一場「三角」棋局──外交空間與軍事安全的難題

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1998 / 10月

文‧林奇伯 圖‧邱瑞金



後冷戰時期來臨後,中共積極與俄羅斯、印度、美國等國家建立「戰略夥伴關係」,在兩次的柯江會談中並對美國施加壓力。今年六月間柯林頓訪問中共時,終於首度公開申明美國對台「三不」政策;另一方面,雖然美國在「三不」上讓步,但面對中共「停止軍售台灣」的要求時,柯林頓卻重申會依據「台灣關係法」繼續提供台灣防禦性武器。

今日我國外交空間的拓展及軍事安全的鞏固,是否真的無法兼顧?在兩岸與美國的「三角」棋局中,國際局勢正考驗著我們的智慧。

美國對台海問題的態度一直是兩岸互動的關鍵因素之一,台海問題也一直是「中」美關係中最重要的、最敏感的核心。

長久以來,美國處理台海問題的原則,主要是依據「台灣關係法」以及中共和美國簽訂的「三個聯合公報」。然而隨著國際局勢的演變,近來中共與美國間的交往也有了重要的突破──雙方高層互訪,建立「建設性戰略夥伴關係」。這樣的突破對我國外交空間與軍事安全的影響無疑是至深且鉅的。

「三角關係」

美蘇冷戰結束之後,中共意識到全球的政治、軍事結構有了巨大的轉變:二元化的對峙局面為區域性的局部衝突所取代,「中等國家」或區域強權將得以在此種情勢中擴大國際政治影響力,於是中共全力強化軍事力量及推動國際政治多元化,藉以形成有利其發展的國際環境。

然而對中共而言,在面對與台灣及美國的關係時,台海問題一直是懸而待決的,而且必須思索:究竟是否要解決台海問題,才能改善與美國的關係?

中央研究院歐美研究所所長林正義指出,中共就是意識到:台灣的外交與軍事支持大多來自美國,「只有先跨越台海問題才能解決台海問題」,於是積極與美國改善關係,與美國建立「建設性的戰略夥伴關係」,希望透過美國來侷限台灣的國際空間與軍力整備。

從一九九七年年底起,八個月內舉辦兩次的中(共)美高峰會中,台海問題的「前提性」降低,成為只是雙方眾多協商議題中的一項,中共此番做法的明顯用意,乃在製造一有利於解決台海問題的環境。

而事實上,從九七年怳諟鴗E八年六月這段時間內,中(共)美間關係的巨大變化,確實也對我國產生極為不利的影響:柯林頓公開申明對台「三不」立場,使我國國際空間大受侷限,同時中共又對美國不斷施壓,希望美國停止軍售台灣。

但未如中共所願的是,今年六月的柯江會中,雖然美國在有關台灣外交空間的議題上,對中共做出了讓步,公開表示「三不支持」;但在柯江會談前夕與會後,美國卻都有軍售台灣的宣佈。

「從這些現象可看出,在與中共的交往中,美國一方面表示不支持台灣積極拓展外交空間,但又對台灣做出軍事安全的保證。」國策研究院專任副研究員歐錫富表示。

亞洲局勢,辯證走勢

美國與中共間的交往與對台海問題的「交易」,是否顯示了美國欲扮演操縱台海問題的角色?無疑地使我國在拓展外交空間上遭遇困難。東吳大學政治系教授劉必榮指出,美國既限制我國外交空間,但又不斷軍售我國武器,主要與美國的的亞太安全策略有關。

他認為,目前整個的亞洲局勢是「辯證的走向」,中(共)美間的關係是上世紀以來國際社會「陸權」與「海權」對抗的延續,美蘇冷戰的結束並不影響陸、海權間對抗的態勢,只是與海權強國美國對抗的陸權國家,由蘇聯轉變成中共。在這場陸、海權的對抗中,美國不可能讓台灣獨立,或加入以國家資格為限的國際組織而有了獨立之實,另一方面美國也不可能將台灣拱手讓給中共,而失去自己在亞太地區海上戰略的優勢,於是繼續軍售台灣,並且重新修訂美日「防衛合作指南」,將「盡一切包括外交手段在內的努力,來防止日本周邊有事」。

根據劉必榮的分析,美日防衛合作指南可以看成是海權國家(美國)對陸權國家(中共)的「軟封鎖」,而比較值得注意的是,中共在江澤民積極與美國修好的政策下,對這樣的軟封鎖反應並沒有預期的激烈,而且還進一步與美國積極來往。

「三不」與「軍售」

在美國如此的佈局下,我國所面臨的軍事與外交大環境將會有何變化?

