March 01, 2006

The role of Taiwan in shaping US–China relations(2)

5. 1979–2006 Arms sale to Taiwan and US-China relations

Building up national defense is the orthodox solution to power-security dilemma. Contrary to offensive weapons, defensive weapon will not threaten neighbors, thus an arm race is avoided (Buzan 1983). Such an idea is also reflected in the 1979 TRA, which authorizes US government to provide defensive weapons to Taiwan.
(i) The arms sale card played by US and the deteriorated US-China relations
Since 1979, US has been using ?arm sale card? to balance the military powers across the Strait. In 2001 US offered offensive weapons to Taiwan for the first time, which enraged Chinese people and badly damaged the US-China relation (Prestowitz 2003:220–2). However, the democratization in Taiwan complicates the whole situation, and such complication is reflected on the stalemate of arm procurement bill in Taiwan Legislator Yuan from 2001 to 2006.
From 1979 to 2001, US in general had been playing the arm sale card carefully. There were some evidences that China was not treated as American??s enemy although US opposed its unification with Taiwan by force [23]. Thus, one cannot simply draw a conclusion that to balance the power of China is the most important concern. However, the 1992 arms sale reflect a dangerous ? movement among American conservatives to back a Declaration of Independence for Taiwan? after the end of cold war (Prestowitz, 2003: 225).
In April 2001, US approved a historic 7 billion dollar weapon sale to Taiwan, the package included four destroyers, twelve antisubmarine airplanes, eight submarines capable of launching torpedoes and cruise missiles (Sheng 2001:18). Four days after the arms sales announcement, Bush (Young) promised that that US would do ?whatever it took to help Taiwan defend itself?, and American military intervention was ?certain an option?, (Stout 2001; Reuters 2001; The South China Morning Post 2001).
Unilaterally using military machine to promote the globalization of liberal-democracy system made Bush ?unwittingly? act as an unpopular ?emperor?(Prestowitz 2003:34), thus did harm to US-China relations.
(Prestowitz 2003: 220–1) points out that such a statement was ?a complete violation of the spirit and probably the letter of the Joint Communique of August 17,1982? in which US promised its ?one China? policy and the reduction of arms sale to Taiwan. Against the context that in 2001 China was relabeled by Bush administration a ?strategic competitor,? many Chinese believed that China was treated as American??s enemy as a replacement for USSR (Prestowitz 2003: 252–3).
However, American??s arms sale to Taiwan does not follow officially supporting Taiwan independence, which alleviated US-China tensions and suspicions. [24]
(ii) The role of Taiwan and its limitation
Taiwan is among the top buyers of U.S. weapons (Prestowitz 2003:164). In central of Beijing??s anger over arms sale issue lies the fear of a potential military alliance between Taiwan and US; In central of Taiwan??s arms procurement lies the hope to ally with US (Chritensen 2002:7–21; Sheng 2001:18–21). These feelings are reinforced by the ?ambiguity strategy? adopted by US in dealing with Taiwan issue, and such misunderstandings provide space for Taiwan politician??s manipulations.
There is a tendency of exaggerating Taiwan??s strategy significance to US among Taiwan leaders. For example, former leader Lee believed that ?the United States cannot effectively deploy a theater missile defense (TMD) without Taiwan's cooperation?. And Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian claims that Taiwan is very important to ?the crescent-shaped American defenses against China in the Pacific?, which is a ?bargaining chip? Taiwan can ?make good use of?. But because China is not American??s enemy now, it??s not true (Nathan 2000). However, given the interpretation of Taiwan leaders, if US continues to increase arm sales to Taiwan, a Taiwan-US military alliance will be more and more convincing to Chinese people, thus poison the US-China relation. In fact, mutual suspicions to some extent is increasing, and Christensen (2002:7-21) warns that what is going on is ?an arms competition of sorts between Chinese offensive, coercive weapons on the one hand and Taipei's, Washington's, and Tokyo's defensive, anti-coercion weapons on the other?.
Fortunately, due to the democracy system of Taiwan, the 2001 arms sale issue does not lead to another Taiwan Strait Crisis. The most interesting part of the story is that, the people in a democracy society seem unwilling to establish a potential military alliance that is supposed to protect a democracy world [25].
(Cliff 1998:288–314) points that with the wake of a ?nation? identity, the conception of Taiwan security is transforming from ?regime security?(survival of a monopoly ruling party) to ?national security?(a more comprehensive conception including defense, economic and societal security), and leaders are obliged to care more about welfare in order to win votes. When it comes to the arms sale bill, one of the most raised questions in Legislator Yuan is that: Is it worthy so much money?
From 1949 to 2006, Taiwan has been able to shape US-China relations in different ways. On one hand, ?Taiwan Card? has been played to make coercive effects or to show willingness to make concessions to build US-China relations. On the other hand, Taiwan has been playing an active role for the sake of international recognition and there have been several times that Taiwan has contributed to the military confrontation or even potential nuclear war between China and US. The clashes between realist and liberalist solutions to power-security dilemma are reflected on PRC-US-ROC security complex, alone with the conflicts between American??s idea of promoting global democracy and Chinese??s idea of nationalism.
Fortunately, the security complex between PRC, US and Taiwan includes not only conflicts, but also common interests. There has been great economic interdependence among them, and each side prefers a peace environment in favor of development. (Prestowitz 2003:225) ironically points out that, ?Bush may thus find himself ??doing whatever it takes to defend Taiwan just as the last resident of Taiwan turns out the lights and ships out to the mainland???, or ?fly first class? to there. Although the wake of ?nation? identity of Taiwan and the wave of independence make Taiwan looks more and more troublesome in shaping US-China relations, the democracy system has proved its capacity to be a balancing system to prevent Taiwan politicians from risking a potential war in Pacific-Asia. It will be wise for Taipei leaders to show more respect for people??s seeking for peace and wealth.
For the sake of a bright future of US-China relations, as the key actor of this triangle game, it will be wise for US to keep showing its will to support a reunified China, and to warn pro-independence forces not to challenge this policy. In fact, if US prefers a democracy world, a reunified China looks more like to democratize itself (Christensen 2002:19). US military intervention has suppressed the democracy movements many times [26], such mistakes should not be repeated (Prestowitz 2003:181).
In the meantime, it will be wise for Beijing leader to further understand the democracy preferences of US and Taiwan people, while cooperate with US to pull Taiwan back into orbit in cases of trouble. Interestingly, a survey has shown that ?one-third of the people in Taiwan can agree simultaneously on two seemingly contradictory issues: to unite with China if China becomes democratic and to declare independence if China will not use force and peace can be maintained?(Brett and Niou 2004/2005).

