidency. For most of his tenure Chiang junior retained the authoritarian features of KMT rule, but in 1987 he initiated a far-reaching process of political liberalization. The formation of new political parties was permitted following the lifting of martial law in July of that year. In January 1988 the registration of new newspapers was allowed for the first time in four decades. The election of Lee Teng-hui as successor to President Chiang in January 1988 provided further impetus to the process of political reform. Lee became the first native Taiwanese to hold the presidency of the ROC, thus breaking the stranglehold that mainland émigrés had exerted over the island’s politics since 1949.12 Within the first few weeks of 1989 a law was enacted to allow democratic political competition. In 1991 a general election produced an entirely new National Assembly and the next year saw the first fully democratic election of the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s law-making body. Local and county elections followed in 1993 and 1994 and in 1996 the president of the ROC was for the first time directly elected by the people.13

On the foreign relations front Lee, as mentioned, initiated a new pragmatic diplomacy designed to expand the ROC’s international ties. Taipei became more flexible on the issue of international recognition by accepting the previously taboo idea of dual recognition. Until then Taipei and Beijing had applied their own versions of West Germany’s Hallstein doctrine. This zero-sum approach was the result of the two sides’ agreement that there was only one China of which Taiwan was an integral part. Because neither would relinquish its claim to being ‘the legitimate guardian of Chinese sovereignty’, each insisted that foreign states may recognize and enjoy diplomatic ties with only one of them.14 Under Lee’s new pragmatism the ROC would retain diplomatic ties with states that entered into such relationships with the PRC too, instead of automatically breaking existing links. The Caribbean microstate of Grenada became the first to opt for dual recognition in July 1989, but the PRC angrily rejected the ‘Grenadian model’ and cut its formal ties with the country. The same fate befell Burkina Faso in 1994 when it tried to maintain formal relations with both the PRC and ROC.15

The diplomatic scoreboard compelled Taiwan to become flexible in its foreign relations. In 1988 it had diplomatic representation in only 22 states and a consular presence in two more; 14 countries maintained embassies in Taipei while a further three had consular missions there. This meant that in 1988 only about 15 per cent of all states recognized the ROC. Among this relatively small group only South Korea, Saudi Arabia and South Africa were of significance in world power rankings. By then Taipei’s semi-official diplomatic web was already larger than its formal network: 22 countries had established semi-official offices in Taipei while the ROC in turn had similar representation in 40 states.

In another major break with KMT ideology, President Lee in 1991 conceded that the PRC leadership controlled the mainland and that the ROC’s jurisdiction was confined to Taiwan (and surrounding islets). Taipei would no longer challenge the Chinese Communist Party’s right to rule the mainland.16 In a further belated recognition of reality, the ROC in 1994 announced that it would no longer attempt to represent China ‘in the international community’. But there was a sting in the tail: China comprised ‘two essentially equal political entities’, Lee proclaimed.17 Proceeding along this track Lee in 1999 characterized cross-Strait interaction as ‘state-to-state or at least a special type of nation-to-nation relations’ distinct from ties between a central government and a local authority. For Beijing these statements deviated from the two sides’ so-called consensus of 1992 that ‘both sides of the Strait adhere to the principle of one China’.18 What the PRC overlooked, though, was that the parties had also agreed that each could interpret the statement orally and by implication differently.19

Its general election of 2000 opened a further chapter in Taiwan’s domestic politics and foreign relations. Chen Shui-bian, leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was elected President. The KMT, which had ruled the ROC since 1912 – mostly in authoritarian fashion – was defeated by an opposition party priding itself on its democratic credentials and Taiwanese character. In 2004 Chen was re-elected for a second term, a victory at the ballot box that he attributed to the consolidation of ‘a rising Taiwan identity’,20 or what others described as the growing potency of Taiwanese nationalism.21 Four years later Chen’s party was defeated by the KMT in both the legislative and presidential elections. In a further setback for the DPP, twin referendums on the country’s possible membership of the UN – held at the same time as the presidential poll – failed to pass the required threshold of voters to ensure validity.22 The election of President Ma Yingjeou in March 2008, together with the failure of the referendums, immediately raised expectations in Taipei, Beijing, Washington and elsewhere of a new chapter of cooperative instead of confrontational cross-Strait relations. Chen’s independence-minded ‘adventurism’, it was hoped, would make way for a resumption of political dialogue to bring about a rapprochement between the ROC and PRC.23 Before examining Taiwan’s international relations, though, we need to consider the constraints imposed by the country’s contested status under international law.

Legal wrangles

Both Beijing and Taipei have invoked principles of international law to justify their opposing views on Taiwan’s legal status. Scholars and jurists have been equally divided on the matter. Instead of joining the inconclusive debate, let us merely summarize the contending readings of international law on a number of salient questions.

The first and most fundamental issue was whether the ROC on Taiwan, or Taiwan per se, qualified as a state under international law. Crawford forcefully expressed one position: ‘Taiwan is not a State, because it does not claim to be’.24 This was based on the notion that a formal declaration of independence provided the best evidence of an entity’s assertion of sovereign statehood.25 The counter-argument advanced by the ROC government in particular, was that Taipei had no need to issue a formal declaration of independence because the ROC had been a de jure state since its founding in 1912 – and that the relocation of its seat of government to Taiwan in 1949 and its consequent loss of territory and people did not affect the ROC’s statehood under international law.26

The notion that the ROC has retained de jure statehood regardless of the events of 1949 has been hotly disputed. It was a widely held view in world politics and international law that the PRC in 1949 became the legitimate successor government to the ROC. The PRC has been recognized by the international community as the de jure government of the entire China, with its authority extending to Taiwan. The ROC government on Taiwan has as a consequence forfeited its legal status in international law; that government was a rebellious local authority under Beijing’s jurisdiction27 or alternatively a government-in-exile based on Taiwan.28 We should also recall (see Chapter 1) that if a state has a special claim of right to exercise governmental powers over another territory, the latter’s formal independence under international law is called into question. The PRC’s claims of the right to rule Taiwan thus derogate from any assertions of formal independence made by the island. The predominant view in the international community was indeed that Taiwan was not a state in terms of international law and that Beijing’s notion of ‘one China’ was both legal and legitimate.29

The claim that a Republic of Taiwan would qualify for statehood under international law was equally contentious. Beijing maintained that the Cairo Declaration of 1943 and the Potsdam Proclamation of 1945 provided for the return of Taiwan to China after World War II. However, the decisions reached at the two conferences were not legally equivalent to international treaties.30 The matter was not resolved by the conclusion of the multilateral San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951 and the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty of 1952 either. Neither accord explicitly awarded sovereignty over Taiwan to any specific state or government. Instead, the two agreements formally nullified the sovereignty that Japan had acquired over Taiwan in terms of the Treaty of Shimonoseki (1895).31

Proponents of Taiwan’s statehood insisted that its international position cannot be frozen as if it were still 1952. As one international lawyer put it, ‘Taiwan has evolved from an occupied territory to a country’, enjoying de facto but not de jure independence. This leads us to the theory of evolved nationhood, which posited that the island had through the dual processes of Taiwanization and democratization developed into a country fully entitled to sovereignty. Advocates of Taiwan’s statehood made the further obvious point that the entity met the conventional criteria for statehood set out in the Montevideo Convention.32 With 23 million inhabitants Taiwan was more or less on par with Saudi Arabia, North Korea and Ghana. Its territorial size of roughly 36,000 km2 (including Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu) was comparable to that of Guinea-Bissau but slightly smaller than Switzerland. Other international comparisons were even more instructive. In 2006 Taiwan was the world’s sixteenth largest exporting country; its per capita gross domestic product of $16,030 in 2006 was among the top 25 in the world; it had the sixth-best investment climate among 50 major economies in 2007 (according to market research firm Business Environment Risk Intelligence); Taiwan was ranked sixth in growth competitiveness in 2006 and thirteenth in global competitiveness; and its IT industry accounted for over 60 per cent of major IT products in the world.33 Apart from its weight in the global economy, Taiwan was also a full-blooded democracy. The 2007 World Democracy Audit ranked the island 39th out of 150 countries, just ahead of South Africa. On a scale of 1 (top) to 7, Taiwan scored 1 for civil liberties and 2 for political rights; it fared less well on press freedom and corruption.34

