Sino-U.S.-Taiwan Relationship Rises and Falls

[United Daily News / Chen Xin Zhi / Associate Professor National Cheng Kung University department of political science (Tainan, Taiwan)]

2009.04.12 05:26 am

Thirty Years ago, in an unfavorable U.S.-China-Taiwan triangle situation, the Taiwan Relations Act was introduced. This, in turn, ensured Taiwan’s security, political and economic interests. Following the recent China-U.S. trend of structural change in the coordination mechanism, influence on policies toward China and Taiwan will be an urgent matter for the future defense of Taiwan’s interests.

First, the change in relative power between the two strong powers, the U.S. and China, has caused the effectiveness of maintaining Taiwan’s interests through dependency on the U.S. to be weakened. Thirty years ago, the U.S. was the superior power. Taiwan has influenced America’s decision-making to compensate for the insufficient capabilities of Taiwan in the confrontation with mainland China. It could even be said that it is a diplomatic miracle in an unfavorable situation.

However, the U.S.-China power status has already undergone structural change. American goodwill toward Taiwan could possibly fail. Even if the U.S. starts to have favorable unilateral action with Taiwan, its result may fall short.

Second, China and the U.S. manage international crises together through the coordination mechanism, which has limited Taiwan to select the internationalization method, also reducing the possibility of maintaining its national interest.

Under the large country power coordinated mechanism, the international system has become the negotiation place, which works to compromise the conflicting interests among great powers. Therefore, the operational standard of International organizations is a representation of the coordinated consensus of great powers. It is not the forum for other countries to voice opinions or compete for their international status. It has become even more impossible to become the tool of creating international status for these smaller countries.

Third, Taiwan is located at the periphery between the U.S. and China’s influence zone. In the future, Taiwan will definitely become the topic that the U.S. and China use to define their respective influence zone and interests. In the discussion process, apart from strengthening leading power on these subjects, consolidating former U.S. policy-making influence, understanding China’s underlining intentions, and developing the influence on China’s highest decision-making, it is one quite pragmatic and feasible direction.

Finally, at present China’s political system matches the large country coordination mechanism. Both have very strong elite decision-making characteristics. Furthermore, one cannot neglect individual factors regarding the decision-making process and their role. In connection with the crucial limited policy-maker, (by Taiwan) creating influence on China’s decision-making, this would reduce the possibility of the U.S. abandoning Taiwan, increase the transparency of the China-U.S. talks regarding the Taiwan issue, and would be even more helpful to safeguard Taiwan’s overall political and economic interests under the U.S.-China coordination mechanism.

Along with the change in global power structures, as well as the Sino-U.S. coordination mechanism’s formation, the developed achievement of safeguarding Taiwan’s survival also faces the serious challenge of systematic reform. When the U.S. and China handle international conflict with their specific mentality, constructing the policy for Taiwan’s future has already become the highest authorities’ most urgent topic.

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