1, And some discuss the reasonability of Taiwan??s policy which refused to reunify recently(Cabestan,1996), some even gave advices as how can Taiwan gain more help from US through some new policies. While others found the security dilemma of a democratized Taiwan (Tien and Chu, 1996), and analyzed why and how would the later elections cause tensions (Chu and Diamond, 1999; Wang, 2001)
2, furthermore, some pointed out that although China is a Status Quo Power, it may still use force if the security complex had caused the re-definition of its national interest (Johnston, 2003), or although the PLA need more time to modernize, but if the Taiwan keep threaten the nationalism of China then and the legitimacy of CCP, the trouble is foreseen during 2005–2010 (Christensen, 2001).
3, Mao even suspected that the American had an intention to support Chiang??s invading mainland. While the real intention of Truman was ?to deny Taiwan as a potential base to Soviet in the western Pacific?. (Yahuda, 2004:24–7).
4, Actually it was what PRC Premier Chou En-lai said on the Bandung conference in 1955(Eisenhower: 482).
5, Two month before the crisis, Eisenhower thought the military intervention would inevitably lead to WW III and American??s ?logical enemy will be Russia, not China.? So he tried to persuade Chiang to retreat from some offshore islands of little security essential, but Chiang refused to take these suggestions (Eisenhower: 463–477).
6, ?Only a few months back we had both Chiang and a strong, well-equipped French Army to support the free world??s position in Southeast Asia. The French are gone??making it clearer than ever that we cannot afford the loss of Chiang unless all of us are to get completely out of that corner of the globe.? (Eisenhower: 472)
7, Moreover, in 1958, to the embarrassment of US, ?many peoples and nations? had been convinced by ?the Communist propaganda theme? that ?Chiang was simply trying to involve the United States in a war with Communist China in order to gain the China mainland? (Eisenhower II P304), and even Eisenhower himself later complained that Chiang??s heavy deployment ?had helped complicate the problem? (Eisenhower: 293–4).
8, In the word of Mao, it was to urge a talk through an attack (Yi Da Cu Tan).
9, Eisenhower was clear that Quemoy and Matsu were essential to Chiang??s strategy because he and his people thought they ?would one day be stepping stones for the reinvasion of their homeland? (Eisenhower: 461). But of course Eisenhower had not simply followed Chiang??s will. The threat of nuclear attack on PRC was out of his own will, because he was convinced in 1958 that ?Quemoy and Matsu were essential to America??s security.? (Eisenhower: 294) Ironically, PRC also contributed to the change of Eisenhower??s mind. Continuous attacks on Taiwan made Eisenhower suspected the real intention of PRC and draw a conclusion that it was backed by Soviet to drive US out of the Far East (Eisenhower: 294). So he decided to defend Quemoy and Matsu at the expense of military confrontation with PRC.
10, e.g. Chiang??s behaviors in the two crises from 1954–1958 to some extent were against American security strategy. Two years later, due to Chiang ??s objection, Kennedy??s approach of an independent Taiwan did not become official policy. (Yahuda, 2004:116)
11, e.g. the Korean War, the indo-China war, the Vietnam War
12, The ROC had tried to keep PRC from diplomacy recognition in international stage, and the ?China lobby? in American congress, the mutual defense pact with US and the cultivated military and economic ties in combination had delayed the normalization of the US-China relation (Copper 1990:95–106).
13, such as ?the key cornerstones of American global strategy? and ?the center of the American containment strategy in Asia and, in particular, of the confrontation with Chinese communism? (Yahuda 2004: 77)
14, Such concession even included the acceptance of the delay in abolishing American??s full diplomatic relations and the mutual defense pact with Taiwan until 1979(Yahuda 2004: 77).
15, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly criticized that US was creating ?two Chinas or one China, one Taiwan?, and the Minister of MFA (China) complained: ?I was assured a visa would not be issued. Imagine what I thought and what was thought of me when the visa was granted?(Garver 1997:69–72).
16, (Yahuda 2004:258–9) mentions that (a) The two carrier battle groups were not sent to the Taiwan Strait and both sides across the Strait were informed in advance; (b) President Clinton visited China in 1998, which led to better understanding between China and US.
17, For example, Clinton had no choice but say ?no? to Beijing because the Congress was in hands of the opposing party, the White House was in danger of internal division and the support rate of Clinton was the lowest in history (Garver 1997:68).
18, Goldstein (2003:70) points out that the 1995–1995 Taiwan Strait Crisis shocked the ASEAN countries, Japan and even Australia, which led to the signing of a serious of mutual defense treaties among them and with US. If China??s intention was to challenge US power and the China??s rise in Pacific-Asia, the result was the opposite.
