Taiwan Independence: Realistically, how?


#41

t is no longer legal to acquire territory by force. One can only recover one’s own lost territory. China recognizes this modern principle of international law and therefore insists that Taiwan is and always has been part of China. Although a declaration of Taiwanese independence is a logical counter to this claim, it would not be good strategy simply because there would be no forum in which Taiwan could bring and enforce its claim of independence against an illegal Chinese occupation.

Taiwan needs to avoid that occupation at all costs. Fortunately, China’s rulers face a predicament that makes avoiding occupation while maintaining and even consolidating de facto independence a very feasible strategy.

I’m persuaded by by Richard McGregor’s thesis in The Party that the CCP’s overriding objective is to stay in power at all costs. In protecting its power, the party is extremely risk averse. It will not attack Taiwan because it would be risking US intervention. If the US intervened successfully would lose power because too much of its legitimacy is bound up in being the rulers who made China strong.

At the same time, the CCP cannot tolerate a formal declaration of Taiwanese independence because that would result in a military coup removing the party from power.

Both of these scenarios carry far too much risk for the CCP and it will do what it can to avoid them.

So even though Taiwan might score some debating points against China’s propaganda by declaring independence, the ephemeral benefits to a purely theoretical ‘legal’ argument of such a risky move are greatly outweighed by the far more practical and effective strategy of keeping and building on de facto independence.

We don’t know what the future will begin. So let’s not give up by bowing our heads to the supposedly inevitable.


#42

[quote=“finley”]Yeah, that sounds sensible.

I just wonder what would happen in the unlikely event China did attack. Since the PRC considers Taiwan (already) part of China, that would technically be civil war and the world would simply look the other way and pretend it wasn’t happening. Would there be any legal advantage, I wonder, if Taiwan were to declare independence if war appeared inevitable or imminent?[/quote]

Lol China will never attack. They threatened to bomb Taiwan in 1996 but nobody really cared lol. Wait till the older generation of Chinese leaders (the hardliners) to die in the next 30-40 years, things will change dramatically with the possibility of having civil liberties. Having a democracy or not isn’t a huge issue for China, it’s whether its people have rights or not (look at Singapore).


#43

If the KMT has no chance in 2016, then why did they have a chance in the year 2012?

What is going to be so different in 2016 and how does the next 4 years play directly into the DPP’s hands. There’s nothing wrong with being positive about the future, but I remember a lot of green people talking about how after 2008, the KMT would be out in 2012.

Without the power to commit election fraud, I don’t really see how the DPP is going to come back to power. If we have Eric Chu or even Hau Long-Bing vs. Tsai Ying-Wen again, the result will basically be the same. Some where around 54-46 in favor of the KMT.

How many presidential elections need to happen with the KMT as the ruling party before green people figure out their support rate is a steady 45-47% and not likely to increase past that point without the help of election fraud?

This is basically correct.

When the DPP gets back in power in 2016, it will continue incremental moves toward independence such as getting rid of Sinocentric symbols and revising the curriculum so that it is centered on Taiwan. If it had enough votes, it would seek constitutional changes to eliminate the ROC’s claims to China and to otherwise normalize and consolidate Taiwan’s de facto independence.

No one is going to declare formal independence unless Taiwan is attacked by China or until China becomes a democracy. Time is on the side of Taiwanese independence. Taiwan is already de facto independent and the longer it stays that way, the more likely that state of affairs is to continue.

In the meantime, the DPP should focus on making Taiwan a better place. That includes continuing to normalize relations with China economically and otherwise.

I don’t think the KMT has a chance in 2016.[/quote]


#44

[quote=“Feiren”]
When the DPP gets back in power in 2016, it will continue incremental moves toward independence such as getting rid of Sinocentric symbols and revising the curriculum so that it is centered on Taiwan. If it had enough votes, it would seek constitutional changes to eliminate the ROC’s claims to China and to otherwise normalize and consolidate Taiwan’s de facto independence.[/quote]

You mean like all those moves like changing the name of CKS memorial, post office, etc. undertaken by the DPP when they were in power? Those changes were hugely unpopular, and many of them were simply undone by the KMT when they got back to power. I doubt the DPP will get the chance to renew their “de-sinification” drive in 2016. And if they ever did get back into office, they better realize pulling those shenanagins again will probably get them booted out of office at the next election.


#45

This Taiwan independence issue can be compared to having a marriage arc vs a PARC. Both are suitable, and pretty similar in regulations/restrictions. So if you are fine with one, why would you want the other?
That’s how the DPP feels.
The KMT wants to nix both ARC’s and just put everyone on a work permit that is signed by the PRC.
Take your pick.


