Taiwan Aspires for Peace and Neutrality

 

On 14 August 2014, in commemoration of the end of the World War II, a solemn declaration for peace and neutrality was made by a group of distinguished political and civic leaders in Taipei, which stresses that:   

 

Taiwan is not for sale and refuses to be betrayed.

As the masters of Taiwan, we have the right to decide our destiny, we

also have the responsibility to safeguard the security and sovereignty

of our homeland as well as to maintain the stability of the region.

Thereby we declare to build Taiwan a nation of peace and permanent

neutrality through a national plebiscite while we seek for international

recognition and support.

 

Historical Reflection

1. A rebellion in Korea caused the 1894 Sino-Japanese War, and Taiwan became the defeated country’s scapegoat to Japan till 14 August 1945, when the announcement of surrender of the Imperial Japan was made. Shortly after, the U.S. government issued General Order No.1 that instructed the Japanese forces in Taiwan to surrender to Chiang Kai-shek’s representatives, without the consent of Taiwanese people once more.

2. After the outbreak of the Korean War in June, 1950, U.S. President Harry S. Truman declared the "neutralization of the Formosa Strait" and sent the U.S. Seventh Fleet into the Strait to preempt the Chinese Communists’ invasion of Taiwan till 1979 when the U.S. recognized PRC in China instead of ROC in Taiwan.

 

In a word, Taiwan historically has been treated as nothing but an uninhibited islet. Tens of millions Taiwanese never have had a chance to determine their own destiny.

 

Strategic Importance

Being located between the world’s largest ocean and largest mainland, Taiwan occupies a significant position in East Asia and is in the center of the first island chain.

Geopolitically and strategically,while the U.S. tries to strengthen the first island chain, China seeks to breach it. If China controls Taiwan, its naval ships and aircrafts will have free access to the Pacific Ocean and directly challenge the U.S.-Japan Alliance. Taiwan is absolutely important to China, U.S. and Japan, and plays a key role in regional security and economic development.

Historically, Taiwan owned the sovereignty of the Diaoyutai/Senkaku Islands; today it exercises effective control over the Dongsha/Pratas Islands and part of the Nansha/Spratly Islands, including Itu Aba, the largest of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Taiwan Strait and the Bashi Strait are important pathways for international air and sea transport, with over a thousand of planes and vessels passing through these waters and the airspace above daily. Taiwan stands at the pathway between Japan and India as well as the ASEAN, and is pivotal to the freedom of navigation in the Taiwan/Bashi Strait and the South China Sea.

Amid the high tensions in the East China Sea due to the Sino-Japanese dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands (The Senkakus), President of Taiwan Ma Ying-jeou proposed The East China Sea Peace Initiative, and former Vice President Annette Lu Hsiu-lien further cited the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and called for demilitarization and the creation of marine preservation zones around the disputed islands. Both stress the value of peace and neutrality on the ocean.

 

A Beacon in the Asia Pacific

To compare Taiwan with the rest of the world, one will be amazed to discover that the tiny island Formosa in fact is a beacon in the Asia Pacific!

Taiwan’s Rankings

Land area

136th

Population

52nd

GDP per capita

38th

Economy

27th

Globalization Index

17th

Global Peace Index

28th

Global Competitiveness

14th

UNDP Gender Inequality Index

2nd (No.1 in Asia)

Overall: 21

 

 

A Nation of Peace and Neutrality

Taiwan aspires to be a permanent neutral nation. It seeks to safeguard its independence and sovereignty through a self-reliant national defense, democratic institutions and a free economy as well as a new green culture.

 

Taiwan will call for China, Japan, and other neighboring states as well as the United Nations to recognize and support Taiwan’s neutrality. Our best strategy is to be “coming closer to the U.S., making friends with Japan, and seeking peace with China.” Taiwan pledges to be an active and responsible international stakeholder, proactive in promoting peace and cooperation in the region and help achieve a peaceful solution to the disputes in East China Sea and South China Sea. We aspire to become the Switzerland of the Orient, and a beacon in Asia.

 

Two approaches lead to the success of Taiwan’s peace and neutrality. Both international understandings and a successful national plebiscite are needed. The Taiwanese people’s quest for neutrality is a measure of preventive defense to counter any foreign invasion and the outcome of the plebiscite deserves world respect and support. When Taiwan becomes neutralized, it will not take sides in regional conflicts but will play an active role for global peace and justice.

 

 

 

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