Taiwan is an island nation of 22,113,250 people located about 100 miles off the SE coast of communist China. Its multi-party democracy is headed by a popularly elected president. Some 93 percent of its people are Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist. Only 4.5 percent are Christian.
Throughout its long history, Taiwan has been a political football. From the time of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), it was part of the Chinese Empire. Around 1600 Portugal established a trading station on Taiwan, renaming the island Ilha Formosa. Some 20 years later, the Dutch took over the island, building Fort Zeelandia near present-day Tainan. They controlled the island until a Chinese pirate named Koxinga drove them out. Until 1683, remnants of the Ming Dynasty controlled the island. After that the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) took over Taiwan.
Following China’s defeat in the Sino-Japanese war (1894-1895), the island became a Japanese colony. It remained one until the United States and her allies defeated Japan in 1945.
While all this was going on, China had been going through decades of internal turmoil. Following the anti-foreign Boxer Rebellion (1900), the Qing dynasty fell and a coalition of political forces led by revolutionary Sun Yat-sen attempted to rule the country. China’s first stab at creating a republican government under President Yuan Shikai and others soon degenerated into factionalism, and warlords took over the provinces.
In 1922, Sun Yat-sen’s Nationalist party joined forces with Mao Zedong’s newly formed (1921) Communist party. Together, they attempted to form a second republican revolution. It didn’t work well. In 1925, Sun Yat-sen died and Chiang Kai-shek came to power. Chiang consolidated his own forces and attempted to conquer the northern warlords and unify China. He was successful. However, Chiang turned on his ally, Mao Zedong and a Chinese Civil War was born. Chiang began a series of anti-Communist extermination campaigns. The Chinese Communist Party was almost completely wiped out. Remnants of the party broke out and began what came to be known as the Long March – a 6,000 mile journey to a secure base in Yan’an, Shanxi Province. Under the leadership of Mao, Zhou Enlai, and Zhu De, the CCP made a comeback. In December of 1936, Chiang was kidnapped at gunpoint and forced to sign an agreement to form a united front with the communist party against Japan.
Meanwhile, the Japanese continued to penetrate deeper into China. The two rival Chinese parties united to resist the invaders. At the end of the WW II, the US arranged for the nationalists under Chiang to receive most of Japan’s surrenders in China, giving them the commanding position. US General George Marshall attempted to mediate a coalition government between the Nationalists and the Communists. His efforts failed and the civil war was rekindled.
The communists under Mao made significant advances during this period, winning a number of major battles against the nationalists. By 1947, the US had pulled out of China, leaving the field to the combatants. In 1949, the nationalists under Chiang had retreated to Taiwan, and on October 1 of that year Mao Zedong declared The People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Chiang formed The Republic of China (ROC), and established a temporary capital at Taipei. Chiang claimed sovereignty over all of China and retained the nation’s UN seat. The United States recognized his government, rather than Mao’s, as the official government of China.
Meanwhile, the Soviet Union and its puppets, along with Great Britain, recognized the government of Mao Zedong.
In addition to Taiwan, the nationalists under Chiang occupied some smaller islands including Quemoy and Matsu, and the P’eng islands in the Taiwan Straits.
The US agreed to defend Taiwan against communist attacks, and did what it could to keep the two rival governments apart. Chiang Kai-shek, who had been president of the Republic of China since 1928, died in 1975. His son Chiang Ching-kuo succeeded him.
In 1971, the United Nations took away Nationalist China’s seat and awarded it to the Beijing government. This left Nationalist China – Taiwan – in diplomatic limbo.
In 1979, the US under the presidency of Jimmy Carter followed the UN’s lead and withdrew its recognition of the Taipei government as the official government of China. That same year, the US opened diplomatic relations with the communist government under Mao Zedong. It continued to have “nongovernmental” relations with Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.
Mainland China has persisted in demanding Taiwan’s “reunification” with Beijing. To date, Taipei has rebuffed all such efforts. Over time, Beijing has grown increasingly bellicose in its threats toward Taiwan. In 1996, the Beijing government held aggressive military exercises off the coast of the island in an attempt to intimidate the citizens of Taiwan into electing someone who would swing its way. In response, the US sent two aircraft carriers to the area. President Lee, who had campaigned for continued Taiwanese independence, was overwhelmingly reelected.
Today, Taiwan has recently elected another new president – Chen Shui-bian. He too campaigned on a platform of Taiwanese independence from communist China. Beijing has characterized his position as “dangerous.” Mainland China continues to posture menacingly in the direction of Taiwan. An array of missiles is positioned to blast Taiwan if Beijing gives the signal. The communist government has also threatened to nuke Los Angeles if the US interferes in its attempts to take over the tiny island, which prefers freedom, independence and democracy to communist tyranny. At present, Taiwan’s economy is one of the world’s most vigorous. The nation enjoys a favorable balance of trade with the United States. It has foreign exchange holdings in excess of $75 billion (1999 est.).
At some point, the United States will be tested in its loyalty to Taiwan. China will continue to probe for weakness and uncertainty on our part. It is willing to risk much for the sake of the small island that it covets. If and when China’s leaders decide that their nation is strong enough to take on the US Pacific fleet, or if it comes to believe that the US will not use its power to defend Taiwan, it will strike. Beijing believes, it seems correctly, that the American people would not support a sustained war with China over Taiwan. The communist regime proved in Korea that it has no concern for human lives – those of it’s own people or anyone else’s. It is willing to throw into any battle wave after wave of soldiers, trained or otherwise, with cavalier abandon. The US will have to count the cost of defending a small but proud democratic ally in the China Sea.
If the latest utterance on Taiwan from Attorney General Janet Reno is any indication, the US may be preparing the world for another act of treachery. To quote The Washington Times (May 26-June 4, 2000), “The Clinton administration, in a departure from longtime U.S. policy, has placed Taiwan on the FBI’s secret list of hostile intelligence threats, equating Taipei with aggressive spying by Beijing and Moscow.
“China, Russia and Taiwan are among 13 nations designated as priorities for FBI intelligence and counterespionage activities, according to a classified memorandum from Attorney General Janet Reno.”
If the US is preparing to abandon Taiwan to her grisly fate, this could be the first step in a process of demonization that will have the effect of justifying that decision with the American people.
Both current and former US intelligence officials see the move as a political one, rather than a legitimate one based on actual threat. Asks Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, “What threat?”
“It’s very strange to me that Taiwan would be on this list, especially since other countries that spy on us are not.” Israel, India, Pakistan and France have all conducted spying operations against the US. (If at some point the US decides to abandon Israel to the Arabs, you can be sure it too will be added to the list.)
This Administration has been distinguished by its willingness to appease and cater to Red China’s communist regime. As the development of the New World global order continues apace, it is only a matter of time before the Red Dragon devours Taiwan and other islands in the area, including those in the Formosa Strait, and the Spratlys in the South China Sea. Ultimately, it will seek to drive the US from the region, and consolidate its power as the dominant force in Southeast Asia. Taiwan is merely a stepping stone in Red China’s future hegemony. Look for a mounting campaign on the part of the US government that will appear to justify the abandonment of Taiwan to the jaws of the dragon.