19, It must be pointed out that Clinton had visited Taiwan four times promoting trade before elected as American President, and had been treated as a ?honored guest?(Clough 1999:23; Garver 1997:67).
20, Some Chinese believe that the image of a ?democratizing Taiwan? in contrary to an authoritarian ?Tiananmen China? helps Taiwan win wide sympathy among American people after 1989(Goldstein 2003:91). The significance of the ideology of democracy can never be exaggerated, for democracy is not only the most cherished mental legacy of American people, but also the legitimacy upon which US state built (Prestowitz 2003:35–6; Buzan, 2004).
21, e.g., as the 1996 elected leader of Taiwan, Lee is local-born Taiwanese, on contrary to the mainland background of former KMT leading elites. Another evidence is that the percentage of the electorate voting for pro-independent President Chen Shui-bian rises from over 39 percent in 2000 to over 50 percent in 2004.
22, First, Taiwan lobby has created clashes between the National Security Council and the State Department on one side, and the Congress on the other side, which means the former may set more obstacles to constrain Taiwan??s actions (Clough 1999). Second, some American scholars and policy advisers also feel sick with Taiwan lobby. In the eyes of Prestowitz(2003:225–6), Taiwan lobby reveals the vulnerability of American??s democracy system to external forces which are not in favor of American??s interests.
23, e.g. Weapons were not only sold to Taiwan, but also sold to the mainland, same as the transfer of military technology. It was reported that the weapons sold to Taiwan were not the most advanced. When it comes to the big deal of 150 F-16 fighters in 1992, one of the American??s intentions was to prevent the production of Taiwan??s local made fighters (Sheng 2001:18–9).
24, e.g. In 2003 Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian declared that he would initiate a referendum to change the ?one China? principle of Taiwan Constitution. As a response, on receiving Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in December 2003, President Bush criticized Chen for ?indicating that he may be willing to make decisions unilaterally to change the status quo, which we oppose? (Yahuda 2004:276).
25, When I am writing this essay, the arms procurement bill has been objected in Taiwan Legislator Yuan for more than 40 times.
26, e.g. in Chile, Zaire, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Greece, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Afghanistan
Alagappa, Muthiah; ?International Politics in Asia?, in Alagappa, Muthiah(eds); Asian Security Practice: Material and Ideational Influences; 1998; Stanford University Press
Alagappa, Muthiah(eds); Asian Security Practice: Material and Ideational Influences; 1998; Stanford University Press
Arthur M.Schlesinger,Jr.;2004;War and The American Presidency; W.W.Norton & Company
Berger, Tomas U; ?Power and purpose in East Pacific Asia?; in Ikenberry, G. John and Mastanduno, Michael (ed); International Relations Theory and the Asia-Pacific; 2003; Columbia University Press
Benson ,Brett V. and Niou, Emerson M. S. ;Public Opinion, Foreign Policy, and the Security Balance in the Taiwan Strait; Security Studies ;Volume 14, Number 2 / Winter 2004 / 2005, 274 – 289
Burch,Kurt and Denemark, Robert A.(eds);1997;Constituting International Political Economy; Lynne Rienner Publishers
Buckley, Roger; The United States in the Asia-Pacific since 1945; 2002; Cambridge University Press
Buzan,Barry;2004;The United States and the Great Powers: World politics in the Twenty-First century; Polity Press
Buzan,Barry;1983;People, States, and Fear: The National Security Problem in International Relations; Wheatsheaf Books LTD
Christensen, Thomas J. Posing Problems without Catching Up China??s Rise and Challenges for U.S. Security Policy International Security, Vol. 25, No. 4 (Spring 2001), pp. 5??C40
Christensen, Thomas J.; ?The Contemporary Security Dilemma: Deterring a Taiwan Conflict?; The Washington Quarterly 25.4 (2002) 7–21
Christensen, Thomas J.; China, the U.S.-Japan Alliance, and the Security Dilemma in East Asia, International Security, vol.23 No.4 Spring 1999.
Cliff Roger, Taiwan: in the dragon??s shadow, 1998, in Alagappa, Muthiah(eds); Asian Security Practice: Material and Ideational Influences; 1998; Stanford University Press
Clough, Ralph N. the enduring influence of the Republic of China on Taiwan today, the China Quarterly, No.148, Dec 1996.
Clough, Ralph N. Cooperation or Conflict in the Taiwan Strait? 1999, Rowman&Littlefield Publishers Inc
Copper, John F. Taiwan: Nation-State or Province? 1990, Westview Press
David B.H. Denoon and Wendy Friedman, China's Security Strategy: the View from Beijing, ASEAN, and Washington, Asian Survey, vol.36 No.4 Apr 1996.
David Stout, "Bush says Use of Force Is 'an Option' in Defense of Taiwan", The New York Times, 25 April 2001. "Rice: Bush Takes Taiwan Obligations Seriously", Reuters, 26 April 2001. "Taiwan envoy says Bush sends strong message", The South China Morning Post, 27 April 2001
Eisenhower, The White House years: mandate for change 1953–1956, 1963, William Heinemann Ltd