就軍事層面來看,淡江大學國際事務與戰略研究所所長翁明賢判斷,美國將繼續軍售台灣。「因為美國在柯江會中依中共要求發佈『三不』的聲明,一方面又緊扣『軍售』立場不放,美國可能是想以『停止軍售』換取中共不以武力犯台的保證,但很明顯地中共不會接受這樣的提議,於是我國從美方得到軍售的機會相對地提高。」

但中研院歐美所所長林正義卻有不同看法。他表示,美國在亞洲與日本、南韓、澳洲、泰國有軍事上的同盟關係,與菲律賓有軍隊到訪的協議,與新加坡有基地使用的協定,與馬來西亞有航空母艦靠港的協定,與印尼有軍事演習的合作關係,可見美國在亞太地區仍有相當的軍事防禦能力。

「當美國面對中共的強大壓力時,軍售我國的政策也有改變的可能,」林正義認為,在我國現有武器裝備的整合與提昇上,美國或將提供幫助,但在重要高科技武器方面,供給卻會更加減少,況且美國內部近來要求停止軍售我國的「雜音」甚囂塵上,美國前助理國防部長傅立民的言論是最明顯的例子。

今年七月傅立民於「外交事務」雙月刊上為文表示,台灣的民主發展不利於台海局勢的穩定,台北對北京主權要求的抵抗,助長了台獨;減少對台軍售將可使台灣較不堅持主權問題,而在兩岸對談前夕,也應助長中共的氣勢,以便有助於中國的統一。

針對傅立民的不友善言論,我國政府發言人、新聞局長程建人於最新一期的「外交事務」上為文回應:傅立民提出「台北對北京主權要求的抵抗助長台獨」的觀點是錯誤的,事實上台灣對北京主權要求的排斥,乃是因台灣堅定主張中國應和平統一在民主、自由、繁榮的體制下,台灣為一民主社會,民主的社會是尊重而非壓制民意,但北京的威權體制最怕的是失去控制人民的力量,北京「一國兩制」的主張無法保證在台灣的政治責任,所以對台灣人民而言,一國兩制是不被接受的。

而有關減少軍售台灣的問題,台灣的立場是,除非中共放棄武力犯台,否則一個軍事脆弱的台灣,對中共冒險主義而言,是更具誘惑性的目標。另外,美國在兩岸對話前替中共助長聲勢,將使中共更不願意接受台灣為平等的一方,如此更是兩岸合作的阻礙。

外交仍有空間

從傅立民的言論中不難發現,中共向美國推銷的「限制軍售」、「和平談判」、「一國兩制」的對台統戰三部曲,已獲得部份的成效。

在美國保證軍售台灣的前提下,台灣尚需擔心軍售可能停止,在頻頻被打壓的國際空間上又如何呢?

除了美國在亞太地區有其戰略的考量之外,林正義表示,「美國與亞太地區國家並不關心台灣外交空間的改善,反而將台海問題視為此地區不穩定的因子之一,加上中共不放棄對台用武,並且一再宣示反對一中一台或兩個中國的立場,亞太地區國家為持續此地區的政治安定與經濟繁榮,並不樂於見到我國積極擴展外交空間,而造成台海的不安。」

