The world cannot afford more episodes of the Taiwan drama being staged in the name of frivolous pretexts. It neither sits well with the US’ international commitments and norms nor does it favour established tenets of democracy around the globe. Internationally on all worldwide platforms including the United Nations (UN), the “one-China principle” is upheld legitimising Taiwan as an inalienable part of China. The one-China principle is the anchor for peace and stability in the world as well as across the Taiwan Strait. History and practice have proven time and again that when the one-China principle is fully endorsed and earnestly observed, the world and the Taiwan Strait would remain calm and tranquil. The position of the Chinese government has been consistent. It is the firm commitment of more than 1.4 billion Chinese people to resolutely safeguard their state sovereignty and territorial integrity.

During the month of August 2022, we witnessed another spell of the Taiwan drama orchestrated by the speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi paying a highly controversial visit to China’s Taiwan region in sheer disregard of China’s strong opposition. The visit is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiqués. By visiting Taiwan, Pelosi has reneged on US’ past commitments, undermined peace and many would consider also to have meddled in China’s internal affairs. The visit is a gross violation of the US commitments in the three China-US joint communiqués. In 1972, the US made a clear commitment in the Shanghai Communiqué that “the United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position”. In 1979, the US pledged in the Sino-US Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations that “the United States of America recognises 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”. In 1982, the US promised in the Joint Communiqué of the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America that “the United States of America recognised the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China, and it acknowledged the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China”, and that “the United States Government ... reiterates that it has no intention of infringing on Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity, or interfering in China’s internal affairs, or pursuing a policy of ‘two Chinas’ or ‘one China, one Taiwan’”. The three joint communiqués constitute the political foundation of China-US relations.

Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was a serious violation of the one-China principle. This principle is the prevailing consensus of the international community. In October 1971, the 26th session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 2758, which decided to “restore all its rights to the People’s Republic of China and to recognise 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 occupy at the United Nations and in all the organisations related to it.” This resolution has not only solved once and for all in political, legal and procedural terms the issue of representation of the whole of China, including Taiwan, in the United Nations, but also made it clear that there is but one seat of China in the United Nations, not two, and that there has never been an issue of “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”. The one-China principle has been an integral part of the post-WWII international order. To date, 181 countries around the world have established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China based on the one-China principle.

Speaker Pelosi claimed that “today the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy” and that “Our congressional delegation’s visit to Taiwan honours America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant Democracy.” Yet in reality, what has been done is by no means for the sake of defending democracy, but to infringe on China’s sovereignty, undermine China’s stability and hold back China’s development in the name of democracy. Since 2001, the wars and military operations that the US waged under the pretext of democracy, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, have claimed tens of thousands of lives and left millions injured and tens of millions displaced. This latest and reckless Taiwan drama is another debacle of US politics, diplomacy and credibility.

 

 

Yasir Habib Khan

The writer is a senior freelance journalist. He works for national and international media organisations pitching articles on international relations, economy, diplomacy, governance, corruption and human rights. He tweets at

@yaseerkhan.