Taiwan: a Sovereign Nation in Every Sense
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Taiwan: a Sovereign Nation in Every Sense

Taiwan, a nation in every sense of the word and yet is not recognized as one. Why? this article takes a stab at it.

Located on an island Southeast of Asia with a population of 23 million people, the Republic of China is known around the world by the name of the main island it currently occupies, by the name of Taiwan. In the 1980s and the 1990s the island under the label “Made in Taiwan” rose to become a household name due its relatively inexpensive and low quality products, a reputation that has since been surpassed by the now infamous “Made in China.” Taiwan’s relationship with China is a complicated one by which many around the world do not know of and perceive the island as either a province of China or a completely independent nation. The island for all intense and purposes as of 2010 is an independent political entity, and has been for half a century. However, it has been claimed by the People’s Republic of China as simply a strayed province that it intends to unite at all costs. Despite the fact that communist China has never have any jurisdiction over Taiwan, it has gone to great lengths to pressure the international community to recognize its claim to the island due to the strategic and political asset that Taiwan can be.

First sighted by a Portuguese ship in 1544 and named Formosa, or beautiful island, the Taiwan has been colonized in the seventeenth century first by the Dutch then briefly by the Spanish. It was first added to the Chinese Empire in 1683 by the Qing Dynasty and would retain full province status within China in 1885. The island itself was under the control of the Japanese when the Republic of China (ROC) was formed in 1911 overthrowing the Qing Dynasty. Taiwan would remain under the control of ROC until present day after the Japanese was defeated in the Second World War. The ROC after losing the Chinese Civil war to the newly established People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 would relocate to Taiwan where it would remain. Although under the dictatorship of Chiang Kai-Shek for many decades, a president who thought of Taiwan only as a temporary refuge to one day launch an attack to recapture mainland China, from the 1990s on Taiwan has transformed to become one of the thriving democracies and economic powerhouse in Asia.

Because the fact that formally the government that currently occupies the island of Taiwan and some of the surrounding island is called the Republic of China, the Communist China or the PRC under its policy of one China has claimed Taiwan as simply a strayed province of China. Despite the fact that for many decades following the creation of the United Nations in 1945, the Republic of China was one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, it now practically has no formal recognition on the international stage. Following the UN resolution in 1971 where the PRC formally took the seat as the rightful representative of China in the Security Council, the status of ROC has since been diminished to the often used title of “Chinese Taipei” as seemed in international events such as the Olympics.

The decomposing of ROC’s status as a sovereign state has to be responsible to the somewhat stubborn claim that the PRC has over the island. Because of the vast population of the PRC and its economic potential, in the 1970s most countries in the world, including ROC’s long standing ally the United States, has turned to recognize the People’s Republic of China as the sole representative of China. The then President or dictator of ROC Chiang Kai-Shek made matters worse by severing diplomatic ties with any nations that became friendly to the communist China and even pulled out officially from the United Nations as a member nation.

Since then the PRC with its economic leverage on the international stage has grasps the fact that Taiwan still official carry the name of China and technically still has never relinquished its claimed over all of China since the end of the Chinese Civil War to claim the island. Using the aforementioned factors the PRC threatens Taiwan and other potential allies that any change of name or forsake of its claim over China would be an act of independence that they would not tolerated. Nations who may have sympathy over Taiwan’s situation are hesitant to aid due to the benefits economically that the communist China has with its vast population. The PRC in 2005 has gone as far as passing the Anti-Secession Law where it formally put on paper the possibility that the communist state would use military actions against Taiwan when they deemed necessary. This is however no surprise to anyone in Taiwan due to the fact that China has been aiming short ranged missiles at the island for years and is increasing its numbers by the year. Even back in 1996 when Taiwan conducted its first popular vote election of a president, the Chinese under the excuse of a military exercise launched several ballistic missiles over the island. As of 2009 there are around 1500 missiles aimed at the island of 23 million people.

Taiwan is basically caught between a rock and a hard place where on one hand it cannot formally declare independence due to the military threat across the Taiwan Strait, but on the other hand joining China would destroy the sovereignty of a thriving democracy by which the Taiwanese have worked hard to achieve over the decades and are very proud of. By claiming sovereignty, China holds Taiwan in a position where the voices of 23 million people are not being heard on the international stage. A claim in itself is questionable because nowhere in the history of the PRC does it have any jurisdiction over the island. Taiwan has every aspect that any sovereign nation around the world has and more and yet due to the stubborn claim by China it does not receive the benefits of a sovereign country.

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