劉必榮指出,在美國與中共於亞洲的辯證關係中,美「中」的對抗似乎代表了我國尚有外交空間存在,但在美「中」的結盟關係中,我國似乎又喪失了存在於國際社會的位置,「我國在外交上所面臨的國際局勢是非常矛盾的。」劉必榮強調,我國目前在外交上必須做的,是扣緊整個國際局勢的脈動,不要讓國際社會以為我們是「麻煩製造者」,有彈性、有原則,積極推動加入非政府及經濟、金融國際組織,並隨時向中共表達和談的善意。

和談與矛盾

台灣所面臨外交空間與軍事安全的困境,是來自於中共與美國既對抗又交往的關係。但若單純從兩岸來看,雙方關係也同樣矛盾:一方面政治上雖然有對話,雙方基本立場卻不曾改變,而軍事也一直是對立的;另一方面,不論兩岸的局勢多緊張,民間經濟、社會互動依然沒有減少。

然而在民間經濟與社會互動頻繁,但又沒有政治力做保護的情形下,兩岸的交流近年來顯得狀況頻仍,尤其在一九九五年六月中共片面中止協商管道之後,台商在大陸遇害的消息頻頻傳出,今年七月民進黨籍高雄市議員林滴娟在大陸遇害,我方竟然無法以正常管道協助家屬處理相關事宜。

陸委會副主委林中斌表示,其實我方在兩岸的談判上一直都抱持著想談的誠懇立場,從一九九五年中共片面中止協商管道起,我方一共發表過一百多次公開呼籲,去函北京多次,表達我方願意協商的意思。但中共一直置之不理,去年九月起,中共多次堅持在「一個中國」的前提下談判,但我方無法接受;直至今年二月,中共才又來函,在未提及「一個中國」的情況下,表示願意重開協商管道。

但在兩岸即將恢復協商之際,林滴娟案與頻傳的台商遇害消息,使中共面臨台灣民意的壓力,是否會影響未來兩岸協商的進行?

林中斌表示,中共重開這一扇協商大門,乃有其重要的利益考量。對內,在台海問題的處理上,江澤民希望有成績表現以進一步鞏權,而兩岸的和談也能使大陸境內西藏、新疆等地區的獨立運動受挫;另外,中共在積極擴展外交關係、消毒「中國威脅論」的同時,進行兩岸協商,無疑是向國際社會宣示,中共是愛好和平的。

重要的是「談」的動作

辜汪會晤將於怳諵丹祕b上海進行,雖然協商大門重新打開,但有幾個問題仍是各方注目的焦點:中共對台灣內部意見演變的觀望,與兩岸在協商議題上認知的差距。

台灣為一民主化國家,存在各種意見與不同的政黨,尤其年底選舉將至,國會內各黨席次的變化將影響台灣未來的政治局勢,而最讓中共忌諱的是,中共認為主張台獨的民進黨的發展,可能將影響未來的兩岸和談。

民進黨中國事務部主任顏萬進表示,雖然民進黨內部派系在統獨立場上意見頗多分歧,但近年來,由於受到獨派另外成立建國黨,將民進黨「擠」到統獨立場光譜的中間;中共飛彈試射危機,使其體認到中共犯台的真實性與可能性;美國與中共修好等等因素的影響,黨內各派系對大陸政策的態度漸趨一致。今年初的「中國政策研討會」中,各派系已達成共識,期待由兩岸和談中「重要的變數」逐漸轉變為參與者與主導者,民進黨不再避諱與中共接觸,對兩岸和談也是樂見其成;在對中共政策與國家主權觀點上,亦漸與執政黨一致,也就是「中華民國本來就是主權獨立的國家」。

雖然兩岸在談判的議題上看法不同,中共欲談「政治性」議題,我方則認為應以「事務性」議題為優先。但林中斌表示,現階段的重點在於「談」的動作,而非馬上談出一個結果。其實國際上對我方的施壓目的,也是希望兩岸有和談展開,使兩岸關係不再是亞太地區不穩定的因子;是否能馬上談出什麼具體的結果,則非關注的焦點。

