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Crisis in Ukraine could be a harbinger of Taiwan's future

The crisis in Ukraine, just like those in Egypt or Syria, does not seem to have much bearing on Taiwan. But Russia's military intervention and Crimea's planned self-determination vote have set us to wonder about implications for Taiwan.

Some local commentators have already noted that Taiwan and Ukraine share some similarities in relation to the big powers: Ukraine is torn between the European Union and Russia, and Taiwan between the United States and China.

Russia's latest intervention shows its keenness to reassert control on what used to be a part of the Soviet Union — or at least to regain a major part of it in the shape of Crimea, the majority of the population being Russian.

Nationalism is definitely not the only reason behind Russia's ambition, but that nationalistic side of the crisis reminds us of our own difficult situation here in Taiwan.

China has always maintained its sovereignty over Taiwan, claims that are endorsed and recognized by most of the world, including the United States and the United Nations. China has vowed to resort to force to reclaim the island should Taiwan declare formal independence.

But Washington has always been playing a game of ambiguity toward Taiwan. The United States has been the major supplier of weapons for Taiwan to defend itself against China, but it has never made any explicit pledges that it will come to the rescue should cross-strait war ever break out.

Inside Taiwan, it has always been a guessing game as far as U.S. support is concerned: Pro-independence fundamentalists usually choose to believe that Washington will never give up one of its most important strategic allies along the Pacific Rim as a casualty of China's military expansion.

The strong concern that the United States has voiced over China's increased military spending demonstrates Washington's strategic priorities in the region. Adm. Samuel Locklear, a U.S. Pacific commander, has noted that Washington is most concerned by China's introduction of military capabilities apparently aimed at thwarting the U.S. ability to protect its allies in the Pacific region.

March 8, 2014    ludahai_twn@
The United States has NEVER endorsed the notion that Taiwan is a part of the territory of China.
March 8, 2014    phead128@
Taiwan = Crimea

Annexed and nothing will be done about it.
March 11, 2014    cloggedwithguts@
ludahai_twn@ wrote:
The United States has NEVER endorsed the notion that Taiwan is a part of the territory of China.
That's very patriotic of you, dear ludahai...
March 11, 2014    loverosamundkwan@
I'm not sure if the US has NEVER endorsed the notion that Taiwan is a part of China. However, the US does reiterate (over hundreds of times) that there is only ONE China. All countries know (and admit) that ONE China means PRC instead of ROC. Also, everybody knows that PRC will NEVER EVER let Taiwan hold a referendum and be independent from PRC. Taiwan can maintain its status quo now (as a political entity, a country, or whatever you call it) because PRC lets us do so. Now PRC has tons of problems itself. However, it will absolutely deal with Taiwan's status sooner or later. Frankly speaking, I prefer Taiwan's independence to reunification with PRC. When the day comes, I really doubt that the US will be willing to help Taiwan get away with PRC, as I doubt that the US is willing to start a war with Russia simply due to Crimea. The US has tons of problems itself too.
March 12, 2014    dess.pearson@
While there are similarities between Taiwan and Ukraine, there are also marked differences. Ukraine was part of the former Soviet Union and it had obtained independence after the collapse of communism, so it is and was a fully independent country. Included in Ukraine was Crimea. Ukraine, with Crimea is no different to Latvia or Estonia which were also part of the FSU and are now fully fledged members of the EU. Taiwan, which is the Republic of China, is in effect still an alternative to the People's Republic of China given that no third country can have a 2-China policy; that is a country can have diplomatic relations with either China (Beijing) or China (Taipei). In this regard it is very different to Ukraine.
March 13, 2014    ludahai_twn@
@loverosamundkwan

Read "U.S.-Taiwan Relationship:
Overview of Policy Issues" from the Congressional Research Service. The most recent version of it being prepared last month.
March 13, 2014    carltanong@
ludahai_twn@ wrote:
The United States has NEVER endorsed the notion that Taiwan is a part of the territory of China.
There is no need for any nation "never or not or DO" to endorse the notion that Taiwan is a part of the territory of China.

COMMON SENSE....
_Republic of China is CHINA.
_P.R.O.CHINA is China.

U as illegitimate son of the Japanese LIE again.
March 15, 2014    ludahai_twn@
Once again, carltanong has to rely on personal attacks because logic and history escape him.

There is no treaty by which sovereignty is transferred from Japan to China. Taiwan was rendered terra derelicta, which thereby grants the Taiwanese people the right to self-determination. This is even completely consistent with an argument China made before the ICJ in 2009!
March 19, 2014    liovka@
Taiwan, like Ireland, is an island with a lot of mountains, and will not stand to be occupied by anyone.

Continental countries just don't get it: for island countries like Taiwan, the best way to establish good relations is let the island go its own way. Islands NEED to make friends. They just aren't into shotgun weddings regardless of who you are: Holland, Japan, the U.S., China, etc.
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