To these features we could add the so-called principle of effectiveness, which required that a state should have exclusive control over a territory for a substantial period of time with the intention of governing that territory as the exclusive sovereign. The ROC has since 1949 ‘served as the only government of the population [of Taiwan] and has acted as a sovereign nation both domestically and internationally’, Hamilton argued.35 Conversely, the communist rulers of the mainland have never exercised any authority over Taiwan.36 Under customary international law, Shearer concluded, Taiwan was capable of bearing duties and asserting rights – and thus ‘a proper candidate for recognition’.37

The international law principle of external self-determination has also been invoked by protagonists of Taiwan’s statehood. From this perspective the people of the island were entitled to sovereign independence based on ‘the distinct territory they have inhabited for a significant period of time, their preferred form of self-governance, and a distinct socioeconomic system and culture that differ in many substantial ways from those of the mainland’.38 The one-China principle proclaimed by Beijing and endorsed by the world community at large contradicted the notion of external sovereignty for the people of Taiwan. A White Paper of 1993 expressed Beijing’s position in uncompromising terms: ‘Taiwan’s status as an inalienable part of China has been determined and cannot be changed, and “self-determination” for Taiwan is out of the question’.39

Another argument used in support of Taiwan’s statehood was that of popular sovereignty. China’s claim of territorial supremacy, it was said, blatantly disregarded the will of the people of Taiwan. Thanks to its democratization, popular sovereignty prevailed in Taiwan and had to be taken into account when deciding the island’s political future. Moreover, modern international law decreed that the expressed wishes of the people affected should be a determining factor in deciding a territorial dispute.40 Beijing countered with an alternative interpretation of popular sovereignty. A White Paper of 2000, The One China Principle and the Taiwan Issue, contended that popular sovereignty extended to the entire population of a state and could therefore not be asserted by sub-national groups to justify their claims to self-determination. On this view the people of Taiwan on their own had no grounds for exercising the right of self-determination. Furthermore, a democratic process confined to Taiwan could not express the political will of the entire Chinese population.41

Finally, there was the controversial issue of Beijing’s threat to use force against Taiwan if the latter dared to declare independence or even failed to accept unification talks on China’s terms. Since it considered Taiwan an integral part of China, but temporarily in rebellion against the mother country, Beijing insisted that like every sovereign state the PRC was entitled to protect its political unity and territorial integrity – through violent means if necessary. One counter-argument has been that a state’s territorial rights may not override the principle of self-determination; the people of Taiwan had a right to exercise at least internal self-determination by choosing their own government.42 Beijing’s self-proclaimed right to use force has also been challenged by reference to international law’s prohibition on the use of force in international relations (codified in article 2(4) of the UN Charter). The dispute between China and Taiwan was governed by international law, it has furthermore been argued, especially in view of the pronounced international concern over the matter. A related opinion held that contemporary international law would not allow a state to use force to recapture an area it claimed had belonged to its domain a century ago but which had been effectively independent for over 50 years.43

Krasner’s categories of sovereignty (see Chapter 1) provide a useful analytical tool to understand the problematic international status of the ROC on Taiwan. The government seated in Taipei exercised effective domestic and interdependence sovereignty and also enjoyed Westphalian sovereignty even if it did not claim independent statehood. What Taiwan lacked was international legal sovereignty.44 The latter deficit is the hallmark of a contested state. So, however strong Taiwan’s claims to statehood may be under international law, the fact is that the vast majority of states have decided collectively that it was not entitled to separate statehood – for reasons that have more to do with China’s might than with Taiwan’s rights. After all, this is essentially a political rather than a legal dispute.

Bilateral and multilateral ties

Taiwan’s modest diplomatic network has not been the result of a lack of interest or endeavour on its part. ‘Diplomatic relations form the most clearcut symbol of our country’s sovereignty’, a recent Taiwan Foreign Policy Report asserted. It stressed that ‘having diplomatic relations are absolutely important still’ and that Taiwan was ‘going to great pains’ to maintain such links.45 Even so, Taiwan enjoyed full diplomatic relations with only 24 states in 2007; 19 of them had embassies in Taipei, whereas Taiwan had resident embassies in all 24. Its diplomatic partners were concentrated in four regions of the Global South: seven in Central and South America, with Nicaragua, Panama and Paraguay the most prominent; five in the Caribbean, including Haiti and St Lucia; six in the Asia-Pacific area, all of them tiny island states including Tuvalu, Kiribati and Nauru (with Fiji and Papua New Guinea having signed communiqués of mutual recognition with Taipei); five in Africa, among them Malawi, Gambia and Burkina Faso; and only one in Europa, namely at the Holy See.46 Between 2000 and mid-2007 eight states defected from Taiwan to China: Costa Rica, Chad, Senegal, Grenada, Vanuatu, Dominica, Liberia and Macedonia.47 In an at times farcical game of diplomatic musical chairs some countries switched their recognition back and forth, depending on the political whims of the party in power and the carrots or sticks displayed by the rival suitors in Taipei and Beijing. Among those migrating have been St Lucia and Nauru.48

Determined to keep Taiwan’s limited diplomatic web intact, President Chen paid official visits to several of his country’s foreign allies, including Palau, the Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Vatican (in 2005, to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II), Guatemala, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, the Dominican Republic, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Malawi, Senegal and Swaziland. Several of his counterparts from these countries visited Taiwan. Chen also managed to visit countries not on Taipei’s diplomatic roster, including the US, United Arab Emirates and Libya.49

Although Taipei has insisted that it had neither the desire nor the capacity to engage in ‘cheque book diplomacy’ and openly compete with Beijing for diplomatic partners,50 the ROC’s extensive international assistance programmes can hardly be divorced from the need to win or retain friends and keep Beijing at bay. An International Cooperation and Development Fund was created in 1997 to manage all of the ROC’s development assistance programmes abroad.51 One such was known as the Rong Bang project, a special ‘co-prosperity’ fund of US$250 million launched in 2005 to encourage Taiwanese entrepreneurs to invest in countries maintaining diplomatic ties with Taipei.52 In Latin America the ROC’s bilateral free-trade agreements with Panama, Nicaragua and Guatemala and its trilateral freetrade pact with El Salvador and Honduras were likewise designed to buttress diplomatic links.53 Reference can also be made to Taiwan’s conclusion of information-exchange agreements with several of its diplomatic allies54 and the conduct of ‘knowledge diplomacy’ involving international educational and academic exchanges.55

Taiwan’s provision of humanitarian aid extended beyond its diplomatic partners. Between 1995 and 2004 Taiwan provided about US$180 million in medical assistance to 95 countries, of which only 26 were diplomatic partners.56 Food and monetary aid and other forms of humanitarian support have in recent years been given to Indonesia, the Philippines and Laos, among others.57 Local non-governmental organizations in Taiwan have actively cooperated with the ROC government in humanitarian relief efforts abroad. Taiwan Rescue, a private humanitarian relief organization, for instance assisted victims of the 2004 tsunami disaster in Thailand and elsewhere. Another example is the Taiwan Root Medical Peace Corps, which has provided medical care across the world.58 The Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation has undertaken aid projects in more than 60 countries.59 By 2006 over 30 charitable organizations had partnered the ROC government in providing humanitarian aid overseas.60

‘People’s diplomacy’, distinct from exchanges at government level, has been another instrument of ROC foreign policy. Officially portrayed as the involvement of the Taiwanese people ‘in cooperative activities with peoples of other countries through transnational or intersocietal networks’, the interaction took place through over 2,000 international non-governmental organizations. By launching ‘a series of measures’ to promote such exchanges, the ROC’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledged that people’s diplomacy was indeed complementary to and even a substitute for conventional diplomatic interaction. Another Foreign Affairs initiative has been the appointment of ‘ambassadors-at-large’ tasked with promoting international links in their respective fields, such as the business world. By 2006 13 of them were already serving Taiwan in this capacity.61 Finally, Taipei’s alternative diplomatic network also contained a network of 17 overseas cultural centres (mostly in the US) run by the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission. An official agency, the Commission maintained close links with nearly 5,000 overseas compatriot organizations and assisted in forming Taiwanese chambers of commerce across the world.62