今天我國面臨的外交空間與軍事安全困境,乃根源於兩岸間的衝突,和平解決台海問題才是解決這些問題的根本方法。雖然目前兩岸的談判也面臨了一些困境,但對於未來兩岸的談判,陸委會副主委林中斌並不悲觀;他認為,當兩岸長遠利益皆能契合,對談判議題的看法漸有交集時,台海問題便能逐漸平緩。

p.22

今年六月間,美國總統柯林頓訪問中國大陸,發表對我國外交不利的「三不」聲明。(法新社)

p.23

柯林頓發佈「三不」聲明的消息傳來,引起台灣民眾的抗議。(施宗暉攝)

p.25

美國近年對我之重要軍售

軍售內容

1994.8

AN/ALQ-184電戰莢艙80枚、含備料及支援作業──供F-16A/B使用

1996.5

刺針式低層防空飛彈465枚、雙聯裝刺針式飛彈發射塔55座、訓練(飛)彈55枚──供海軍陸戰隊野戰防空用

1996.6

M60A3戰車300輛

1996.8

刺針式低層防空飛彈1299枚、美規車載式發射塔74座、焊馬發射車96輛,訓練(飛)彈74枚──供陸軍野戰防空用

1997.2

魚叉式反艦飛彈54枚──供諾克斯級飛彈巡防艦使用

1998.1

諾克斯級飛彈巡防艦3艘,方陣快砲15門、AN/SWG-1A發射塔1座──後二者供海軍主戰軍艦使用

1998.6

LANTIRN系統先進導航及瞄準莢艙28套──供F-16使用

1998.8

DMS刺針飛彈系統61具、MK46MOD5(A)S型魚雷131枚、魚叉飛彈58枚

資料來源:http://www.fas.org/asmp/ profiles/ taiwan_armstable.htm

(1996/9/24)中國時報、民眾日報

圖表繪製:李淑玲

p.26

陸委會副主委林中斌表示,台商在大陸人身安全、財產獲得有效保障之前,「戒急用忍」有其必要性。

加入非政府及經濟、金融國際組織,是我國未來在有限的外交空間中值得努力的方向。圖右三為海基會董事長辜振甫,代表我國參加九六年亞太經濟合作會議。(柯承惠攝)

p.27

今年七月間,大陸海協會副秘書長李亞飛訪台,兩岸重開協商大門。左起分別為海基會副秘書長張良任、詹志宏、大陸海協會副秘書長李亞飛。(本刊資料)

p.29

台商赴大陸投資的腳步沒有停過,兩岸建立一個有效的溝通管道有其迫切性。

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Strait Talking: Taipei and Beijing Reopen the Discussion Channel

Eric Lin /photos courtesy of Diago Chiu /tr. by Phil Newell


With the coming of the post-Cold-War era, the PRC has been actively building "strategic partnerships" with Russia, India, and the US. It has also exerted considerable diplomatic pressure on the US during the two summit meetings between Jiang Zemin and Bill Clinton. When Clinton visited the PRC this June, for the first time he publicly enunciated the US "three noes" policy toward Taiwan: no support for Taiwan independence, no support for "one China and one Taiwan" or "two Chinas," and no support for Taiwan entry into international organizations based on statehood. This has further restricted the ROC's diplomatic room for maneuver. On the other hand, although the US made concessions to the PRC on the question of the three noes, when faced with the PRC's demand that the US halt arms sales to Taiwan, Clinton reaffirmed that the US would continue to sell defensive weapons to Taiwan on the basis of America's Taiwan Relations Act.

Is it impossible for Taiwan to make progress in both expanding its diplomatic space and in consolidating military security? How Taiwan maneuvers within the ROC-PRC-US triangle will be a test of our country's wisdom.

The US attitude toward the Taiwan Strait issue has always been one of the key factors in relations between Taiwan and mainland China. The Taiwan issue has always been the most important and most sensitive issue in relations between the US and PRC.

For a long time now, US policy toward Taiwan has been based on the Taiwan Relations Act and on the three joint communiqu廥 signed between the PRC and US. However, given the evolution of the international situation, relations between the PRC and US have recently achieved an important innovation: The two sides have held high-level meetings, and are building a "constructive strategic partnership." This new situation will undoubtedly have profound repercussions for Taiwan's diplomatic space and military security.

