China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
August 1, 2015
Executive Summary: Mainland China has risen. Some US experts prefer to the term "renaissance" to "rise". US politicians and academics differ about Taiwan. Some wish to abandon Taiwan. They think abandoning Taiwan will reduce friction with Beijing.They are even calling for the trading of strategic interests. But others think conflict between the United States and Mainland China is the result of a multitude of factors. Taiwan is merely one of many. If handled correctly, the US and the Chinese mainland need not become enemies over Taiwan. Abandoning Taiwan may appear to eliminate a strategic risk. But in fact the United States would lose an important strategic niche. Therefore they urge the United States to increase its support for Taiwan's democracy.
Full Text Below:
Mainland China has risen. Some US experts prefer to the term "renaissance" to "rise". US politicians and academics differ about Taiwan. Some wish to abandon Taiwan. They think abandoning Taiwan will reduce friction with Beijing.They are even calling for the trading of strategic interests. But others think conflict between the United States and Mainland China is the result of a multitude of factors. Taiwan is merely one of many. If handled correctly, the US and the Chinese mainland need not become enemies over Taiwan. Abandoning Taiwan may appear to eliminate a strategic risk. But in fact the United States would lose an important strategic niche. Therefore they urge the United States to increase its support for Taiwan's democracy.
Academics and politicians who support Taiwan's democracy, such as those who want Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic presidential nominee, are concerned that Taiwan is becoming too dependent on the Chinese mainland. They hope Taiwan will remain close to the US and keep the Chinese mainland at arm's length. Pro-[Mainland] China forces and China Threat theorists are tearing Taiwan apart.
During the Cold War, the United States formed alliances or security arrangements with governments from North East Asia to Southeast Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand. This included the ROC government on Taiwan, creating an island chain encircling the Chinese mainland and the Soviet Union. The national security and economic prosperity of these nations became dependent upon the US, gradually forming a stable political and social network.
In recent years, Mainland China has risen. It has challenged the United States' sole superpower status. At the same time, it has improved cross-Strait relations. Taiwan's trade dependence on the Mainland has improved cross-Strait people to people relations. Some US think tanks and politicians have begun to rethink Taipei-Washington relations. Some advocate abandoning Taiwan. Some advocate pressuring Taiwan, forcing it to return to the United States' embrace.
How should the US treat Taiwan? Trade between Taiwan and the Mainland is exploding. Trade between Taiwan and the US is growing as well. Taiwan's population is only one fifty-eighth of the Mainland's. But imports from the US to Taiwan are one-fifth of the Mainland's. Taiwan is the US's tenth largest trading partner. Trade volume surpasses that of Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, and India, whose population is 55 times greater. Moreover, much of the merchandise the Mainland sold to the United States was manufactured on the Mainland by Taiwan manufacturers. Such achievements in economic and trade relations should be cherished.
In global high-tech production and R & D, Taiwan occupies a decisive position. In laptop computers, routers, and other equipment, Taiwan is number one in the world. In 2014, Taiwan's top 25 high-tech firms generated 120 billion USD in profits. It is the most important link in the global supply chain. Ten years ago, the 9/21 earthquake struck Taiwan. The interruption of 3C production lines underscored the Taiwan's international importance.
Taiwan's democracy has problems that need improvement. But it has completed Western style democratic reforms. It has become a template that integrates Eastern Confucianism and Western liberal democracy. Hong Kong enjoys freedom without democracy. Singapore enjoys democracy without freedom. Mainland China has implemented its own system. Only Taiwan has both. Abandoning Taiwan means abandoning the only free and democratic Chinese society. Doing so would constitute a major setback for American values.
Taiwan's international participation is limited by political reality. But Taiwan's enthusiasm remains unbounded. Its people power is even more impressive. During the Fukushima earthquake, Taiwan's contributions were the world's largest. During the Nepal earthquake, Taiwan was the first responder. According to UN data, Taiwan ranks second in the world in material assistance. During famine and flood, Taiwan has spread traditional Chinese culture the world over.
Due to historical, educational, strategic, and diplomatic factors, Taiwan has a better understanding of the United States than the Mainland. Due to cultural, historic, linguistic, and geographical factors, Taiwan has a better understanding of the Mainland than the United States. Between the United States and the Mainland, Taiwan can play a positive role, by promoting mutual understanding. Through its own wisdom, it can build trust between the United States and the Mainland. Its role is irreplaceable. Taiwan understands Japan better than the Mainland. It also understands the Mainland better than Japan. Taiwan also has an irreplaceable role between the Mainland and Japan.