Eisenhower, The White House years: waging peace 1956–1961, 1965, William Heinemann Ltd
Ethan B. Kapstein and Michael Mastanduno, Unipolar Politics: Realism and State Strategies After the Cold War. 1999, Columbia University press.
Garver, John W.; Face off: China, the United States, and Taiwan??s Democratization; 1997; University of Washington Press
Goldstein, Avery; ?An emerging China??s emerging grand strategy?; in Ikenberry, G. John and Mastanduno, Michael (ed); International Relations Theory and the Asia-Pacific; 2003; Columbia University Press
Heginbotham, Eric and Samuels, Richard J.; ?Realism and Japanese foreign policy?; in Ethan B. Hsieh, Chiao Chiao; Strategy for Survival: The foreign Policy and External Relations of the Republic of China on Taiwan, 1949–79; 1985; London: Sherwood Press
Hung-mao Tien and Yun-han Chu, Building Democracy in Taiwan, the China Quarterly, No.148, Dec 1996.
Jean-Pierre Cabestan, Taiwan??s mainland policy: normalization, yes; reunification, later, the China Quarterly, No.148, Dec 1996.
Jonathan I. Charney and J.R.V. Prescott, Resolving Cross-Strait Relations between China and Taiwan, the American Journal of International Law, vol.94 No.3 Jul 2000.
Johnston, Alastair Iain Is China a Status Quo Power? International Security, Vol. 27 No. 4 Spring 2003
Johnston, Alastair Iain; ?Realism(s) and Chinese Security Policy in the Post-Cold War Period?; in Ethan B. Kapstein and Michael Mastanduno, Unipolar Politics: Realism and State Strategies After the Cold War. 1999, Columbia university press.
Fairbank, John K.;1976;China Perceived: Images and Policies in Chinese-American Relations; Andre Deutsch
Ikenberry, G. John and Mastanduno, Michael (ed); International Relations Theory and the Asia-Pacific; 2003; Columbia University Press
Republic of China on Taiwan, 1949–79; 1985; London: Sherwood Press
Kenneth Lieberthal, ? A New China Strategy,? Foreign Affairs 74(6) 1995:35–49
Katzenstein, Peter J.(eds); The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics;1996; Columbia University Press
Keohane, Robert and Nye, Joseph; Power and Interdependence; 1977; Boston: Little Brown
Kissinger, Henry, The White House Years,1979, George Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd
Taiwan: a province or a nation-state
McClaran, John P. US arm sales to Taiwan: implications for the future of the US-China relationship, Asian Survey, vol.40 No.4 Jul-Aug 2000.
Mastanduno, Michael; ?Preserving the unipolar movement: realist theories and U.S. Grand Strategy After the Cold War?; in Ethan B. Kapstein and Michael Mastanduno, Unipolar Politics: Realism and State Strategies After the Cold War. 1999, Columbia university press.
Nathan, Andrew J.; ?What's Wrong with American Taiwan Policy?; The Washington Quarterly; Spring 2000
O??Hanlon, Michael Why China Cannot Conquer Taiwan, International Security, Vol. 25, No. 2 (Fall 2000), pp. 51??C86
Oksenberg, Michel; A Decade of China-American Relations, Foreign Affairs 61,1 (Fall 1982); p180.
Poggi, Gianfranco; 1978; The development of The Modern State: A Sociological Introduction; Stanford University Press
Prestowitz,Clyde;2003;Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Interntions; Basic Books
Ramon H. Myers, Anew civilization: the evolution of Republic of China on Taiwan, the China Quarterly, No.148, Dec 1996.
Robert S. Ross, "Bipolarity and Balancing in East Asia,"pp. 267??C304; in T.V. Paul, James J. Wirtz, and Michel Fortmann, eds., Balance of Power: Theory and Practice in the 21st Century ;Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2004
Ross H. Munro, Giving Taipei a place at the table, Foreign Affairs; Nov-Dec 1994
Ross, Robert S.(eds);After the Cold War: domestic factors and U.S.-China relations; 1998; M.E.Sharpe, Inc
Rupert, Mark;1997; ?Contesting Hegemony: Americanism and Far-right Ideologies of Globalization?, in Burch,Kurt and Denemark, Robert A.(eds);1997;Constituting International Political Economy; Lynne Rienner Publishers
Sheng Lijun, A New U.S. Asia Policy?: Air Collision, Arms Sales and China-U.S. Relations,2001,Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
Solomon, Jon D. Taiwan Incorporated: A Survey of Biopolitics in the Sovereign Police??s Pacific Theater of Operations; in Lamarre, Thomas and Kang, Nae-hui (ed); Impacts of Modernities; 2000; Hong Kong University Press
Strayer, Joseph R.;1970; On the Medieval Origins of The Modern State; Princeton University Press
Thomas W. Robinson, America in Taiwan's Post Cold-war foreign relations, the China Quarterly, No.148, Dec 1996.
Wang, T.Y. Cross-Strait Relations after the 2000 Election in Taiwan: changing tactics in a new reality, Asian Survey, vol.41 No.5 2001.
Yahuda, Michael, the international standing of the Republic of China on Taiwan, the China Quarterly, No.148, Dec 1996.
Yahuda, Michael, Towards the End of Isolationism: China??s Foreign Policy After Mao; 1983; The MacMillan Press LTD
Yahuda. Michael, The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific, 2004 RouteledgeCurzon.
Yun-han Chu and Larry Diamond, Taiwan??s 1998 elections: implication for democratic consolidation, Asian survey vol.39 No.5 Sep-Oct 1999.

