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Speeches

A. Lu: Address to Peace Summit 2023, Session VII-C

Address to Peace Summit 2023
May 2-5, 2023

 

Last summer, on this podium, I had the honor to tell the guests of the summit that took place then that Taiwan would not be the next Ukraine. All the polls in Taiwan indicate that over 80% of Taiwanese prefer to deal with China via peaceful approaches to military confrontation, although the majority dislike and distrust the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Most people believe that Taiwan, with the name of the Republic of China (ROC), is an independent country. Only a 3% minority agree that it should be unified with the PRC.      

Therefore, an innovative and farsighted platform to settle down the disputes across the Taiwan Strait is very much in need. While the Civilian Convention on China’s Policy across parties, religions, races and generations has been in the process of being held in different part of Taiwan, we wish to develop a fresh and democratic national consensus on how our next president should deal with the PRC.

In the speech I gave at the last summit, I also proposed that the United States of America take the lead to encourage Korea, Japan and Taiwan to integrate into a Democratic Asia Union. These three neighboring countries have at least three things in common, namely: Confucianism, democracy and high-technology. These are treasures of soft power to be developed for human civilization.

This union is by no means my daydream. A new page of history was written when Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol visited with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in March. He refused to seek an apology for the wrongs that Japan had done to the Korean people one century ago. The historical resentment between these two countries has begun to melt. Moreover, President Yoon made another breakthrough, signing the Washington Declaration with U.S. President Joe Biden. Biden agreed to render American shelter to protect Korea and to have Korea join the Nuclear Consultation Group if ever Seoul would be threatened by nuclear war.

A special compliment shall be made to President Yoon for his firm and clear remark that the Taiwan issue, like the Korean issue, is a global issue, not a Chinese domestic one. He even condemns the PRC’s diplomacy as “impolite” when China protests. Indeed, to say “no” when necessary is a wisdom for a good politician.

And the security and sovereignty of Taiwan is by no means a Chinese domestic issue. As early as 1895, the Ching Empire entered the Treaty of Shimonoseki, under which Taiwan was ceded to Japan “in perpetuity.” The PRC was founded in 1949 but Japan did not give up their sovereignty of Taiwan until April 28 of 1952, when the Taipei Peace Treaty was signed with ROC in Taiwan. The PRC has never ruled Taiwan for any single day.

Shortly after the establishment of the PRC on October 1, 1949, Mao Tse Tung sought support from Joseph Stalin, the head of the Russian Communists, to attack Taiwan but was refused. On January 5, 1950, U.S. President Harry Truman announced the United States’ policy of neutrality between Chiang Kai Shek and Mao Tse Tung, which incited the cooperation of Russia and North Korea to attack South Korea. Stalin also invited Mao to join the Korean War against America. Truman had no other choice but to alter his neutral position to declare that the status of Taiwan was undetermined, and the Fleet 7 was sent to coach along the Taiwan Strait, preventing Chiang’s return to China as well as Mao’s invasion of Taiwan. One China, One Taiwan was thus developed, thanks to Stalin and Truman.

Both Korea and Taiwan were colonized by Japan. In the late 19th century, the rising Japan took advantage of Korea’s domestic chaos to counterattack the declining Ching Empire, leading to the Sino-Japan War in 1894. China was defeated and Taiwan was ceded to Japan.

Let us reflect on the geopolitical situation in the region of East Asia 120 years ago. Japan started its modernization with the Meiji Restoration with an ambition to challenge the Ching Empire, while Korea was weak and feudal and Taiwan was a barren island. Japan confronted China during Korea’s internal chaos. The confrontation was escalated in 1894, when Japan’s navy destroyed Chinese marine ships. China declared the Sino-Japan War but was defeated and surrendered in the following year.

A peace treaty was cosigned in the city of Shimonoseki under which Taiwan was to be ceded to Japan “in perpetuity.” Japan occupied Taiwan until the end of World War II. But Taiwan was not returned to China, as Japan only signed the Treaty of Taipei with Chiang Kai Shek, not with Mao Tse Tung in Beijing. The PRC has no sovereignty over Taiwan at all.

Over 100 years ago, rising Japan challenged the declining Chinese imperialism through Korea. In the 21st century today, the rising China is challenging the American hegemony and Taiwan has become the battlefield. What a historical similarity!

Given the unique historical background of the region, integrating Korea, Japan and Taiwan into a golden triangle to develop the Democratic Asia Union based on soft power is the best choice for the region.

Of course, if the U.S. can invite Canada, New Zealand, Australia and all the other democracies across the Pacific Ocean to establish a Democratic Pacific Union, a new civilization based on soft power will be born.

 

 


To go to the Peace Summit 2023 Schedule page, click here.