#46

[quote=“bohica”][quote=“Feiren”]
When the DPP gets back in power in 2016, it will continue incremental moves toward independence such as getting rid of Sinocentric symbols and revising the curriculum so that it is centered on Taiwan. If it had enough votes, it would seek constitutional changes to eliminate the ROC’s claims to China and to otherwise normalize and consolidate Taiwan’s de facto independence.[/quote]

You mean like all those moves like changing the name of CKS memorial, post office, etc. undertaken by the DPP when they were in power? Those changes were hugely unpopular, and many of them were simply undone by the KMT when they got back to power. I doubt the DPP will get the chance to renew their “de-sinification” drive in 2016. And if they ever did get back into office, they better realize pulling those shenanagins again will probably get them booted out of office at the next election.[/quote]

Those changes were not “hugely unpopular” except perhaps with the KMT and the highly vocal contingent of Waishengreng in Taipei. If Hsieh had won in 2008, those changes would have stuck and there would have been no going back.

Notice that the KMT didn’t dare mess with airport. That change was very popular in Taoyuan.

What got them booted out of office was the perception that Chen Shui-bian was horribly corrupt–a perception which is shared by a majority of green voters as well.


#47

Right, in Taoyuan. For the rest of Taiwan, “Taiwan Taoyuan Airport” sounds like “beheading” in Minnan.


#48

Right, in Taoyuan. For the rest of Taiwan, “Taiwan Taoyuan Airport” sounds like “beheading” in Minnan.[/quote]

well, that’s getting right back to Taiwan’s roots, eh?!


#49

[quote=“Feiren”]
What got them booted out of office was the perception that Chen Shui-bian was horribly corrupt–a perception which is shared by a majority of green voters as well.[/quote]

700 Million NT is nothing compared to the shit that the KMT took from the treasury over the past 60 years.


#50

[quote=“cyborg_ninja”][quote=“Feiren”]
What got them booted out of office was the perception that Chen Shui-bian was horribly corrupt–a perception which is shared by a majority of green voters as well.[/quote]

70 Billion NT is nothing compared to the shit that the KMT took from the treasury over the past 60 years.[/quote]

70 billion?


#51

[quote=“Mucha Man”][quote=“cyborg_ninja”][quote=“Feiren”]
What got them booted out of office was the perception that Chen Shui-bian was horribly corrupt–a perception which is shared by a majority of green voters as well.[/quote]

70 Billion NT is nothing compared to the shit that the KMT took from the treasury over the past 60 years.[/quote]

70 billion?[/quote]

Whoops its 700 Mil NT (got my counting wrong, 7 yi NT).


#52

.


#53

They certainly weren’t hugely popular either.

“Taiwan Taoyuan Intentional Airport” is a nonsense. Which other country names its airports in this way? There is no “Britain London Airport” or “Japan Tokyo Airport”. Why did A-Bian insist on including the name “Taiwan” in everything?

The airport should be names after the major city it serves (Taipei) and its location (Dayuan) - Taipei Dayuan Airport (Taipei Taoyuan Airport would also be acceptable).


#54

Well, it serves taiwan as much as Taipei. There are basically zero flights into the other international airports in Kaohsiung and Taipei in comparison.

But you’re right, they should call it Chinese Taipei Airport and be done with the subterfuge.

Or Taoyuan sucks airport.


#55

Great topic. I’ve been thinking about the same question myself.

  1. I think militarily like many say Taiwan won’t be able to fend off China. However, I do believe that nuclear weapons should provide some deterrent. I’m not sure what the reaction would be from the US or China but some careful development, along with missiles that can deliver the warheads to Beijing, would be sensible.

  2. Secondly, I think there needs to be consensus internally, for when the moment comes (see point 3), so that Taiwan can react quickly. This is a tricky question as China may view a referendum as declaring independence. I don’t know if there’s a subtle way.

  3. Wait for the right moment. I think the last good chance was during Tienanmen, and perhaps to a lesser extent in 1996 with the US fleet in the Taiwan Strait. Like many have said I think the next time there’s great internal instability or when the CCP collapses may be a good time. The problem is having the resolve to act when that time comes and knowing in the heat of the moment whether or not that it’s the right time.

I’m sure there are holes in what I’ve outlined above but I’m trying to address the OP’s question as to how we can have de jure independence.


#56

Nukes? Absolutely no way. Taiwan’s military infrastructure leaks like a sieve, and the US would jump on any hint that Taiwan was developing nuclear weapons (like they did in the 1970s and again in the 80s). Simply not possible.