The Role of Taiwan in Shaping US–China Relations(1)

The Role of Taiwan in Shaping US-China Relations

Abstract: The purpose of this article is to analyze the two-faces role of Taiwan in shaping the US-China relationship during different periods form 1950s to nowadays. One role is a passive one as ?Taiwan card? played By China and US, while the other one is more active. Since the interaction between ROC-PRC-US triangle is a typical ?security complex?, it??s always in the process of being constructed. Thus whether Taiwan can take a role in shaping US-China relations depends on some conditions. So can we understand why the wake of Taiwan??s state identity will turn Taiwan to be a more active role rather than a passive card and tend to cause more troubles. The article have three parts, the first part will explain what??s the ROC-PRC-US security and why Taiwan as a small power matters. The second part will analyze the Taiwan??s role both passive and active in 1950, in Taiwan Straight crisis 1954 and 1958, in 1970s when US-China relationship was normalized, in the 1996 crisis again, and specially analyze the arms sale to Taiwan alone. The third part is conclusion, and will discuss for some common interests as great economic interdependence and peace environment in favor of development, there are still much can do to prevent the future crisis.

Key word: US-China relationship; security complex; state identity; Taiwan card; Taiwan??s active role

The Taiwan issue is the cause of repeated crises in East Asia for more than 50 years. Since the Taiwan??s domestic political transformation has called the status quo into question, the temporary stable relationship between the triangles may be broken and even cause a war that will benefit none in Pacific-Asia. Considering the importance of this issue, many scholars argued it from different point of views.
Some scholars described the political and economic achievements especially the success of democratization in Taiwan (Myers,1996;Clough,1996), and discussed why Taiwan should gain more international status(Munro,1994; Yahuda,1996), or why Taiwan??s people have rights to ask for their sovereignty and why the mainland??s solution as ?one country-two system? may not suitable for Taiwan (Charney and Prescott,2000) [1]. While others analyzed the China??s security strategy and its implication of US (Denoon and Friedman, 1996), such as why should US carefully keep the cross-strait military balance (O??Hanlon, 2000), and why the arm sale to Taiwan would become the biggest obstacle to the US-China relation (McClaran, 2000) [2].
While this article just try to analyze the two-faces role of Taiwan in shaping the US-China relationship during different periods form 1950s to nowadays, and explain why the changing of the triangular security complex and the wake of Taiwan??s state identity will turn Taiwan to be a more active role rather than a passive card played by the other two big powers.

