Current Issue

July15, 2009

Vol. 109, No. 16

Debating Taiwan’s independence

In response to: China and Taiwan

In response to George Costow ’04 (letters, June 10), I have no idea how his remarks contribute to the discussion of Taiwan’s independence. My original letter was an argument against Thomas Corwin ’62’s statement (letters, March 4) that “Taiwan’s independence can make no sense.” Mr. Costow asks in his letter: “Regardless of whether Taiwan should be part of the PRC or not, can we at least recognize it as part of China?” However, the China he wants me to recognize is not the one ruled by the PROC or the one ruled by the ROC. He makes the point that many people, including myself, need to be reminded about the “difference between what constitutes a state and what constitutes a region,” and we’ve made the mistake of “equating China with the People’s Republic of China.” He then provides some misleading information by stating, “The ROC, at least in theory, still claims all the provinces of the PRC.” What theory is he referring to? He also adds that “the ROC government considers [Taiwan] a province of China (that being the Republic of China).”

In today’s global community, I think it’s safe to say that the titles of ROC and Taiwan are practically equivalent and used interchangeably. If you simply go to the government’s official Web site, the first word you’ll see on the upper left corner, in bold, black letters is TAIWAN, followed by the flag of the ROC and underneath in normal font is Republic of China. Furthermore, if you go to the section titled “Foreign Affairs,” you can see for yourself how the titles are used. I’d also like to point out that in the preface to this section it reads, “The Republic of China (ROC) plays an important role in world affairs as a sovereign nation” and in other paragraphs, the PROC is commonly referred to as mainland China. I understand that there are historical and cultural ties between China and Taiwan, but by introducing this meaningless issue of recognizing Taiwan as part of the China region, Mr. Costow wants me to disregard what my original letter (April 22) was all about – the real and important issue of Taiwan’s independence.

Ronald Chen ’90
Latham, N.Y.

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