#57

I have to say BAH that you’ve made one of the most thoughtful responses so far. A lot of people here like to dance all around the issue of independence without thinking through how to actually achieve it. Congratulations for at least giving it an honest shot.

For sure, if Taiwan had nukes (and the ability to deliver them), China would lose their military advantage and independence would be far easier to achieve. However, I agree with Taffy that Taiwan won’t be able to develop nukes. It takes years to do, it’s difficult to hide, and there are too many leaks in Taiwan’s military intelligence for this to happen secretly. So China would catch on, and possibly decide on a first strike or economic blockade. Equally critical, the USA has taken a very dim view of Taiwan’s previous attempts to secretly develop nukes. Back in the 1980s, the supposedly anti-communist pro-ROC Reagan administration discovered that Taiwan was secretly developing the bomb and very publicly (and humiliatingly) forced the government to stop it. I was here at that time, and there was a brief but powerful surge of anti-Americanism.

I think you are correct that a big crisis in China presents the only real opportunity to declare independence. Also agree that the 1989 Tiananmen and 1996 missile crises were the two points in time when Taiwan might have made the move to independence, but could not muster the courage to go through with it. I’m not sure if/when those opportunities will present themselves again.

As to what China would actually do if Taiwan went ahead and made a declaration of independence, I don’t think it would result in an immediate military invasion. China doesn’t really want to take over a glowing pile of ashes. I think China’s first response would be some sort economic embargo, perhaps followed by a military blockage of Taiwan’s seaports if the newly-declared ROT government doesn’t capitulate. Wealthy Taiwanese could be expected to panic, grabbing all the cash they can and heading for safe havens in Canada, the USA and Europe. Ditto for most of the vocal TI-supporting foreigners here on Forumosa, who would grab their money and head home, all the while telling the Taiwanese to “be brave” and “fight the good fight.” Charles Hong, professional letter-writer for the Taipei Times, would (from his safe haven in Columbus, Ohio) be telling the Taiwanese to “never surrender.”

Taiwan’s economy would tank. Cutting off food imports would create a crisis. Plus without imports of coal, oil and natural gas, we’d soon be seeing an energy crisis as well. Hydro-electric could supply max 5% of Taiwan’s needs, and nukes (if the new DPP government hasn’t shut them down yet) about 20%, but with 75% currently running on fossil fuels, we’d have major blackouts. Transport fuel would be gone. Deprived of gasoline and diesel fuel, Taiwan’s farmers would have a hard time getting domestically-raised food to market. The cities would starve. If that wasn’t enough to force Taiwan to surrender, China could lob a missile into a city with very minor explosives - hit the World Trade Center or Taipei 101, and cause widespread panic even without any great loss of life. I can’t imagine that the Taiwanese would hold up under this kind of pressure.

Would the USA come riding to the rescue? I sincerely doubt it. Many are assuming that China is getting ready to collapse any day now. I’m less convinced. Indeed, I think it’s more likely that the USA will collapse first.

Maybe not what the Forumosa audience wants to hear, but history has seldom been anything but brutal.

Again, thanks for your response. Here’s hoping for a crisis in China.

regards,
DB


#58

[quote=“BAH”]Great topic. I’ve been thinking about the same question myself.

  1. I think militarily like many say Taiwan won’t be able to fend off China. However, I do believe that nuclear weapons should provide some deterrent. I’m not sure what the reaction would be from the US or China but some careful development, along with missiles that can deliver the warheads to Beijing, would be sensible.[/quote]

We do have Iran and North Korea as examples so this shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out. Probably just a bunch of sanctions, and becoming an international pariah in the process(small price to pay for the greenies I’m sure). But most Taiwanese people aren’t cool with this idea, or of their hard-earned tax money being used to buy a bunch of weapons Taiwan has no use for other than to show off to China. Thank god there’s the KMT to block those sales.


#59

[quote=“BAH”]3) Wait for the right moment. I think the last good chance was during Tienanmen, and perhaps to a lesser extent in 1996 with the US fleet in the Taiwan Strait.[/quote] Actually, a friend of my was doing his military service stationed on offshore islands during the Tiananmen incident. He said they went on high alert thinking the Mainland government might be going to collapse and the time would be right to ‘take back the Mainland’. They had to always carry their weapons loaded - even slept with their weapons at their side just in case the order came down and they had to launch an offensive… But obviously it never did.


#60

We were on high alert in '96 as well. Don’t recall any talk of retaking the mainland at the time, however.