The ROC-PRC-US security complex: a small power matters
The interaction among ROC-PRC-US triangle is a typical ?security complex?. According to the definition given by (Buzan, 1983: 106), ?A security complex is defined as a group of states whose primary security concerns link together sufficiently closely that their national securities cannot realistically be considered apart from one another.?
The significance of the ROC-PRC-US security complex lies in the significance status of each side in world order, and has attracted the interest of many intelligent scholars who work on international relations. So far these researches can be divided into two categories:
1 research on three levels of security complex
In terms of (Buzan, 1983), there are three levels of security research: state-international system, state-state, state-individual.
Many research on the cold war period focus on the state-international system level and state-state level. After the end of cold war, in response to the interdependence of world economy and ?the third wave? of democratization, more and more have been done on the state-individual level(Copper 1990; Ross (eds) 1998; Clough 1999), while realism and neo-realism remain the mainstream(Kapstein and Mastanduno 1999).
2 research on interaction between ideas and security policies
As a challenge to rational choice and material interests which realist theories and liberal theories emphasis on, critical theories introduce ideational factors into international relations researches. In the eyes of critical and constructivist scholars, national interests ?are constructed through a process of social interaction?, which remain to be defined rather than to be defended. When it comes to the security interests, there are two ideational determinations of state policies: (a) the cultural-institutional context; (b) the constructed identity of states, governments, and the other political actors (Katzenstein 1996:2).
In terms of (Buzan, 1983:173–5), these ideational factors bring ?power-security dilemma? to security policy-making. He argues that when realists prefer idea of power, idealists seek for security through peace, thus leads to ?clashes over policy along appeasement versus containment lines?.
This Realist vs liberalist idea clashes reflect on the ROC-PRC-US security complex. For example, the shift of American??s China policy from containment to engagement, the arguments on whether China is a status quo power or revisionist power, etc. (Copper 1990;Garver 1997; Alagappa(eds) 1998; Solomon in Lamarr and Kang 2000; Johnston, 1999; Yahuda 2004; Buzan 2004).
From this point of view, the ROC-PRC-US security complex is always in the process of being constructed. Whether Taiwan can take a role in shaping US-China relations depends on three determinants:
(a)USA??s will and capacity to conflict with China over Taiwan issue
(b)PRC??s will and capacity to conflict with US over Taiwan issue
(c)the ROC??s will and capacity to manipulate US-China relations to obtain its own benefits.
There is not always a ROC-PRC-US security complex. However, once a ROC-PRC-US security complex comes into being, and power competition becomes the dominant policy, a stage for Taiwan to play a role in shaping US-China relations appears.
There are two faces of this role:
(a) Taiwan issue can be used as a passive ?Taiwan card? played by PRC and US as a method to obtain the China-American relationship which the two states want respectively.
(b) Taiwan actively maneuvers the security complex between China and US in order to obtain survival space from big powers conflicts.
The 1996 Crisis not only revealed the potential severe tension between China and US, but also indicated that even a small power had the ability to maneuver and shape big powers relations to obtain its own benefit. Moreover, it was not the first time that such maneuvers had led to the brink of war that neither PRC nor US wishes to see.
This article will try to analyze the two faces of Taiwan??s role and will pay a little more attention to the active side, for (a)being under the protection umbrella of US and under the military attack shadow of PRC, the active side of Taiwan is so easy to be neglected; (b) after cold war, when big powers are more willing to restrain themselves, small power is less bond to such norms(Garver 1997:3–12;157–166).

The role of Taiwan in shaping China-American relationship

1 The formation of POC??PRC??US security complex in 1950

From 1949 to 1950, Taiwan played one active and the other two passive roles:
(i) Taiwan contributed to shaping the security complex between PRC and US. After fleeing to Taiwan, the KMT leader Chiang actively promoted his anti-communist foreign policy and took every opportunity to volunteer to take part in American??s military intervention in Asia then Truman accepted Taiwan as a membership of the West bloc (Hsieh 1985). So the ROC contributed to the de facto separation of China and the long-term disputes even since.
(ii) In early 1950s, US played ?Taiwan card? in order to decrease the hostility of PRC, thus to balance the power of Soviet. According to (Yahuda, 2004:24–7), the U.S. showed little interest in further military intervention in Asia before the outbreak of Korean War, but instead of showing some interests to approach PRC in hope to separate China mainland from its communist ally. The U.S. was ready to sacrifice Taiwan in short-term and Truman even claimed that US would not defend Taiwan.
(iii) After the breakout of Korean War, the American played ?Taiwan card? again, and Taiwan was set on the frontier of a strategic doctrine to contain the expansion of communist bloc. Truman immediately announced an economic embargo on China and the Seven Fleet was sent to Taiwan Strait. The Chinese and the American did held different views on this military intervention. [3]

