". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


As Election Looms, Taiwan Must Not Abandon Its Independence Clause

December 6, 2023

The American magazine Foreign Affairs published an article on November 30 jointly authored by Bonnie Glaser, Jessica Weiss, and Thomas Christensen. The piece called for the U.S. to “make clear that it opposes any unilateral change to the status quo” and to oppose any attempt by the Chinese Communist Party to take over Taiwan or any attempt from Taiwan to pursue independence. This is terrible advice.

The authors haughtily demand that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Lai Ching-te “suspend” the independence clause in the party’s charter should he win Taiwan’s presidential election. The reason they provide for doing so is absurd: to add weight and credibility to the promise of “keeping the status quo.”

The article, titled “Taiwan and the True Sources of Deterrence,” stresses that “as the United States works with Taiwan to strengthen its security, it must avoid giving the impression that it is moving toward restoring formal diplomatic relations or a defense alliance with the island.” The benefit, according to the authors, is to provide assurances that will prevent cross-strait war.

The authors also write that Taiwan must promise — as long as the People’s Liberation Army does not actively attack it — to not actively seek independence or permanent separation and “refrain from potentially provocative actions, such as holding a referendum to change its official name, the Republic of China, or revising its territorial claims to exclude mainland China.”

In addition to telling Lai to suspend the DPP charter’s independence clause, they want him to reiterate the promises President Tsai Ing-wen made in her 2016 inauguration speech — to handle cross-strait relations according to the Republic of China Constitution and the “Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area.”

Upon its publication, the Foreign Affairs article became the Kuomintang’s (KMT) ammunition. Siding with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the KMT demanded the DPP give up its “Taiwan independence party manifesto.”

Although Glaser immediately responded online to say that the article was “being taken out of context by some people in Taiwan,” her claim that she is an “independent scholar” and “not trying to help any particular candidate win” ironically feels like a clumsy, heavy-handed attempt to cover up true intentions.

The article has alarmed Americans and Taiwanese alike who are concerned that China has come up with new tricks in its attempt to intervene with Taiwan’s election — having American scholars write articles that propagate the CCP’s lies. The Taiwanese people must learn to see through the Americans who are shamefully bought by the CCP.

Based on erroneous assumptions, the authors of the article believe the U.S.’s defense of Taiwan stems from morality and loyalty. They overlook strong motives the U.S. has to protect its interests in the Taiwan Strait.

Every year, as many as 1.7 million cargo and commercial flights cross the Taiwan Strait. As many as 550,000 oil tankers, chemical cargo ships, and container ships sail through it.

These aircrafts and vessels pass by Taiwan through the strait thanks to its relative aerial and nautical stability. The Taiwan Strait is crucial to world economy, possibly accounting for up to 50% of the global GDP.

Countries such as the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Canada, and those in Europe all understand the Taiwan Strait’s importance. They understand that their economic lifeline not only goes through it but also is tied to it.

This is why the late former Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, famously said “An emergency in Taiwan is an emergency for Japan” and joined the U.S. in calling for an Indo-Pacific strategy. Lately, even South Korea, famous for being “pragmatic,” has sided with the U.S. and Japan and reiterated that China should not break the current peace across the Taiwan Strait.

Since the end of last year, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been giving speeches all around, highlighting the importance of the Taiwan Strait in the world’s economy and traffic. A forceful CCP invasion of Taiwan would definitely mean the severance, blockage, disturbance, and suffocation of the world’s economic lifeline.

U.S. President Joe Biden stated four times that should China attack, the U.S. will send troops to defend Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait. All of this are based on wanting to protect the U.S.’s actual economic interests; in addition, with Taiwan’s strategic significance, the U.S. will by no means give it up.

Viewing the issue from the big picture shows how wrong the authors of “Taiwan and the True Sources of Deterrence” are in their claims. Of course the U.S. and the free world will intervene with force to protect their interests in the Taiwan Strait, because standing with Taiwan falls in line with their actual interests.

As for Taiwan’s right to self-determination, normalizing their country, their wish to form diplomatic ties with democratic nations like the U.S., and ensuring regional security — all of these fall in line with the world’s “New Order” interest of protecting the economy and transport security.

One other major lethal and bizarre point in the article that needs to be corrected is its demand that the U.S. government openly announce it will accept a peaceful reunification if the Taiwanese people “assent” to it. This is a blatant form of the CCP’s non-forceful, atypical “unrestricted,” “information,” and “cyber” warfare, a way for the CCP to cultivate its puppet in Taiwan and create the illusion that the Taiwanese people approve of unification.

Will the U.S. and other democratic countries openly accept China’s annexation of Taiwan through these means?

The article refuses to mention anything about the fascist nature of the CCP’s regime, treating China like a “rule-abiding” partner of the world. This assumption would make former U.K. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who attempted to appease Adolf Hitler, turn in his grave — it is not merely ignorance of history, it is the dangerous betrayal of democratic Taiwan.

Making Taiwan give up its “independence clause” has been the CCP’s long-term goal, and now, even so-called American scholars are calling for such an oppressive idea. It is incredibly stupid and naïve to say that the CCP will not forcefully invade if Taiwan suspends its “independence clause.”

After writing such a self-complacent article that disregards Taiwan’s opinions and promotes CCP propaganda at the height of Taiwan’s election campaign activities, the authors find themselves in trouble and attempt to make pretentious excuses. All they have shown is impossible folly and brashness.

After all, what kind of “assurances” can one feed the CCP, the “wolf warrior” that has lost its credibility globally, to make it give up its prey-consuming nature? Such discussions trample on the ideals of democracy and freedom, and no one who knows better would approach it. If the DPP gives up or “suspends” its charter’s independence clause, it is the same as destroying its own principle of pursuing Taiwan’s democracy and freedom.

Dr. Sen-Hong Yang is senior advisor to Speaker You Si-kun of Taiwan Legislative Yuan and president of Taiwan Association for China Human Rights.

Rev. Bob Fu, Ph.D. is Senior Fellow for International Religious Freedom at Family Research Council and is the founder and president of ChinaAid.