The “Taiwan not China” cross-strait debate.

In an interview on a radio program earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked by the famous lawyer-host Hugh Hewitt whether the Chinese side believed that the US defense commitment to Taiwan was a bipartisan consensus, and Pompeo immediately said that when discussing the former issue, the correct wording must be used – Taiwan has not been a part of China, and this has been the policy implemented by both parties for more than 30 years since the Reagan era.

The pro-Taiwan media reduced the report to the U.S. Secretary of State’s statement that “Taiwan is not a part of China”; Taiwan’s official statement that Taiwan is not a part of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which is a fact and a status quo; the Taiwan Government’s statement that the Republic of China (ROC) is a sovereign state; and the Chinese report was reduced to the rhetoric of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), such as “lies fabricated for political self-interest”, “misleading public opinion”, “cannot stop the historical trend of China’s reunification”, and even “violation of the three Sino-American Joint Communiqués”, “error” and “null and void”, and so on.

This poses a major problem – when the meaning of the translated text is a little different because of the language used, as in this case, the opposite conclusion can be drawn – hence the importance of using the correct language, as Pompeo specifically mentioned during the interview, which is largely ignored by the Chinese media.

The reason why there are two translations of “Taiwan is not a part of China” and “Taiwan was never a part of China” is not only political, but essentially a matter of the difference between the English and Chinese characters. (been) translates into the ordinary “not” or “non-“, which, when read in terms of Chinese characters, can easily be reduced to a mere negation – Taiwan’s past, present and future are not. part of China; hence the obvious distortion; even if the literal translation (has not been) is “Taiwan has never been part of China”, it only emphasizes “was not, is not”, and creates a logical implication that it will not be in the future. This may be the wish of many Taiwanese, but the U.S. Secretary of State himself has not made such a declaration, and if the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has over-interpreted it, then the problem lies with itself and with the translators, of course.

However, the deeper political problem is caused by the difference in the English and Chinese wording of the so-called “three joint communiqués” and the fact that the media often cite the unilateral views of the Chinese Communist Party in their reports. All Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait maintain the view that there is only one China and that Taiwan is part of China”, and the U.S. Government will not challenge this position; whereas the 1979 U.S.-China Establishment of Diplomatic Relations Communiqué stated that “the U.S. Government recognizes China’s position that there is only one China and that Taiwan is part of China”. “The United States Government has no intention of interfering with China’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and internal affairs, or of pursuing a policy of two Chinas or one China, one Taiwan, as stated in communiqué 817 of 1982. On the U.S. side of these three policies, the U.S. has always expressed its position on Taiwan as a “perception” of China’s position, or as the U.S. has no intention of changing the status quo in Taiwan. They are two different things.

For the Chinese Communist Party, it is that “Taiwan has always been an inseparable part of China”; for the United States, however, it is merely a “perception” of China’s position, and this “perception” is premised on a number of assumptions, including that peace will be maintained across the Taiwan Strait, that reunification will be carried out peacefully and that Taiwan will not be violated by force; but when “Chinese people on both sides of the Strait” have adopted different positions on the future of the two sides of the Strait, the United States has never given any additional assurances as to whether the premises of its policy towards Taiwan will be maintained.

Thus Pompeo’s statement, that is, from the three communiqués, places special emphasis on uncertainty about the future; if one were to make a political reading, it would be to emphasize that both Republican and Democratic administrations are well aware of the flexibility that the U.S. side has in judging future issues – depending on the relationship between the Chinese Communist Party and Taiwan – in its policy toward Taiwan. And why would the two parties judge it that way? The reason for this is that the U.S. side has always argued that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are still politically separate, both in the past and now – and the Chinese media have been ignoring the details of these provisions, thus treating this as a major policy change, which is a clear overinterpretation.