2 The Taiwan Strait crisis in 1954 and 1958 and US-Taiwan treaty in 1955

At the first glance, the crisis in 1954 and 1958 was a story that PRC initiated the wars but later ceased fire under the threat of nuclear attack from US. However, Taiwan was the final winner. (Garver, 1997:3) thought what had happened showed ?that a smaller power can affect, even manipulate, to its own advantage relations between greater powers.?
(i) The Taiwan Strait crisis in 1954
From 1954 to 1955, PRC tried to play ?Taiwan card? in order to start diplomatic dialogue with US to break out economic embargo. Since there were some negotiations between PRC and US after China??s shell offshore islands, to some extent, the ?Taiwan card? strategy worked (Yahuda 2004:49–53).
However, the most important side of the story was that the maneuvers of Taiwan had led to the brink of military confrontation between PRC and US, which neither side wished, then Taiwan became the biggest winner in the first Crises.
Since the CCP??s expectation was to open dialogues with US, they did not want to start a war with US [4]. And US had no intention to attack the Chinese mainland either [5]. Thus, after PRC started to shell, US had no choice but to defend these islands and threat to use nuclear weapons (Eisenhower: 476–7). In the letter in February 1955, Eisenhower explained to Churchill why he felt obliged to save Chiang??s army [6]. It was obvious that Chiang was not innocent in creating the military confrontation between the two countries [7].
(ii) The Taiwan Strait Crises in 1958
In August 1958, when the talk between PRC and US on ending economic embargo was suspended by US, the CCP leader Mao decided to shell Quemoy and Matsu again.
The 1958 Crisis seemed to be a copy of that in 1954. PRC played the ?Taiwan card? again in order to bring US back to the negotiating table.[8] Eisenhower and Dulles publicly warned Beijing a nuclear attack in September. Two days later Zhou announced that PRC would accept an American offer to resume talks (Eisenhower: 477). Taiwan also played an active role, because again Chiang located heavy forces on Quemoy and Matsu, and US had no choice but to defend these islands if they didn??t want to see the heavy lost of Chiang??s army.
Then here came the most interesting part of the 1958 Crisis. Why Eisenhower was still willing to protect these offshore islands that he believed to be unimportant four years ago? The answer would be the changing of security complex [9].

3. 1969–1979 the normalization of US-China relations and the Taiwan Relations Act

Fairly speaking, in shaping US-China relations, Chiang had contributed to adding bids to PRC side, although it was not of his intention. [10]
Nevertheless, Chiang was quite aware that he could benefit from the conflicts in Asia [11], especially clashes between the two big powers (Hsieh 1985). And ROC had actively tried to delay the normalization of US-China relations [12].
To Chiang??s disappointment, due to the ?Nixon doctrine? of reducing American forces in Asia and the American ?global equilibrium? policy toward Soviet, there was less and less chance for him to maneuver between the US-China relation.(Yahuda 2004:14,125; Copper 1990:95–106)
In my opinion, from 1969 to 1979, there are two turning points in US-China relations:
By making limited concessions over Taiwan issue, PRC and US governments normalized their relations and paved the way for cooperation to balance the power of Soviet;
By passing the TRA, there is a great transformation of the way of US containing China in Asia??from state-state level to the combination of state-state and state-individual levels.
(i) The ?Taiwan card ? played by the American governments
From 1969 to 1972, Nixon and Kissinger were willing to make some concession over Taiwan issue. However, due to the 21-years ally between US and the ROC in containing Soviet and China, such concession was limited (Clough 1999:18).
The American??s decision of making concession based on their shifted ideas of security, especially on world level. In the term of Kissinger, the new ?international order? was a global equilibrium between the two superpowers??US and USSR. (Yahuda 2004:125) In a world of ?global equilibrium?, there was no fixed frontier. Thus, the significance of Taiwan??s status was largely undermined. [13]
It was against this context that US agreed with China that ??there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China ??.
Meanwhile, the concession over Taiwan issue was limited. Such limitation was reflected on the following perspectives:
(a) US acknowledged ?Taiwan as a part rather than a province of China, thus eliminating a suggestion of subordination.? (Kissinger 1979:1079)
(b) Both the Nixon and the Carter??s administrations noted that US hold the position of a ?peaceful resolution? of the Taiwan issue, moreover, Kissinger and Nixon insisted a principle that the total withdrawal of military forces from Taiwan ?would depend on a reduction of tensions in the area.? (Buckley 2002: 162–3; Kissinger 1979:1080)
(c) Washington insisted that it would continue with arms sale to Taipei. (Buckley 2002: 162–3)
(ii) The ?Taiwan card ? played by the Chinese governments
In 1971, Taiwan??s significance to PRC reduced due to the change of world order, thus pave the way for making concessions in order to gain rapprochement with US.
The ?Nixon doctrine? of reducing military intervention in Asia, combined with the expansion of USSR, convinced PRC leader Mao a new world order of ?aggressive Russia and passive America?(Su Gong Mei Shou). If there was less intention for US to invade Asia, it would be less dangerous to make concession over the Taiwan issue. [14]
Meanwhile, concessions over Taiwan issue were limited. In response to the Taiwan Relation Act (TRA), which was passed by US Congress in 1979, PRC leader Deng xiaoping soon claimed that he would not renounce USe of force against Taiwan, which is still China??s policy today (Copper 1990:31).
(iii) The ?Taiwan card? played by the American Congress
The clash between the American government and the congress over the 1979 TRA reflected a clash between ideas of security among the American people. When the government, through rational calculations, was willing to ally a former opponent to deal with their common enemy, the Congress representatives, reflecting the ?anti-communism? ideology among American people (Cliff 1998:312), made up their mind to contain China.
By passing the TRA, there is a great transformation of the way of US containing China in Asia??from state-state level to the combination of state-state and state-individual levels. US recognized PRC??s sovereignty claim on state/government level, in the meantime, US congress claimed American sovereignty over ?life? on Taiwan on individual level.
The TRA promises to ?provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character? to ensure that Taipei enjoyed a sufficient self-defense capability, and that the United States would maintain the capacity to resist any use of force or coercion that would threaten Taiwan??s security (TRA part 5; Buckley 2002: 166); it affords defense guarantees (Copper 1990:31,107) in name of ?to help maintain peace, security, and stability in the Western Pacific?(Solomon 2000:241).
However, US-Taiwan relation must keep balance with US-China relation. As a consequence, American??s commitments to Taiwan in the TRA were ambiguous. Some scholars agree that whether US will come to the rescue in future crisis will depend on ?the geo-strategic circumstances?, ?public opinion? and ?who is in the white house?(Cliff 1998:292; Copper 1990: 122)
To Copper??s opinion, in most respects, the TRA treats Taiwan as a sovereign nation (Copper 1990:107, 121). On the contrary, Solomon points out that the TRA ?does not recognize a Taiwanese nation? (Solomon 2000:241-2). He argues that, as a domestic law of US, the purpose of passing the TRA was to incorporate the ?life? on Taiwan into a US-led empire, and such a management of State identity in the TRA ?reminds us of the relation between the Federal Government and local States within the U.S. States?.