A triangular relationship

With the end of the US-Soviet Cold War, the PRC has recognized that an enormous transformation has occurred in the global political and military structure. Bipolar confrontation has been replaced by regional or functional conflicts. Under these circumstances, middle-sized powers or regional powers can expand their international political influence. The PRC has been striving to strengthen its military and to promote international political pluralization, attempting to create an international political environment suited to its interests.

For the PRC the Taiwan problem has always been hanging unresolved, suspended in the context of the triangular ROC-PRC-US relationship. Beijing has always had to consider how its efforts to resolve the Taiwan issue will affect its relations with Washington.

Lin Cheng-yi, director of the Institute of European and American Studies of the Academia Sinica, says that the PRC realizes that, since most of Taiwan's diplomatic and military support comes from United States, "The only way to resolve the Taiwan Strait problem is to transcend the Taiwan Strait problem." Thus the PRC has been actively trying to improve relations with the US and to build a "constructive strategic partnership" with the States. It hopes to induce Washington to help limit Taipei's international space and military preparedness.

In the short period of eight months that divided the two US-PRC presidential summits of October 1997 and June 1998, the priority of the Taiwan problem was lowered. It became merely one item of discussion among many between the two powers. The intention of the PRC in doing this is clear: It wants to create an environment conducive to a resolution of the Taiwan problem on its terms.

Indeed, as the PRC hoped, the evolution of US-PRC relations was very much contrary to the interests of Taiwan in this period, as exhibited by Clinton's public acknowledgment of the three noes. At the same time, however, though the PRC continued to pressure the US to halt arms sales to Taiwan, both before and after the June summit the US announced sales of weapons to Taiwan.

Ou Si-fu, an associate researcher at the Institute for National Policy Research in Taiwan, states: "You can see that in its relations with the PRC, though the US states that it does not support Taiwan's active expansion of diplomatic space, it continues to provide military security guarantees to Taiwan."

The great dialectic

Does the US intend to improve its relations with the PRC by "trading off" Taiwan's? This would undoubtedly make it more difficult for Taiwan to expand its diplomatic space. Yet the US continues to supply arms to Taiwan. Why? Liu Pi-jung, a professor of political science at Soochow University, points out that this contradictory US policy is based on America's broader Asia-Pacific security strategy.

Liu argues that the Asian situation is a continuation of a long-term "dialectic." The PRC-US relationship continues the conflict between a "continental power" and a "maritime power" which has persisted since the last century. This most recently took the form of the US-Soviet confrontation, but now, though the US remains in the role of maritime power, communist China has replaced the USSR as its continental rival. In this rivalry, though the United States is not in a position to encourage formal independence by Taiwan, or even its de facto independence as achieved by entry into international organizations based on statehood, the US also cannot allow Taiwan to be delivered into PRC hands and thus sacrifice America's maritime strategic advantage in the Asia-Pacific region. This is why the US still sells weapons to Taiwan.

It is also why the US-Japanese defense cooperation guidelines were recently revised to suggest that any means necessary would be used to prevent crises in the area surrounding Japan (an area which, while not explicitly including the ROC, is widely interpreted to extend to Taiwan). According to Liu, the new US-Japanese guidelines can be seen as an example of "soft containment" by a maritime power against a continental power. It is very worthy of note, in this regard, that the PRC-which has, under Jiang Zemin, repaired relations with the US-responded much less angrily than was expected to the revised guidelines. Indeed the PRC has continued to move forward actively in relations with the US.

Military sales

Given these US policies, what changes can we expect in the military and diplomatic environment faced by Taiwan?

Let's look first at the military angle. Wong Ming-hsien, director of the Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang University, argues that the US will continue to sell arms to Taiwan. "The US has resisted making any unilateral promise to halt arms sales to Taiwan, because it hopes to trade such a promise against a PRC promise not to use force against Taiwan. But it is clear that communist China will not accept this proposal. Thus the possibility of Taiwan being able to purchase weapons from the US is correspondingly higher."

