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The Two China Policy: Need for a Rethink
China at the turn of the twentieth century had reached the nadir of its civilization. The once proud nation had been reduced to an impotent power. The foreign nations led by the UK and other Europeans controlled China which was itself in the grip of warlords. The Chinese communist party was formed and it began a policy of enforcing Marxism. Its leader was Mao Tse Tung. There was another factor and that was the nationalist party led by Chiang Kai-shek. He was allergic to communists but perhaps it had more to do with the game of power politics as Mao controlled the communists.
During this time the Japanese invaded China and set up a puppet regime in Manchuria. But the atomic bomb did the Japs in and in 1945 despite having large areas of China under their control they surrendered. This set in motion a civil war between the communists and the nationalists. The USA came on the side of the Nationalists. But corruption and a lack of dedicated soldiers and cadre led to the defeat of Chiang Kai-shek and him along with remnants of his party escaped to Formosa. There he set up up a separate government and referred to that part as the "real China" he promised to return and capture the mainland, but he soon died.
Formosa and Nationalist China
The Chinese did not invade Formosa as they were deterred by the US 7th fleet that guarded nationalist China ( as Formosa was known then). This state of affairs continued till the seventies when Henry Kissinger made a secret trip to Peking and finally negotiated a peace. It was an agreement that was intricate and the USA recognized a " One China" in principle. Nationalist China was stripped of the tag and was henceforth referred to as Taiwan.
Despite this, the Us maintained defense ties with Taiwan but the US presidents strictly adhered to a one-China policy to please the dragon. Much water has flown down the river since then and Formosa has established an independent identity. It has nurtured democratic values and made strides in industry and per capita income.
China has also advanced but under a naked dictatorship and millions of Chinese have been killed and millions imprisoned as a bamboo curtain was set up. China wants the renegade province into its fold and has not ruled out the use of force to reunify Formosa with China. There is a fly in the ointment and that is the people of Taiwan having tasted the fruits of democracy do not want to have a union with China.
In 4 decades China has achieved what some nations achieved in 100 years. One is reminded of a statement by Jawaharlal Nehru whose hand of friendship was spurned by Mao when he stated: " A strong China is always an expansionist China". These are prophetic words and now that China is strong it has embarked on a domination exercise all round. A look at its actions will bring out the true meaning of Nehru's words
a) In 1949 China invaded Tibet and occupied the buffer with India. It also laid vast claims to Indian territory and claimed the entire Arunachal Pradesh as part of China. it occupied 30,000 square miles of Indian territory in Ladakh,
b) It started a military operation against ethnic Muslims in Sinkiang and let lose a reign of terror.
c) It constantly bombarded the Matsu islands and threatened Formosa
d) In 1983 it invaded Vietnam to teach a lesson to the Vietnamese.
) It laid claim to 80% of the South China Sea and set up artificial islands on the atolls and militarized them. It rejected the verdict of the International Tribunal on the ownership of the sea.
f) its navy is regularly carrying out exercises in the south Chian sea and threatening and intimidating the weaker power around the SC Sea.
The Two China policy
With an aggressive China all around more like a bull in a China shop, it is imperative that the dragon is reined in. This needs a long-term strategy and one of these is to grant the people of Formosa self-determination. This is as per the UN charter and if one can talk of self-determination for the Palestine people, then there is no reason to deny it to the people of Formosa.
President Donald is well aware and has said that one must think of a China policy which recognizes Formosa. To hand over Formosa to China will only make it more belligerent and it could then flex its muscles even more. It would also be a grave injustice to the people of Taiwan.
Hence there is need to have a rethink on this policy and the UN must guarantee the independence of Taiwan, so long as the people want it.