In the absence of formal relations, Taipei has managed to maintain an extensive network of semi-official representative (or trade or liaison) offices abroad, with reciprocal representation in Taiwan. In 2007 the ROC was thus represented in 59 countries, including the majority of EU member states, the US, Russia, India, Indonesia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Nigeria and South Africa – indeed in most of the prominent economic players at the global and regional levels. Reciprocally, 48 states without diplomatic relations with Taiwan operated representative offices in Taipei in 2007.63 Taiwan also maintained a pseudo-official arrangement with the PRC. The Straits Exchange Foundation was established in 1991 to deal with issues resulting from Taiwan’s growing commercial ties with mainland China. The PRC’s counterpart was named the Association for Relations across the Taiwan Strait.64 Although all the representative offices (including those styled trade and liaison offices, whether in Taipei or abroad) were supposedly unofficial missions, many were staffed by officials seconded from government agencies. These included foreign and trade ministries. Most of the Taiwanese offices abroad performed some typical diplomatic and consular functions.65

Considering that it has entered into material relations with some 140 states, it is reasonable to conclude that Taiwan was ‘a unique international entity to which substantive, if less than full, recognition is given in a semiformal manner’.66 Taiwan has indeed managed to engage in an array of state-like activities despite the absence of general, formal recognition. These include buying heavy weapons abroad, sending its naval vessels on a world cruise, providing development and humanitarian assistance abroad, concluding agreements with states, and participating in the Olympic Games.67

At the multilateral level Taiwan has experienced mixed fortunes. One of its greatest diplomatic breakthroughs was to achieve membership of the World Trade Organization, something the ROC had been aspiring to since 1990 when the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT, the WTO’s predecessor), was still in existence. It joined the WTO in 2002 under the designation ‘Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu’.68 We have already noted that the ROC had previously shown a similar flexibility in accepting the name ‘Taipei China’ in the Asian Development Bank. Another important multilateral institution linking Taiwan to the outside world was the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC), created in 1989. Under the name ‘Chinese Taipei’ the island joined APEC as a member economy in 1991. The 21 participants were referred to as member economies rather than member states to highlight the body’s economic focus. Even so APEC provided channels of communication between governments in the Asia-Pacific region, including those of Russia, America, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei and China. The combined economic power of the participants was formidable: they accounted for 60 per cent of global trade and over half the gross domestic product generated worldwide. China has, however, obstructed Taiwan’s participation in APEC by preventing its President from attending summits (forcing Taiwan to send economic officials in his stead) and denying the island the opportunity to host highlevel APEC meetings.69

In addition to the ‘Big Three’ in its multilateral portfolio, Taiwan managed to secure associate membership or observer status in more than 20 other inter-governmental organizations and their subsidiary bodies. These included the Inter-American Development Bank and the Competition Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).70 We can also record Taiwan’s participation since 1992 in so-called post-forum discussions of the 16-member Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). Dialogue partners from outside the region were invited to these exchanges held after the PIF’s annual summits of heads of government.71 While less prestigious than membership of the WTO, ADB and APEC, Taiwan’s participation in these other organizations – even in lesser capacities than full membership – highlights some alternative modes of multilateral diplomacy available to entities outside the charmed circle of confirmed states.

In the realm of international sport, Taiwan has since 1984 participated in the Olympic Games under the name ‘Chinese Taipei’. Taiwan has been using the same name to participate in the quadrennial World Games (dubbed the ‘little Olympics’) since their inception in 1981. (The eighth World Games in 2009 will be staged in Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second-largest city.)72

Its flexibility on the delicate issue of official title has allowed Taiwan to enter international organizations that may otherwise have remained wholly inaccessible. The designations used helped to deny Beijing and others some grounds for opposing Taiwan’s membership; the names avoided the sensitivities around the possible existence of two separate Chinese states and assuaged international concerns that Taiwan was bent on separatism. The names moreover implied that the government seated in Taipei supported the eventual unification of the Chinese nation. At the same time the Taiwanese could read some recognition of their distinct identity in the appellations they used in the WTO, ADB and Olympic movement. It has been suggested that Taiwan’s WTO membership (as a separate customs territory) could serve as a precedent for its access to the IMF and World Bank.73

Readmission to the UN has been the diplomatic prize most coveted by the ROC. On the face of it Taiwan met the formal criteria for membership set out in the UN Charter (article 4): a peace-loving state that accepted the obligations of the Charter and was able and willing to carry out those commitments. Taiwan was moreover a dynamic democracy and its economy was larger than that of 90 per cent of UN member states. As regards sensitivities about two ‘Chinas’ being members of the world body, we should bear in mind that divided nations have enjoyed parallel representation; consider the cases of East and West Germany and North and South Korea. Instead of deepening the chasm between the two sides of a divided nation, equal representation in the UN could ease tensions between them and promote conditions favourable to (re)unification or at least to the preservation of peace.74 Against this background a group of Taiwan’s diplomatic partners have since 1993 – no doubt at Taipei’s instigation – made an annual ritual of proposing to the UN that the ROC be admitted to membership. In 2004, when the twelfth bid was made, an enraged PRC warned that Taiwan’s quest for UN membership was ‘pushing cross-Strait ties to the brink of danger and seriously threatening peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the Asia Pacific Region’.75 Without resorting to the same inflammatory rhetoric, other states – including the US – joined China in keeping Taiwan’s request off the UN agenda. President Chen Shui-bian’s direct plea in 2006 for his country’s admission to the world body under the name of ‘Taiwan’ has been equally fruitless.76 The PRC’s position remained inflexible. ‘As a region of China, Taiwan is not entitled to apply for UN membership in whatever name’, Beijing’s UN representative reiterated in September 2007 when the island’s fifteenth consecutive bid for participation was thwarted.77

Where admission to full membership has proved unattainable, Taiwan considered alternative ‘avenues of access’. In such cases the term ‘participation’ would be more appropriate than ‘membership’. Observership in the UN family was one alternative, providing a ‘right of participation’ and ‘access to fora’ but not a right to vote. Observer status did not require sovereignty nor did it impute sovereignty. Precedents have been set in providing observer status to North and South Vietnam, East and West Germany, Switzerland and the Holy See, as well as to a wide range of nonstate actors (including Palestine, the African Union and the International Committee of the Red Cross). While there are not technical or legal barriers to UN observer status for Taiwan, Beijing has chosen to erect political hurdles. It has, among other things, claimed that the real motive behind the quest for observership was full parallel membership for the PRC and ROC in the UN.78

One of the UN’s specialized agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO), has also been in the ROC’s sights. The country gave up its membership of the WHO after its expulsion from the UN in 1971. Since 1997 Taiwan has campaigned for observer status in the World Health Assembly (WHA), the highest governing body of the WHO. Although the WHA had extended observership to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Holy See, Taiwan’s quest for the same status has been blocked by the PRC. Japan and the US, among others, have supported the ROC’s bid.79

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has likewise been on Taipei’s diplomatic wish-list. Established in 1967, ASEAN presently has ten member states and pursues mainly an economic agenda. Aware that full membership was beyond reach in this regional body that openly supported the ‘one-China’ principle (but did not have the PRC as member), Taiwan canvassed the idea of a free trade area (FTA) with ASEAN. This was driven by Taipei’s concern that the organization’s establishment of FTAs with other countries, notably China, could undermine Taiwan’s extensive trade and investment links with ASEAN member states. These countries have, however, shied away from any formal affiliation with Taiwan.80 Given its diplomatic presence in Latin America, it is not surprising that Taiwan has been interested in obtaining permanent observer status in the Organization of American States (OAS) too.81

The EU has not seen fit to offer Taiwan the kind of association the country would prefer with its fourth largest trading partner (after China, the US and Japan). Taiwan has been recognized by the EU as an economic and commercial entity and the Union has maintained a European Economic and Trade Office in Taipei since 2003. The EU’s one-China policy may be a major reason behind its exclusion of Taiwan from the Asia-Europe Meeting, an institution composed of all EU members, the European Commission and 13 Asian states. The ROC has similarly been kept out of the EU’s Generalized System of Preferences. Taiwan has been talking to the EU since 2002 about a free trade area between them, but its formation still eludes Taipei.82

Taiwan has not surprisingly been more successful in gaining membership of international forums of which the members are not sovereign states. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2,077 international nongovernmental organizations had Taiwanese members.83 Among them was the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, to which some other contested states also belonged. A very different non-governmental organization was the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), which maintained formal ties with ASEAN. Through PECC Taiwan acquired an ‘invisible link’ with ASEAN,84 providing another instance of the ‘privatization’ of the ROC’s foreign relations.