Taiwan's value and achievements have special historical factors. The US factor is particularly important. The ROC recently donated funds to the Eisenhower Memorial construction fund. One reason is that during the 50s and 60s Eisenhower provided concrete support to Taiwan during its darkest hour. During his eight years in office, he personally visited Taiwan, pushed through the "Sino-US Mutual Defense Treaty," the "Formosa Resolution", and provided $1 billion USD in aid ($8 billion in today's dollars) to defending Taiwan and helping to lay the foundation for Taiwan's economic development.
Sixty years ago, the US Congress passed the "Resolution on Taiwan", and began six decades of support for Taiwan. Hu Shi and Fu Shi-nian laid down the roots of liberalism in academia. The establishment of a liberal political economy enabled Taiwan to become a template for Mainland China's future modernization. The United States should not abandon Taiwan. Nor should it force Taiwan to become America's strategic pawn, and Mainland China's enemy. The United States should accept the rise of China. It should allow Taiwan to become a buffer in relations between Mainland China and the US, enabling the two to work together to maintain world order and prosperity.
美國政界及學術界對台灣的態度出現分歧，一些學者開始有「 棄台論」的主張，認為放棄台灣可減少與北京的摩擦， 甚至交換戰略利益。但也有美國學者認為， 美中之間的潛在衝突是多方面的，台灣只是其一， 何況只要處理得當，美中不致因為台灣而交惡。且「棄台」 看似解除了一個戰略隱患，其實對美國而言， 必將喪失更重要的戰略利基。因此， 他們主張美國要堅定支持台灣民主。
如正爭取民主黨提名競選總統的希拉蕊， 卻憂心台灣太過依賴中國大陸，似希望台灣「親美遠中」。美國「 親中派」與「恐中派」正在撕裂台灣。
或與之有同盟關係，或建立穩固的安全合作關係， 對中國大陸與蘇聯形成島鏈包圍圈， 這些國家在安全與經濟上長期依賴美國， 逐漸形成穩定的政治與社會關係網絡。
同時兩岸關係逐漸改善，台灣對大陸貿易依存度漸漸提高， 兩岸民間關係網絡也愈來與綿密，一些美國智庫學者及政治人物， 開始重新思索台美關係，因而有人主張「棄台」，也有人主張「 迫台」，要台灣重回美國懷抱。
但台美間的經貿也在成長。台灣的人口只有大陸的五十八分之一， 但台灣自美進口額是大陸的五分之一強，是美國第十大貿易夥伴， 超越了全球最大的石油輸出國沙烏地阿拉伯、人口是台灣55倍的印 度。何況大陸的銷美商品很多係台商在大陸製造。 這樣的經貿成就與實力，理應值得珍惜。
路由器等設備，台灣產量高居全球第一。2014年，25家台灣頂 尖的高科技公司總產值超過1200億美元， 是全球供應鏈最重要的一環。早在十餘年前，台灣發生921地震時 ，國際3C產品的生產線為之不安，即已說明台灣這方面的地位。
但終究在制度上已完成西式的民主改革， 成為融合東方儒家文化與西方自由民主的典範。 香港有自由而無民主，新加坡有民主而無自由， 大陸實行自己的制度，只有台灣兩者皆備。棄台說， 乃是拋棄唯一自由民主華人社會，對美國價值觀而言， 應當是項重大挫敗。
民間力量更令人感動。日本福島震災，台灣捐款為舉世最高； 尼泊爾震災，台灣在第一時間開赴災區，依照聯合國的數據， 台灣物資援助居世界第二。人飢己飢，人溺己溺， 台灣已把中華文化的傳統落實於國際關懷中。
而由於文化、歷史、語言、地緣等因素， 台灣比美國更了解中國大陸。美中之間， 台灣可發揮正面能量以促進雙方相互理解， 也可藉著自身的智慧強化美、中的互信。這樣的角色與地位， 無可取代。正如同台灣比大陸了解日本，也比日本了解大陸， 在中日之間同樣具有不可取代的地位。
中華民國捐助籌建美國艾森豪總統紀念堂，原因之一即是感謝艾帥在 50與60年代以實際行動力挺台灣度過最艱困的時刻。8年任內， 不但親訪台灣，且有《中美共同防禦條約》、《台灣決議案》， 同時各項援助達10億美元（約合今天的80億美元）， 保障了台灣的安全，也奠定台灣經濟發展的基礎。
一甲子過去，台灣從胡適、傅斯年在大學校園紮下自由主義根基， 到自由政治經濟體制的確立， 未來更有機會成為中國大陸現代化的借鏡。美國既不應「棄台」， 更不應該逼迫台灣成為美國的戰略棋子，與中國大陸為敵。 美國應該接受中國崛起，讓台灣成為中美關係的磨合墊， 中美攜手合作，共同維繫世界秩序與繁榮。