However Lin Cheng-yi has a different point of view. He says that the US has many military resources in Asia other than Taiwan: It has formal defense treaties with Japan, South Korea, Australia, and Thailand. US ships have visiting rights in the Philippines. There is a base agreement with Singapore, as well as an agreement with Malaysia that US aircraft carriers can put into port there. Finally, the US and Indonesia have an agreement to cooperate in military exercises.

"As the United States faces growing pressure from the PRC, there's the possibility that its policy of selling arms to Taiwan will change," says Lin. As the ROC integrates and upgrades its existing weaponry, perhaps the US will continue to help. But it is unlikely to maintain the flow of advanced major weapons systems.

What's more, there has recently been "background noise" in the States calling for a halt in arms sales to the ROC. The most obvious example is a recent article by former Assistant Secretary of Defense Charles W. Freeman, Jr.

In an article in the July issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, Freeman stated that Taiwan's democratic development is destabilizing the situation in the Taiwan Strait. He said that Taipei's resistance to Beijing's demand that Taipei acknowledge PRC sovereignty encourages the development of Taiwan independence sentiments. Reducing arms sales to Taiwan could cause Taiwan to be less insistent on the question of sovereignty. Coming on the eve of cross-strait negotiations, this would help the PRC's position, and be beneficial to China's reunification.

ROC Government Information Office director-general Cheng Chien-jen, who is the ROC government spokesman, responds to Freeman in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs. Cheng rejects Freeman's assertion that Taipei's rejection of Beijing's demands on the sovereignty issue promotes Taiwan independence. In fact, Taipei rejects these demands not because it rejects Chinese reunification, but because such reunification must be peacefully achieved under a democratic, free, and prosperous system. Taiwan is a democratic society, and democratic societies respect and do not repress public opinion. But Beijing most fears losing control of its citizens. Beijing's "one country, two systems" proposal cannot guarantee political accountability in Taiwan. That is why "one country, two systems" is unacceptable to the people of Taiwan.

The position of the ROC on arms sales is that, unless the PRC renounces the use of force against Taiwan, a militarily weak Taiwan will only be a temptation for Chinese Communist adventurism. In addition, if the US reduces arms sales prior to cross-strait negotiations and thus strengthens the PRC side, Beijing will be even less willing to accept Taipei as an equal, and in the long run this will prove even more of an obstacle to cross-strait cooperation.

Diplomatic space

It is not difficult to discover from Freeman's comments that the PRC's three-way sales pitch-limiting arms sales, peaceful negotiations, and "one country, two systems"-has already had some success in the US.

Even given that the US promises to sell arms to Taiwan, Taiwan must still worry about the possibility that arms sales will someday halt. So what is the situation as Taiwan endeavors to expand its diplomatic room for maneuver, which the PRC is constantly trying to restrict?

Though the US and other countries may have an interest in helping the ROC for strategic reasons of their own, Lin Cheng-yi says: "The US and Asia-Pacific countries don't care about improving Taiwan's diplomatic position. On the contrary, they see the Taiwan problem as a source of instability in the region. Given that the PRC will not renounce the use of force against Taiwan, and moreover repeatedly announces its opposition to any formulas such as 'one China, one Taiwan' or 'two Chinas,' Asia-Pacific countries-in order to maintain regional political stability and economic prosperity-are not happy to see active efforts by Taiwan to expand its diplomatic space, as these efforts generate short-term instability in the Taiwan Strait."

Liu Pi-jung points out that in the dialectical relationship between the US and PRC in Asia, their rivalry seems to allow Taiwan some diplomatic room for maneuver, but at the same time their cooperation seems to undermine the basis for the ROC to exist in international society. "The international situation that our country faces diplomatically is extremely paradoxical." He emphasizes that the ROC must be sensitive to the overall international situation, and not give other countries the impression that Taiwan is a "troublemaker." Taiwan must remain flexible and actively attempt to enter international non-governmental, economic, and financial organizations, while frequently expressing its friendly willingness to talk to the PRC.

