Taiwan’s Problem: International Powerlessness and Domestic Incompetence

Right before Joe Biden and Xi Jinping held a meeting, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she would visit Taiwan, inserting herself in the middle of relations between the U.S., China and Taiwan. Not only was there a great deal of commentary about this in the Taiwanese media, but many other countries engaged in much discussion and speculation as well. There is no lack of utterly opposing viewpoints, which shows how complicated and difficult the Taiwan issue is. Even as everyday observers have voiced completely different opinions, the only opinion missing in this clamor is the official one from the Taiwanese government, which is incredible.

Although Pelosi is 81 years old, as the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and second in the line of successors to the presidency, she holds a very distinguished position. She is watched closely by many and speaks rationally. However, while her long-standing support of Taiwan and desire to visit is very heartening for the Taiwanese government and people, the timing of this trip is too sensitive. In the eyes of many countries, Taiwan is already in a precarious and beleaguered position under the shadow of the war in Ukraine. Furthermore, inflation and energy crises are inevitably coming. In this situation, Pelosi’s well-meant trip has done nothing to help improve Taiwan’s position, but rather has added fuel to the fire. China now has the excuse of provocation, which increases the risk in the Taiwan Strait.

In order to avoid accidentally sparking confrontation between the U.S. and China and across the strait, Taiwan’s government, as the rulers who bear responsibility, should actively clarify their position on Pelosi’s visit. Whether they welcome it or reject it, they need to communicate their stance clearly so that everyone in the country — military and civilian alike — will understand the situation. If the situation becomes serious, regardless of whether it comes to fighting or remains peaceful, everyone should be able to be prepared. Unfortunately, the government has remained silent and evasive. This has left the Taiwanese people in the dark and unclear how to deal with what may come.

Taiwan is not the territory of the People’s Republic of China. Article 4 of the constitution of the Republic of China clearly states: “The territory of the Republic of China according to its existing national boundaries shall not be altered except by resolution of the National Assembly.” Therefore, the Taiwanese government dares to tell mainland China that its country does not belong to China. At the same time, Taiwan has never been a U.S. territory. As an American, Pelosi did not consult with Taiwan or gain approval before her trip, but instead insisted she would visit. Does she regard herself as an overlord? Why didn’t the Taiwanese government dare to tell her not to come, especially since the visit might pose a risk? Does the government look forward to it or fear the repercussions? This exemplifies the government’s powerlessness in foreign affairs. It is unable to protect Taiwan’s sovereignty and security.

Taiwan has been through a glorious period of rapid advancement. Led by former President Chiang Ching-kuo’s Ten Major Construction Projects, this economic miracle was created by the concerted effort of the Taiwanese people. Everyone shared the economic benefits of Taiwan becoming the leader among Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea — collectively known as the Four Asian Tigers. However, since fighting between political parties, ethnic confrontations and social division began, Taiwan’s economic development and social stability has deteriorated. The gains touted by the government actually mean that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. With power shortages, blocked agricultural and fishing exports, increasing prices for goods and the spread of the pandemic, countless ordinary people have felt unprecedented pain. The government, however, only uses empty words and dreamy slogans to cover the truth and deceive people. This exemplifies the government’s domestic incompetence. It is unable to help regular people live well and happily.

The main purpose of the government is to be responsible for the electorate and create a prosperous and beautiful life for people all over the country. If it can do this, it will receive the affirmation and support of the people, regardless of whether the Kuomintang or Democratic Progressive Party is in power. Otherwise, no matter how good the slogans sound or how strong the ideological manipulation, those in power will eventually pay a bitter price if the people suffer. After all, governance must be rooted in the people’s interest. Any administration that deviates from this and is powerless in foreign matters as well as domestic affairs will eventually be unable to maintain control.

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