The diplomacy of democracy

Taiwan’s conversion to democracy has had a major effect on its foreign policy, especially since Chen assumed the presidency in 2000. The ‘democracy-based diplomacy’ introduced by Chen was on the one hand an exercise in soft power, designed to persuade the community of democracies that Taiwan deserved to enter their ranks.85 On the other hand Taiwan assumed a missionary role to spread the gospel of democracy beyond its shores. One of the vehicles used was the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD). Established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2002, the Foundation was designed to advance the cause of democracy in the region through an Asia Pacific democratic alliance and allow Taiwan to participate in the global democratic network. The TFD has since spawned three subsidiary agencies, namely the World Forum for Democratization in Asia (which coordinated the work of five regional democracy and human rights advocacy networks), the Initiative and Referendum Institute Asia (the first think-tank on direct democracy in Asia), and the Asia Pacific Democracy Resource Centre (a virtual democracy resource agency).86 In 2005 the Democratic Pacific Union was inaugurated. Although a non-governmental organization, it was initiated by ROC Vice President Lu Hsiu-lien to advance democracy, peace and prosperity in the Pacific Rim. Over 70 representatives from 26 countries participated in the opening meeting of what Lu hoped would develop into a body discharging government-togovernment functions.87 In yet another move to forge semi-official partnerships with foreign democracies, Taiwan in early 2007 hosted a preparatory conference on the establishment of the Global Forum on New Democracies. Former leaders of five countries, including Poland, South Korea and South Africa, participated in the discussion on creating a forum in which newly formed democracies could share their experiences of democratization and so support their further development.88

Its thriving democracy has also given the ROC the self-confidence to present itself as a good international citizen. In the wake of the terrorist strikes against the US in September 2001, Taiwan was quick to reaffirm its tacit alliance with America and portray itself as a democratic member of the world community willing and able to join the fight against international terrorism.89 Democratic Taiwan has also attempted to distance itself from at least some outcast states. In a press statement of 2001 the Government Information Office noted that ‘unlike other pariah states, we have managed to develop and modernise our economy, and even to democratize our polity’.90 President Chen portrayed Taiwan’s democracy and economy as the two blades of its ‘diplomatic sword’ that could be used to open up the country’s international space.91 Vice President Lu in 2007 emphasized Taiwan’s sense of ‘global responsibility’ manifested in its compliance with international norms and its involvement in humanitarian projects abroad.92 Taiwan’s first National Security Report (2006) was written in the same idiom, calling for a ‘flexible and pluralistic’ diplomatic strategy based on ‘democracy, peace, humanitarianism and mutual benefit’.93 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs conveyed essentially the same message with its notion of ‘substantive diplomacy’. At one level Taiwan hoped to become a ‘little sun’ in the world at large. ‘Since we now have the means to give back to the international community, we take it upon ourselves to be a net contributor to the world community’. At another level substantive diplomacy meant that Taipei had to find its diplomatic ‘blue ocean’, clearly differentiating its foreign policy from that of China. Instead of engaging in direct diplomatic confrontation with the PRC, Taiwan should invest in sustainable relations with its diplomatic allies and the international community generally through comprehensive partnerships. Such a constructive approach, Taipei hoped, would set it apart from what it portrayed as Beijing’s selfish and exploitative relations with foreign states and support for obnoxious regimes.94

These Taiwanese initiatives amounted to the development of what Madsen aptly depicted as an ‘alternative legitimacy’ – based on economic liberalism, democratization and international responsibility – to try to improve the ROC’s international position.95 Conversely liberal democratic states were said to have a moral responsibility to support democratic Taiwan, despite its relative lack of formal legal sovereignty.96 Taiwan’s experience should caution against exaggerating the rewards of this approach: China’s veto power has remained a formidable deterrent to especially political and diplomatic interaction with Taiwan. Not even the community of democratic states has been willing to treat democratic Taiwan more kindly than before. The ROC’s soft power can hardly compete with the hard power at the PRC’s command.

Relations with China

In charting Taiwan’s domestic and international course, its leaders have had to tread carefully lest they provoked the PRC into a drastic reaction. President Chen was noticeably cautious in his inaugural address in 2000. In what was dubbed a ‘peace offensive’, Chen went out of his way to soothe Beijing’s apprehensions about the newly elected leader. He would honour a series of commitments (the ‘five no’s’) as long as the PRC ‘has no intention to use military force against Taiwan’: no declaration of Taiwan’s independence; no change in the national title (Republic of China); no constitutional revision to provide for ‘state-to-state’ relations between the ROC and PRC; no referendum to change the status quo (meaning Taiwan’s international status); and no abolition of the National Unification Council and the National Unification Guidelines. Chen even declared that ‘people across the Taiwan Strait share the same ancestral, cultural, and historical background’, thereby implying that the Taiwanese were also Chinese – a message dear to Beijing.97

Only two years later Chen sounded a different note by insisting that ‘Taiwan is not a part of any other country, nor is it a local government or province of another country’ [read: China]. The island could never be another Macau or Hong Kong ‘because Taiwan has always been a sovereign state’. His logical conclusion was that ‘Taiwan and China stand on opposite sides of the Strait, and there is one country on each side’.98 In like vein Chen proclaimed in 2004 that ‘we should be very confident in saying very loudly to the world that Taiwan is an independent, sovereign country. There is no need to be ambiguous’.99 That same year Taiwan held a referendum in which voters were asked their views about increased defence expenditure and the creation of a ‘peace and stability’ framework for cross-Strait relations. Because fewer than the required 50 per cent of the electorate bothered to vote, the referendum was declared void.100 In 2006 Chen, then in his second term as President, suspended the National Unification Council and the Guidelines for National Unification.101 We have already noted the failed referendums on UN membership staged by Chen in March 2008. With these moves Chen broke the spirit if not the letter of his ‘five no’s’ of 2000. His justification was that the PRC had not removed its threat of a military attack against Taiwan.102 Chen nonetheless took care not to burn all Taiwan’s bridges to a unified China. ‘As long as the principle of democracy is honored and Taiwan’s 23 million people’s free choice is respected’, he declared in 2006, ‘we will not exclude any possible form cross-strait relations may take in the future’.103

The prospects for narrowing the divide between Taiwan and China have improved since the KMT’s return to office in early 2008. In his inaugural speech104 President Ma Ying-jeou struck a conciliatory tone and pledged better relations with China. He promised to maintain the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, based on the principles of ‘no unification, no independence and no use of force’. This meant that Taiwan would no longer – as under Chen – challenge the status quo by pushing for the independence of Taiwan, and would expect the PRC to at least tolerate the island’s de facto statehood and also renounce the use of violence against Taiwan. At the same time Ma wished to see a resumption of negotiations between Taipei and Beijing ‘at the earliest time possible’. This, he said, should be conducted within the framework of the 1992 consensus on ‘one China, different interpretations’. Ma was clearly not prepared to embrace Beijing’s interpretation that the one China was the PRC, of which Taiwan was an integral part. Still President Ma spoke hopefully of reaching a ‘win-win solution’, with the normalization of economic and cultural relations the first-step. He approvingly cited his PRC counterpart Hu Jintao’s call in April 2008 for ‘building mutual trust, shelving controversies, finding commonalities despite differences, and creating together a win-win solution’ across the Taiwan Strait. ‘His views are very much in line with our own’, Ma observed.

