(翻譯:李忠晉 同心)

Friday, December 12, 2008

I am surprised at Don Feder's lack of expertise in dealing with the "Taiwan question" in his article "Double standards on China," (Commentary, Wednesday).

Mr. Feder assumes, without offering any relevant analysis, that Taiwan is already a country in the world today and is therefore entitled to membership in the United Nations.

However, a simple overview of the international law criteria regarding such determinations shows that "Taiwan" is only a geographic term and not the name of a country. Specifically, there are no persons in the world today who carry any sort of documentation attesting to their being citizens of the "Republic of Taiwan" (or any similar country name), nor are any diplomatic relations conducted under such a nomenclature.

As for the Republic of China (ROC), that is a separate entity from Taiwan, as Mr. Feder might realize if he would care to examine the historical record.

In particular, a crucial factor in sorting out Taiwan's true legal position is to recognize that there was no transfer of sovereignty on Oct. 25, 1945.

The completion of the Japanese surrender ceremonies on that date only marked the beginning of the military occupation. Then, when the Republic of China moved its central government to occupied Taiwan in December 1949, it became a government in exile.

In the Senate-ratified San Francisco Peace Treaty (SFPT) of 1952, the sovereignty of Taiwan was not awarded to China.

The dual status of the ROC in Taiwan, as an occupying power (not "the occupying power") and a government in exile, have continued up to the present day. In the postwar treaty, the United States holds the role of principal occupying power, and the U.S. government still has residual administrative authority over Taiwan.

The recognition of this U.S. administrative authority, along with the U.S. constitutional rights associated with this status, provides the only way out of Taiwan's current dilemma.

The history of international relations in the post-Napoleonic era contains exactly zero examples whereby an opposition party (such as the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan), has used the ballot box to obtain control of a government in exile and has then transformed itself into an independent nation, fully recognized by the world community. Hence, it can hardly be surprising that Taiwan's applications to join the United Nations have been rejected for over 16 years.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government." Notably however, the native Taiwanese were not consulted when the ROC sent its military troops to Taiwan in the fall of 1945.

After the treaty in San Francisco came into force, the Taiwanese were entitled to form their own civil government, and the ROC government officials should have departed Taiwan to take refuge in their last remaining sovereign territories of the Kinmen and Mazu island groups. Today, it is the ROC government in exile that is standing in the way of the Taiwanese people enjoying their full rights in the international community, not the People's Republic of China as Mr. Feder erroneously states.



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