1998 / 10月
資料來源：http://www.fas.org/asmp/ profiles/ taiwan_armstable.htm
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 Bipolar confrontation has been replaced by regional or functional conflicts.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.
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.
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.
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)
Clinton's announcement of the "three noes" set off protests in Taiwan. (photo by Shih Tsung-hui)
U.S. Arms Transfers to Taiwan, 1993 to Present
Description of Equipment
80 Raytheon AN/ALQ-184 ECM pods, spares, and support
465 Hughes Stinger-RMP missiles; 55 dual-mounted Stinger missile launch systems; 55 trainer missiles; spares
300 M60A3 main battle tanks
1,299 Stinger-RMP missiles, 74 standard vehicle mounted launchers, 98 High-Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled (HMMPW) Vehicles; 74 trainer missiles
54 McDonnell Douglas Harpoon ship-to-ship missiles and equipment
3 Knox-class frigates; 15 Phalanx close-in weapons systems; one AN/SWG-1A Harpoon launcher
Low-Altitude Navigation and Target Infra-red for Night (LANTIRN) pods; these are advanced pathfinders/sharp-shooters for F-16 A/Bs
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
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)
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)
Taiwan investment in mainland China has grown steadily; it is urgent for the two sides to establish a regular channel of communication.