The new President at the same time reaffirmed some familiar Taiwanese markers for amicable cross-Strait relations. Ma was determined to enter into consultations with the mainland ‘over Taiwan’s international space and a possible cross-Strait peace accord’. He was adamant that ‘Taiwan doesn’t just want security and prosperity. It wants dignity’. Cross-Strait relations could only advance ‘when Taiwan is no longer being isolated in the international arena’, Ma added. Yet having demanded for Taiwan the attributes of statehood on the world stage, Ma maintained that what mattered in resolving cross-Strait relations ‘is not sovereignty but core values and way of life’. These he identified as freedom, democracy and prosperity. If China continued to move in this direction, Ma argued, it would pave the way for ‘the long-term peaceful development’ of cross-Strait relations. The latter sentiments, dear to the Taiwanese, could not have warmed the hearts of the PRC leadership.

Still, signs of a thaw in cross-Strait relations were soon evident. Following direct talks between the two sides, the first weekly charter flights between China and Taiwan began in July 2008. The new air link could enable up to 12,000 mainland tourists to visit the island every weekend.105 For Ma this was only the first step: he soon called for regular passenger flights and direct air and sea cargo links across the Taiwan Strait, and for a rapid expansion in economic relations. Adopting a functionalist approach, Ma argued for ‘economic normalization’ between Taiwan and China before tackling the more sensitive issues of Taiwan’s international space and the conclusion of a peace accord.106 The political and security questions, rather than economic ties, will be the real test for relations between Ma’s Taiwan and communist China.

Harsh veto state versus hesitant patron state

In our discussion of Taiwan’s problematic international status and hence its troubled foreign relations, Beijing’s veto power loomed large. The broad parameters within which this power was exercised were encapsulated in the PRC’s so-called three no’s policy: no support for Taiwan’s independence; no support for ‘two Chinas’ or ‘one China, one Taiwan’, and no support for Taiwan’s membership of international organizations based on statehood.107 What motivated China’s ‘obduracy in trying to block Taiwan from international forums’? Beijing has expressed concern that the island ‘is out to “internationalize” its division with the mainland as a first step toward cutting off its legal umbilical cord from [the concept of] China’. Hence the PRC’s extreme sensitivity (if not paranoia) that Taiwan’s participation in state-related activities would confer sovereignty on the island outside the one-China context. A related worry of Beijing’s has been that unfettered Taiwanese participation in international forums would reinforce Taipei’s intransigence in refusing to enter into a serious dialogue with the PRC on a peaceful end to their political division.108 To restrict Taiwan’s international room for manoeuvre, China has vetoed its membership of the UN and WHO, among others; limited Taiwan’s participation in the likes of APEC; and pressurized (or simply bribed or blackmailed) other states into breaking, curtailing or avoiding ties with the ROC. At the same time the PRC’s obstructionist tactics were designed to isolate Taiwan internationally and so coerce it into submitting to the mainland’s formula for unification. Beijing could be extraordinarily mean-spirited in its vendetta against Taiwan. It prevented the island from receiving emergency medical assistance from abroad during the devastating earthquake of 1999 and the 2003 SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) crisis.109 Conversely China blocked the UN from accepting financial aid offered by Taiwan to assist Rwandan refugees and the Turkish Kurds in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq.110 It is instructive that Beijing’s isolation offensive focused on Taiwan’s formal involvement in interstate relations rather than on harming its economy; China after all benefited handsomely from Taiwan’s economic strength.111 The PRC’s veto power over Taiwan has been exercised in other ways too. The missile tests China conducted in 1995–6 and its deployment of hundreds of missiles aimed at Taiwan were designed to deter and intimidate.112 Another was the PRC’s long-standing threat to use force against Taiwan if it opted for independence. In a 1993 White Paper, The Taiwan Question and the Reunification of China, Beijing declared that ‘peaceful reunification’ was its aim but that it was ‘entitled to use any means necessary, including the use of military force, to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity’.113 One of the bluntest warnings came from China’s Defence Minister in 2004: the People’s Liberation Army, he said, ‘has the determination and ability to resolutely smash any Taiwan independence separatist plot’.114 The PRC’s anti-separation law of 2005 – condemned by the US and Japan – reaffirmed its right to apply ‘non-peaceful means’ against Taiwan if efforts to effect peaceful unification were ‘completely exhausted’.115 The measure thus gave Beijing the legal pretext for a unilateral and forcible change of the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.116 China was evidently convinced that renouncing the use of force would remove a vital deterrent to Taiwan embarking on a determined move towards independence. The right and ability to apply force over its own territory was for the PRC – as for states generally – an essential attribute of sovereignty. Beijing after all insisted that Taiwan was a renegade province of China and subject to its laws.117 China also derived veto power from its enormous economic clout. No Asian or European government would recognize’s Taiwan’s independence, Singapore’s Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said in 2004. ‘To do so would earn China’s permanent enmity. And China is the economic story of this century’.118

A paradoxical feature of cross-Strait relations was Taiwan’s close ties with its veto state. In tandem with the start of political liberalization in the late 1980s, the ROC adopted a more open policy towards the mainland. CrossStrait economic, cultural, educational and people-to-people exchanges expanded dramatically. Between 1988 and 2005 Taiwanese citizens paid over 40 million visits to China, while the reverse flow recorded 1.75 million visits to Taiwan. With their two-way trade exceeding US$116 billion in 2006, China (including Hong Kong and Macau) was Taiwan’s biggest trading partner by accounting for 27.2 per cent of the island’s total trade (followed by Japan and the US). About 40 per cent of Taiwan’s exports flowed to China, while the latter was Taiwan’s second-largest source of imports. Conservative estimates put Taiwanese investment in China at over $100 billion, making the PRC the principal destination for ROC investment abroad. In addition over one million people from Taiwan lived and worked in China in 2007.119 There has also been interaction at the humanitarian level, when Taiwan sent rescue teams and emergency relief to China after the devastating earthquake in Sichuan province in May 2008.120 Given its scope, Taiwan’s social and economic interaction with its veto state is unique among contested countries.

Growing ties across the Taiwan Strait do not mean that Beijing has abandoned its demand for unification (the PRC and ROC cannot ‘reunify’ if they had not formed part of the same state) in favour of spontaneous integration driven by social and economic forces. In fact, the PRC’s communist rulers remain obsessed with unification on their terms. Why? Considerations of prestige and national honor feature prominently. For Beijing unification between the mainland and Taiwan was ‘essential to China’s recovery from a century of national weakness, vulnerability, and humiliation, and to its emergence as a respected great power’. Another explanation was that the PRC feared that an independent Taiwan could set a dangerous precedent for other potentially secession-inclined regions of the country, like Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang.121

While there is no doubt that China has been Taiwan’s veto state, the US cannot by contrast be designated as the ROC’s unqualified patron state. Their bilateral relationship since 1949 has been too complex for such a clear-cut categorization. On the one hand ‘US economic, military and political ties with Taiwan remain robust’, Hickey wrote in 2006.122 Their economic links were extensive, encompassing trade, joint-venture partnerships and technology transfers, among other exchanges. The US has furthermore honoured its security commitments to the ROC under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act. In 2001, for instance, President George W Bush affirmed that America had an obligation to defend Taiwan if attacked by China – and would do whatever it took to back the island in such a contingency.123 Politically Washington supported Taiwan’s bid for membership of the World Health Organization. More importantly, the US acted as a selfappointed guarantor of the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, pressuring both sides not to undertake risky unilateral actions that could jeopardize peace and stability in the area. On the other hand America stood firmly by its commitment to a one-China policy and a rejection of Taiwan’s claims to sovereignty and independence. For the latter reason Washington has opposed Taipei’s quest for UN membership. So while the US has been complicit in keeping Taiwan in the position of a contested state, the superpower has at the same time been trying to constrain the PRC in bullying Taiwan.

What future for Taiwan?