Negotiations and contradictions

Taiwan's conundrum comes precisely from the sometimes confrontational, sometimes cooperative relationship between the PRC and the US. But looking only at the bilateral cross-strait relationship, there's also a contradiction. On the one hand, despite occasional political dialogue, neither side has ever altered its basic position, and this is reflected in the fact that, in military affairs, each side sees the other as its most likely adversary. On the other hand, no matter how tense the situation gets between the two regimes, economic and social interaction between their citizens does not decline.

Nevertheless, in the absence of any political guarantees, as people-to-people economic and social exchanges have multiplied, a number of problems have arisen in cross-strait exchanges. In particular, since the PRC unilaterally announced the suspension of the negotiating channel in June of 1995, Taiwanese businessmen in mainland China have repeatedly been victimized, and Taipei, lacking any routine communication channel with Beijing, has been denied much opportunity to intervene on behalf of its citizens. In July of this year, Lin Ti-chuan, a Kaohsiung city councilor from the Democratic Progressive Party, was murdered in mainland China. Taiwan had no channel by which to assist her family in handling this matter.

Lin Chong-pin, vice-chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, states that the ROC side has continually maintained a sincere desire to talk. In the years following the PRC's 1995 unilateral suspension of the negotiating channel, Taipei issued more than 100 public calls, and wrote to Beijing on many occasions, expressing the ROC's desire for discussions. Beijing long ignored these appeals. Starting last September, the PRC said it would reopen negotiations, but only under the precondition of Taiwan accepting the "one-China" principle (thus de facto recognizing Beijing's sovereignty), but this condition is unacceptable to Taipei. Finally, in February of this year, Beijing indicated, without mentioning the "one-China" precondition, that it is willing to reopen the discussion channel.

However, as the two sides prepared to resume discussions, the Lin Ti-chuan murder case, as well as many stories of Taiwanese businesspeople being victimized, brought the PRC government under intense scrutiny from Taiwan popular opinion. Will this affect the future progress of cross-strait discussions?

Lin argues that the PRC decided to reopen the door to negotiations for important interests of its own, so is unlikely to be dismayed by Taiwan public opinion. Domestically, Jiang Zemin wants to help consolidate his power by showing hardliners in Beijing that he is making progress on the Taiwan issue. Moreover, cross-strait negotiations should dampen independence movements in Tibet, Xinjiang, and other areas in the PRC. In addition, as the PRC actively expands its foreign relations and attempts to discredit the "China threat" theory, proceeding with cross-strait talks is a way to tell the international community that the PRC is peace loving.

Talking is important in itself

The next Koo-Wang meeting will take place in Shanghai in the middle of October. Although the door to negotiations has been reopened, observers are still focusing on a number of problems. These include: (1) Beijing's assessment of the evolution of public opinion within Taiwan, and (2) differences of opinion between Taipei and Beijing over what subject matter should be discussed in negotiations.

In terms of the first issue, Taiwan is now a democratic country, with many diverse opinions and political parties. With the year-end elections coming up, whatever changes may happen in the number of seats possessed by various parties in the legislature will naturally affect Taiwan's future political situation. What the PRC dreads most is the rise of the Democratic Progressive Party, which Beijing sees as bent on Taiwan independence; an increase in DPP representation could affect future cross-strait negotiations.

Responding to PRC sensitivity, Yen Wan-ching, director of the Department of Chinese Affairs for the DPP, says that although there have been many different opinions among the factions of the DPP with regard to the question of independence or reunification, in recent years, the various factions' attitudes have become more similar, for a number of reasons: For one thing, many independence activists in the DPP split off to form the Nation Building Party, "squeezing" the DPP into the middle of the political spectrum on the independence/reunification issue. Also, the crisis evoked by PRC missile tests caused many in the DPP to recognize, for the first time, the real possibility of the PRC making good on its threat to attack Taiwan should the island declare independence. Finally, there has been the rapprochement between the PRC and US, making it less likely than ever the US would support Taiwan independence.

