Taiwan Isn't a Province of the People's Republic of China

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 18, 1998 | Go to article overview
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Taiwan Isn't a Province of the People's Republic of China


My country, the Republic of China on Taiwan, and the United States long have shared very close ties. We have been allies in times of war, and we are now friends in times of peace. The enduring strength of our relations derives from our shared commitment to free-market economics, universal human rights and the Lincolnian ideals of government for, by and of the people. So I am confident that the friendly and mutually beneficial relations between the people on Taiwan and the United States will continue to prosper long into the 21st century.

I was, therefore, somewhat dismayed when, a few days ago, the ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Washington, Li Zhaoxing, wrote to protest the U.S. government's decision to send Energy Secretary Bill Richardson to Taiwan ("Beijing's view," Op-Ed, Nov. 12). Such a strident protest is unreasonable, to say the least, to those who are familiar with the facts.

The Republic of China on Taiwan has been a sovereign state and has existed without interruption since its founding in 1912 by Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Although its government relocated from Nanking to Taipei in 1949, it never has been exiled or fully supplanted by any other government. Instead, it has exercised continuous jurisdiction over the territory under its control. After 1949, that territory may have been limited to an area consisting primarily of Taiwan and several nearby island groups. The government of the People's Republic of China, represented by Mr. Li, never has ruled any part of this territory, even for a single day, so it cannot speak on behalf of the 21.8 million people living there.

It is true that the government of the Republic of China on Taiwan remains committed to the eventual reunification of China under freedom, democracy, prosperity and social justice.

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