As with our other case studies, we end the discussion of Taiwan by considering alternative futures for the territory. It is fair to say that the status quo across the Strait was fraught with the danger of serious conflict because the PRC remained deeply dissatisfied with the prevailing state of affairs, which was also far from ideal for Taiwan. As Wachman put it, cross-Strait relations were marked by a ‘worrisome volatility’, prompting a fear ‘that the slightest diplomatic misstep by Taipei or a miscalculation in Beijing might lead to war’ that could escalate to hostilities ‘of the worst magnitude’.124 There were, however, powerful countervailing factors promoting a continuation of the present situation. Repeated opinion polls in Taiwan have shown conclusively that the vast majority of its people preferred the status quo to either unification on Beijing’s terms or independence for the island.125 It may be a case of ‘rather the devil you know than the devil you don’t’, but the nearly 60-year stand-off across the Taiwan Strait has cultivated mutual restraint and a remarkable degree of stability. This climate has been conducive to increasing interdependence and shared prosperity. There are risks involved for Taiwan, though: economic dependence on China could leave it vulnerable to political pressure from Beijing. The Democratic Progressive Party was quick to warn President Ma that his economic initiatives with China could increase this very danger.126

Despite its sometimes strident rhetoric, Beijing also faced constraints in dealing with its wayward ‘province’. In the run-up to the 2008 Olympic Games on its soil, the PRC was extremely reluctant to offend world opinion through some rash action against Taiwan. The international outcry over Beijing’s clampdown on protestors in Tibet in March 2008 may have served as a salutary lesson. Over time China has probably also realized that turning the screws on Taiwan tended to be counter-productive by stimulating separatist sentiments there. Another major factor in the equation was the US, a vociferous opponent of unilateral conflict-inducing actions on either side of the Chinese divide.127

Since the status quo was a default option tolerated in the absence of a mutually acceptable alternative, we need to explore various formulas that have been proposed for a lasting settlement of the conflict between China and Taiwan. An extremely risky alternative would be for the island to declare itself independent as the Republic of Taiwan. This was the so-called two-state model championed by the advocates of Taiwan’s sovereign statehood. While this may have been the preferred option for elements in the then ruling DPP, Beijing would have put up fierce resistance – even to the extent of exercising its self-proclaimed right to use force to prevent the permanent separation of Taiwan from the mainland. Taiwan (or the ROC) could theoretically become a de jure state under international law if the world community made a collective commitment to protect the island in the event of a formal proclamation of statehood.128 Such an undertaking was inconceivable in practice.

Under an ‘EU model’, mainland China and Taiwan would join a confederal system as ‘two coequal sovereign entities’. To live up to EU standards the two component units would have to dismantle customs, immigration, travel and communications barriers, adopt a common currency and renounce the use of force in their bilateral relations. Although an EU formula would involve a pooling of sovereignty, Beijing was bound to object to any notion of coequal sovereignty between the PRC and Taiwan.129

The principal alternative not involving international legal sovereignty was of course that of unifying the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. This has all along been the PRC’s demand and the option previously favoured by the KMT. The two sides have, however, consistently been at loggerheads over the form of unification and the route to that destination.

Beijing’s sole formula for unification has for decades been that of ‘one country, two systems’. The ‘one country’ or ‘one China’ touted by Beijing was naturally the PRC; the ROC would cease to exist. In 1973 the PRC’s communist leadership promised that if the KMT facilitated unification, Taiwan would become an autonomous region of China. Its special privileges would include managing its internal affairs; maintaining distinct legal, economic and military systems; and retaining such symbols of sovereignty as the ROC’s national flag. Reiterating this arrangement in 1979, Beijing added an assurance to the KMT that it could remain as the government of Taiwan for a long time to come – provided it accepted the sovereignty of the PRC.130 In 1981 China couched its unification scheme in terms of an autonomous ‘special administrative region’ that would afford Taiwan essentially the same rights as envisaged in 1973 plus participation in China’s central government. The latter would not interfere in Taiwan’s local affairs either. This kind of arrangement was incorporated into the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.131 In subsequent statements Chinese leaders like Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao elaborated on the features of the one country, two systems model. It would inter alia allow the mainland to practice a socialist system while Hong Kong and Taiwan upheld a capitalist economic order; Taiwan as a special administrative region of China would exercise a high degree of autonomy, enjoy legislative and independent judicial power including that of final adjudication, retain its armed forces and administer its own party, government and military systems; Beijing would not station troops or administrative personnel on the island; and Taiwan would gain even more room than presently to participate in external exchanges.132 Finally, Beijing’s established position was that Taiwan had to accept the one-China principle as a precondition for cross-Strait negotiations on final status. Should Taiwan reject this principle in word or deed, the PRC reserved the right to employ force against the island.133

The ROC’s National Unification Guidelines of 1991 contained an unequivocal commitment to unification: ‘Both the mainland and Taiwan areas are parts of Chinese territory. Helping to bring about national unification should be the common responsibility of all Chinese people’.134 There the consensus between the two sides ended. Taiwan’s blueprint set out a process of peaceful unification that would join the two entities ‘under a system of governance that will guarantee democracy, freedom, and an equal opportunity for all to pursue economic prosperity’, in the words of an ROC leader.135 An ROC White Paper of 1994 reaffirmed that unification would lead to the creation of a new Chinese state based on democratic governance and human rights combined with the economic strength of a united China.136 In Taipei’s view a united China would thus have to be a postcommunist China. In 2004 President Chen said that one China did not exist at the time but may become a reality in future – but only through negotiations between Taipei and Beijing.137 Taiwan insisted that talks on unification had to be conducted between equal political entities, not between a central government and a subordinate administrative province.138 This may well be the position taken by President Ma too.

Taiwan’s main political parties have for years rejected Beijing’s interpretation of the one-China formula as a zero-sum option and public opinion on the island was also vehemently opposed to Beijing’s plans for Taiwan.139 One objection was that a special administrative region would exist at the pleasure of the central authorities; Taiwan would be at the mercy of Beijing, which moreover had the advantage of preponderant force. Another criticism was that the one-China system was merely transitional, created for the purpose of national unification. Once that goal had been achieved, the rationale for maintaining the arrangement would fall away. It would furthermore appear that Beijing’s support for Taiwan’s autonomous status stopped far short of regarding it as an enforceable international standard.140 This meant that autonomy for Taiwan would be a purely domestic matter, leaving the entity entirely dependent on Beijing’s benevolence. Finally, Hong Kong’s experience as a special administrative region has not inspired confidence in Taiwan; the former British territory has been subjected to various forms of interference from Beijing. Taiwanese also made the point that Hong Kong had never enjoyed the domestic sovereignty long exercised by Taiwan.141

Given these fundamental objections from Taiwan, it has been suggested that Beijing should do three things to create a climate conducive to crossStrait talks: drop its insistence that Taiwan accept the one country, two systems formula as a precondition for negotiations; cease its hostile attitude towards Taiwan, which only hardened feelings against the mainland; and make itself more attractive to the people of Taiwan, who were deterred by the authoritarian and corrupt nature of the communist regime.142 On the Taiwanese side the prospects for constructive talks with China have improved with the advent of President Ma and a KMT government in 2008. Whether the KMT would be prepared to support unification with an undemocratic China is doubtful, though; the Nationalists too may well insist that a unified China has to be a post-communist state. Even then Taiwan may still claim internal self-determination à la territorial autonomy to preserve its particular identity in a larger China.143


Being the miniscule left-over of a political order overthrown in China’s revolution of 1949, Taiwan’s separate political existence and assertions of statehood have been an ongoing affront to the PRC. Obsessed with unifying China, the communist rulers in Beijing have all along tried to cajole and coerce Taiwan into the fold. The PRC has exercised its veto power by keeping Taiwan in diplomatic isolation and threatening to use force if the island dared to declare formal independence. Against heavy odds Taiwan has managed to retain diplomatic links with two dozen states, all of which of course also granted it de jure recognition. In addition Taiwan has held on to membership of a few inter-governmental organizations. However modest, these are unusual achievements among contested states.

To enlarge its international space, Taiwan has been ingenious in developing an elaborate network of reciprocal semi-formal representation with virtually all major countries. The ROC has indeed become the world’s foremost exponent of such alternative forms of routine inter-state exchanges. Another characteristic that set Taiwan apart from other contested states was its extensive economic ties with its veto state, China, despite their political alienation. The strength of Taiwan’s empirical statehood, especially in economic terms, was a further distinguishing feature. Taiwan’s establishment of an exemplary democracy should also be recorded.