In fact, the factions reached consensus in a conference held earlier this year by the DPP to discuss its "China policy." The DPP hopes that it can go from being considered a "wild card" in negotiations to being a "participant" or even one of the "leading parties." It will no longer avoid contact with the PRC, and is happy to see cross-strait negotiations. The DPP attitude toward Taiwan sovereignty has moved closer to that of the ruling Kuomintang-"the ROC is in any case already a sovereign political entity," so there is at this time no need to declare the existence of some new, independent country.

In terms of what issues should be discussed, Beijing wants to focus on political issues, while Taipei argues that discussion should first focus on technical matters. Despite this difference, however, Lin Chong-pin states that the important thing at this stage is simply to talk, and not necessarily to reach any particular conclusion. This is also the view of third parties: International pressure on Taiwan is aimed at promoting the more peaceful relations between the two sides, so that cross-strait relations will no longer be a source of instability in the Asia-Pacific region. It is not considered important that talks immediately reach any concrete conclusions.

Taiwan's current military and diplomatic problems are rooted in the cross-strait conflict. The only way to fundamentally resolve these problems is to peacefully resolve the Taiwan Strait issue. Although negotiations now face a number of difficulties, Lin Chong-pin is not pessimistic about the future. He argues that when the long-term interests of the two sides happen to be compatible, and as their views of suitable subjects for negotiation intersect, the Taiwan Strait problem will steadily improve.

p.22

During his visit to the PRC in June, US president Clinton publicly announced the US policy of "three noes" toward Taiwan, which is very damaging to Taiwan's diplomatic interests. (courtesy of Agence France Presse)

p.23

Clinton's announcement of the "three noes" set off protests in Taiwan. (photo by Shih Tsung-hui)

p.25

U.S. Arms Transfers to Taiwan, 1993 to Present

Description of Equipment

Aug-94

80 Raytheon AN/ALQ-184 ECM pods, spares, and support

May-96

465 Hughes Stinger-RMP missiles; 55 dual-mounted Stinger missile launch systems; 55 trainer missiles; spares

Jun-96

300 M60A3 main battle tanks

Aug-96

1,299 Stinger-RMP missiles, 74 standard vehicle mounted launchers, 98 High-Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled (HMMPW) Vehicles; 74 trainer missiles

Feb-97

54 McDonnell Douglas Harpoon ship-to-ship missiles and equipment

Jan-98

3 Knox-class frigates; 15 Phalanx close-in weapons systems; one AN/SWG-1A Harpoon launcher

Jun-98

Low-Altitude Navigation and Target Infra-red for Night (LANTIRN) pods; these are advanced pathfinders/sharp-shooters for F-16 A/Bs

Aug-98

61 vehicle-mounted Stinger missile launchers, 58 air-launched Harpoon air-to-ship missiles and 131 air-launched MK46 MOD 5 (A) torpedoes (for F-16 A/Bs).

Source: http://www.fas.org/asmp/ profiles/taiwan_armstable.htm

(1996/9/24) China Times, The Commons Daily

Table by Lee Su-ling

p.26

Lin Chong-pin, vice-chairman of the ROC's Mainland Affairs Council, says that until there are mechanisms in place to guarantee the safety of Taiwan business people and their assets in mainland China, they would be well advised to go slow in investing there.

In order to expand its diplomatic space, the ROC is well-advised to seek entry into international non-governmental, economic, and financial organizations. Third at right in the photo is SEF head Koo Chen-fu representing Taiwan at the 1996 meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. (photo by Ko Cheng-hui)

p.27

In July of this year, Li Yafei, vice secretary general of the PRC's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, visited Taiwan, reopening the door to bilateral discussions. The photo shows, from left to right, Chang Liang-jen and Chan Chih-hung, vice secretaries-general of the ROC's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), and Li Yafei. (Sinorama file photo)

p.29

Taiwan investment in mainland China has grown steadily; it is urgent for the two sides to establish a regular channel of communication.

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