Despite all these qualities, Taiwan is singularly unlikely to graduate to confirmed statehood. For at least as long as the PRC remained under authoritarian communist rule, Beijing would veto any chance of separate Taiwanese statehood. Should China democratize, the prospects for unification (probably on similar lines as Hong Kong) would improve greatly. For the foreseeable future, though, Taiwan is destined to survive and even thrive at the fringes of the international community.


  1. Florence Elliott, A Dictionary of Politics, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1977, pp.89–90; AW Palmer, A Dictionary of Modern History, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1972, pp.78, 180; Guido Acquaviva, ‘Subjects of international law: A power-based analysis’, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 38(2), March 2005, pp.369–70; Jonathan I Charney & JRV Prescott, ‘Resolving crossStrait relations between China and Taiwan’, The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 94(3), July 2000, pp.454–8; Michael D Swaine, ‘Trouble in Taiwan’, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 83(2), March/April 2004, p.40.
  2. Paul Johnson, Modern Times: A History of the World from the 1920s to the 1990s, Phoenix, London, 1992, p.388.
  3. Quoted by Florence Elliott, p.75.
  4. Robert A Madsen, ‘The struggle for sovereignty between China and Taiwan’, in Stephen D Krasner (ed.), Problematic Sovereignty: Contested Rules and Political Possibilities, Columbia University Press, New York, 2001, pp.147–8.
  5. The discussion of the ROC’s international relations and domestic politics in the period 1945 to 1990 draws on the author’s book, Isolated States: A Comparative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1990, chapters 3–6, 13.
  6. A LeRoy Bennett & James K Oliver, International Organizations: Principles and Issues, seventh edition, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, 2002, p.89.
  7. Robert A Madsen, p.159.
  8. A LeRoy Bennett & James K Oliver, p.89.
  9. Robert A Madsen, p.176; Thomas D Grant, ‘Hallstein revisited: Unilateral enforcement of regimes of nonrecognition since the two Germanies’, Stanford Journal of International Law, Vol. 36, 2000, p.231.
  10. Steven Kuan-tsyh Yu, ‘Republic of China’s international legal status as exemplified by the Taiwan Relations Act’, in Yu San Wang (ed.), The China Question: Essays on Current Relations between Mainland China and Taiwan, Praeger, New York, 1985, p.62; Stephen D Krasner, ‘Explaining variation: Defaults, coercion, commitments’, in Krasner (ed.), Problematic Sovereignty, pp.338–9.
  11. Quoted by Deon Geldenhuys, Isolated States, p.448.
  12. Freedom House, ‘Freedom in the World – Taiwan (2007)’, http://www.freedom, p.1.
  13. Deon Geldenhuys, South Africa and the China Question: A Case for Dual Recognition, East Asia Project, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 1995, pp.9–10.
  14. Thomas D Grant, pp.231–2.
  15. Deon Geldenhuys, South Africa and the China Question, p.19.
  16. Eric Ting-Lun Huang, ‘Taiwan’s status in a changing world: United Nations representation and membership for Taiwan’, Annual Survey of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 9(1), 2003, p.85; Alan M Wachman, ‘A cold war of words’, Orbis, Vol. 46(4), Fall 2002, p.700.
  17. Quoted by Jonathan I Charney & JRV Prescott, p.464.
  18. Quoted by Jacques deLisle, ‘Law’s spectral answers to the cross-Strait sovereignty question’, Orbis, Vol. 46(4), Fall 2002, p.747; Alan M Wachman, p.698.
  19. Alan M Wachman, p.698; Markus G Puder, ‘The grass will not be trampled because the tigers need not fight – New thoughts and old paradigms for détente across the Taiwan Strait’, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 34(3), May 2001, p.510.
  20. Quoted by Jaw-Ling J Chang, ‘New dimensions of U.S.-Taiwan relations’, American Foreign Policy Interests, Vol. 26, 2004, p.309.
  21. Editorial, Taiwan Review, Vol. 53(11), November 2003, p.1.
  22. Anne Hsiu-An Hsiao, ‘Some thoughts on Taiwan’s “UN referendums” that failed to represent the public will’, Taiwan Perspective (Institute for National Policy Research), No. 126, 15 May 2008,…
  23. Sebastian Bersick & Gudrun Wacker, ‘Hoffnung auf Stabilität in der Taiwanstrasse’, SWP-Aktuell, No. 27, April 2008, pp.1–4.
  24. See Chapter 1, footnote 120.
  25. Markus G Puder, p.517; Stephen Allen, ‘Recreating “one China”: Internal selfdetermination, autonomy and the future of Taiwan’, Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law, Vol. 4(1), 2003, pp.24–5.
  26. Steve Allen, ‘Statehood, self-determination and the “Taiwan question”’, Asian Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 9, 2000, p.199.
  27. Steve Allen, ‘Statehood, self-determination and the “Taiwan question”’, pp.191, 207.
  28. Richard W Hartzell, ‘Questions of sovereignty – the Montevideo Convention and territorial cession’, November 2005, harintmcexc.htm, p.5.
  29. Steve Allen, ‘Statehood, self-determination and the “Taiwan question”’, p.191.
  30. Richard W Hartzell, p.11; Taiwan Association of University Professors, Peaceful Coexistence: Two Countries, Two Systems,, section V.
  1. Jonathan I Charney & JRV Prescott, pp.458–9.
  2. Chen Lung-chu, ‘Taiwan’s statehood is undeniable’, Taipei Times, 17 August 2007, 2003374626; Jason X Hamilton, ‘An overview of the legal and security questions concerning Taiwanese independence’, International Law Review, Vol. 1(1), 2003–4, p.100.
  3. Government Information Office, Taiwan Yearbook 2007, Taipei, 2007, pp.99–105; Taipei Representative Office in the U.K., ‘Taiwan ranks sixth in BERI investment climate report’, 2 September 2007, UK/fp.asp…; ‘Taiwan: Vice President Lu’s comments on Council on Foreign Relations Video Conference “Taiwan’s future”’, US Fed News Service, Washington DC, 17 January 2007, Proquest database: http://O-proquest.
  4. Taiwan: World Audit Democracy Profile, 2007, countries/taiwan.htm.
  5. Jason X Hamilton, p.97.
  6. Steve Allen, ‘Statehood, self-determination and the “Taiwan question”’, p.199.
  7. Ivan Shearer, ‘International legal relations between Australia and Taiwan: Behind the fac¸ade’, Australian Year Book of International Law, Vol. 21, 2000, p.121.
  8. Jonathan I Charney & JRV Prescott, p.473.
  9. Quoted by Jason X Hamilton, p.94.
  10. Taiwan Association of University Professors, section V; Chen Lung-chu.
  11. Stephen Allen, ‘Recreating “one China”’, pp.40–1.
  12. Taiwan Association of University Professors, section V.
  13. Jonathan I Charney & JRV Prescott, pp.471, 476.
  14. Stephen D Krasner, ‘Explaining variation’, p.337.
  15. ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Taiwan Foreign Policy Report’, ca. 2006,…, p.5.
  16. Taiwan Yearbook 2007, pp.73–4; ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Foreign embassies in the ROC (Taiwan)’, 2007, 1p.asp?…; Exchange, No. 81, June 2005, p.34; Editorial, Taiwan Review, Vol. 55(6), June 2005, p.1.
  17. The New York Times, 24 June 2007, world/ asia…
  18. Jay Nordlinger, ‘Taiwan’s two dozen’, National Review, 13 August 2007, p.26; Taiwan Journal, 20 May 2005, p.1.
  19. Government Information Office, Taiwan Yearbook 2006, Taipei, 2006, pp.110–16; Taiwan Journal, 7 October 2005, p.1.
  20. The Banker, 1 September 2006, p.1.
  21. Taiwan Journal, 16 June 2005, p.7.
  22. Taiwan Journal, 30 September 2005, p.1.
  23. org, ‘ROC, Honduras, El Salvador sign trilateral FTA, 11 May 2007’,
  24. Taiwan Journal, 14 October 2005, p.1.
  25. Taiwan Journal, 20 August 2004, p.1.
  26. Taiwan Journal, 6 August 2004, p.1.
  27. Taiwan Yearbook 2007, p.186.
  28. Leanne Kao, ‘Rallying relief’, Taiwan Review, Vol. 55(4), April 2005, pp.36–41; Kelly Her, ‘Itinerant doctors’, Taiwan Review, Vol. 55(5), May 2005, pp.12–16. 59 Taiwan Yearbook 2007, p.187.
  29. Taiwan Yearbook 2006, p.117.
  30. Taiwan Yearbook 2006, pp.117–18.
  31. Taiwan Yearbook 2006, pp.118–20.
  32. Taiwan Yearbook 2007, pp.73–4.
  33. Scott Pegg, ‘The “Taiwan of the Balkans”? The de facto state option for Kosovo’, Southeast European Politics, Vol. 1(2), December 2000, p.95.
  34. Taiwan Yearbook 2007, pp.73–4.
  35. Byron SJ Weng, ‘Taiwan’s international status today’, The China Quarterly, No. 99, September 1984, p.463.
  36. Taiwan Yearbook 2007, p.91; Taiwan Journal, 24 June 2005, p.1; Taiwan Journal, 1 July 2005, p.2.
  37. James C Hsiung, ‘The ROC’s (Taiwan’s) quest for wider international participation’, American Foreign Policy Interests, Vol. 28, 2006, p.266.
  38. Oscar Chung, ‘Being seen, being heard’, Taiwan Review, Vol. 54(11), November 2004, p.40; Oscar Chung, ‘Trade secrets on display’, Taiwan Review, Vol. 55(10), October 2005, pp.34–6.
  39. Taiwan Yearbook 2006, p.106.
  40. Taiwan Yearbook 2006, p.111; Taiwan Yearbook 2007, pp.70–1.
  41. Taiwan Journal, 25 June 2005, p.1.
  42. James C Hsiung, p.266; Eric Ting-Lun Huang, p.95.
  43. Eric Ting-Lun Huang, pp.96–8.
  44. Quoted in an editorial, Taiwan Review, Vol. 54(10), October 2004, p.1.
  45. James C Hsiung, p.258.
  46. ‘UNGA rejects proposal to include Taiwan’s UN bid on agenda’, 19 September 2007,
  47. James C Hsiung, pp.255, 258–61.
  48. Pat Gao, ‘In support of health’, Taiwan Review, Vol. 55(5), May 2005, p.6.
  49. James C Hsiung, pp.262–3.
  50. Taiwan Yearbook 2006, p.114.
  51. James C Hsiung, pp.263–4; Taiwan Yearbook 2006, p.113; Taipei Times, 20 April 2007,
  52. ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Taiwan Foreign Policy Report’, p.7. 84 James C Hsiung, p.265.
  53. Gary D Rawnsley, ‘Selling democracy: Diplomacy, propaganda and democratization in Taiwan’, China Perspectives, No. 47, May–June 2003, http://chinaperspectives., p.6.
  54. Taiwan Yearbook 2006, p.118; ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Taiwan Foreign Policy Report’, p.2.
  55. Taiwan Journal, 19 August 2006, p.1; ‘Taiwan: Vice President Lu’s comments on Council on Foreign Relations Video Conference “Taiwan’s future”’. 88 Taiwan Yearbook 2007, p.71.
  56. Gary D Rawnsley, p.9.
  57. Quoted by Gary D Rawnsley, p.6.
  58. ‘Taiwan: President Chen talks with overseas missions chiefs about Taiwan’s diplomacy’, US Fed News Service, 16 May 2006,…
  59. ‘Taiwan: Vice President Lu’s comments on Council on Foreign Relations Video Conference “Taiwan’s future”’.
  60. Quoted in The Banker, 1 September 2006, p.1.
  61. ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Taiwan Foreign Policy Report’, p.6.
  62. Robert A Madsen, pp.142, 171.
  63. Robert A Madsen, p.169; Steve Allen, ‘Statehood, self-determination and the “Taiwan question”’, p.218.
  64. Quoted by Alan M Wachman, p.708; Gary D Rawnsley, p.8.
  65. Quoted in Taiwan Yearbook 2006, p.82.
  66. Quoted by Dennis van Vranken Hickey, ‘America, China and Taiwan: three challenges for Chen Shui-Bian’, Journal of Contemporary China, Vol. 15(48), August 2006, p.465.
  67. Taiwan Yearbook 2006, pp.76–7.
  68. Taiwan Yearbook 2006, p.86.
  69. Stephen Allen, ‘Recreating “one China”’, p.47.
  70. Quoted in Taiwan Yearbook 2006, p.82.
  71. The full text of Ma’s inaugural address appeared in The China Post, 21 May 2008,; The Economist, 29 March 2008.
  72. International Herald Tribune, 19 June 2008 & 4 July 2008.
  73. International Herald Tribune, 19 June 2008.
  74. Eric Ting-Lun Huang, p.93.
  75. James C Hsiung, pp.255, 265.
  76. Dennis van Vranken Hickey, p.471.
  77. Eric Ting-Lun Huang, p.59.
  78. Robert A Madsen, p.164; Eric Ting-Lun Huang, p.94.
  79. Jaw-Ling J Chang, p.309.
  80. Quoted by Deon Geldenhuys, South Africa and the China Question, p.5.
  81. Quoted by Dennis van Vranken Hickey, p.465.
  82. Freedom House, ‘Freedom in the World – Taiwan (2007)’, p.3. 116 Taiwan Yearbook 2006, p.45.
  83. Michael D Swaine, p.41.
  84. Quoted by Dennis van Vranken Hickey, p.466.
  85. Taiwan Yearbook 2007, pp.82, 100.
  86. Xinhua News Agency, 18 May 2008, db900sid…; ROC Government Information Office, ‘ROC offers disaster aid’, 19 May 2008,…
  87. Michael D Swaine, pp.40–1; Markus D Puder, p.515; Steve Allen, ‘Statehood, self-determination and the “Taiwan question”’, p.193.
  88. Dennis van Vranken Hickey, p.474.
  89. Dennis van Vranken Hickey, p.460.
  90. Alan D Wachman, p.707.
  91. Byron SJ Weng, ‘“One country, two systems” from a Taiwan perspective’, Orbis, Vol. 46(4), Fall 2002, p.731; Alan M Wachman, p.703; Taiwan Yearbook 2006, p.86.
  92. International Herald Tribune, 19 June 2008; Stephen Allen, ‘Recreating “one China”’, p.48.
  93. Jaw-Ling J Chang, p.311.
  94. Steve Allen, ‘Statehood, self-determination and the “Taiwan question”’, p.202.
  95. James C Hsiung, p.267; Jacques deLisle, pp.743–4.
  96. Robert A Madsen, pp.161–2.
  97. Byron SJ Weng, ‘“One country, two systems” from a Taiwan perspective’, pp.714–16; Jaw-Ling J Chang, p.310.
  98. Byron SJ Weng, ‘“One country, two systems” from a Taiwan perspective’, pp.713–14; Alan M Wachman, p.697.
  99. Alan M Wachman, pp.702, 707; Michael D Swaine, p.41.
  100. Quoted by Alan M Wachman, p.708.
  101. Quoted by Deon Geldenhuys, South Africa and the China Question, p.17.
  102. Stephen Allen, ‘Recreating “one China”’, p.37. 137 Jaw-Ling J Chang, p.311.
  103. Stephen Allen, ‘Recreating “one China”’, p.46.
  104. Jaw-Ling J Chang, pp.310, 314.
  105. Stephen Allen, ‘Recreating “one China”’, pp.49–50.
  106. Byron SJ Weng, ‘“One country, two systems” from a Taiwan perspective’, pp.730–1; Alan M Wachman, p.698; Stephen Allen, ‘Recreating “one China”’, pp.36–8.
  107. Dennis van Vranken Hickey, pp.471, 473.
  108. Stephen Allen, ‘Recreating “one China”’, pp.34–8.

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