4, The wake of Taiwan identity and the 1995–1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis

Most of the 1980s was the honeymoon of US-China relations (Yahuda 2004). In the meantime, since 1979, the Beijing??s policy towards Taiwan was described in a much milder phrase of ?re-unification? rather than ?liberation?, and mutual negotiations started (Yahuda 2004:78; Alagappa 1998:101; Goldstein 2003:66). Despite a short period of deterioration of US-China relations due to Tiananmen issue, US soon adopted an engaging China policy and US-China relations began to recover (Garver 1997:7; Berger 2003:401).
However, the 1995–1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis threw shadow on US-China relations (Garver 1997; Yahuda 2004 258–9; Clough 1999:7–8). In May 1995 US congress announced that the Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui would be given a visa as private visitor to visit America, which American Secretary of State had just assured China that would not happen. During his stay in American, Lee gave a highly political speech in his Alma mater, Cornell University, which contrary to what he had promised to US government. Beijing responded to Lee??s visiting America with military exercises and missile launches on its side of the Strait, which few memberships in American Congress could understand. US sent two carrier battle groups to the water near the Strait and halted the Crisis, which shocked and enraged the Chinese. During the crisis, both China and US recalled their ambassadors, which was the first time since 1979. US-China military exchanges also suspended for a period. Last but not least, Lee won handsomely in the 1996 Taiwan leader election, some local analysts believed that intimidation from Beijing helped Lee won some votes.
Even the pass of the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979, which provided defense protection to Taiwan, had not led to strong such objections from Beijing (largely due to the China-Vietnam war at that time)(Copper 1990:31). The ability of a small power to initiate conflicts between big powers worries scholars like Garver (1997).
(i) US played ?Taiwan Card? to serve its global strategy
First, Some scholars argue that US played ?Taiwan Card? to serve promotion of global democracy system. Since supporting Taiwan looked very likely to break ?one China? promise, such a lack of credit will do harm to US-China relations.
After abandoning martial law in 1978, Taiwan started democratization in response to ?the third wave?(Garver 1997:3–12; Yahuda 2004:210). The shared ideology between Taiwan and US used to be based on anti-communism, now it is based on democracy (Cliff 1998:312). Garver(1997:157–166) argues that it was American??s national interests to promote global democracy that underpinned American??s military intervention in the 1995–1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis.
However, when emotions prevailed in US Congress and led to the decision of issuing visa to the leader of Taiwan, US government faced the embarrassment of eating words. [15] Here US faced a dilemma of how to balance defending Taiwan with ?cultivating relations with PRC as a major market and as a rising power whose domestic political evolution US sought to influence? (Yahuda 2004:220).
Second, some scholars argue that US played ?Taiwan Card? to contain a rising China and to protect US hegemony.
Apart from moral factors, some scholars argue from a realist perspective that as a status quo power, the American intervened in 1995–1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis in order to contain unstable factors in Asia-Pacific region. (Yahuda 2004:258) and (Prestowitz 2003) find that scholars in Beijing strongly suspect the intension of Washington to keep a separated China and to prevent a rising China. (Christensen 2003) points out that the defense guidelines for US-Japan alliance revised in 1997, and covering areas ?situational? rather than ?geographic?. He furthers his arguments that given such revision announced in April 1996, Beijing elites and scholars started to fear about an American containment policy towards Taiwan Strait.
However, intentions of US to play ?Taiwan Card? remain ambiguous.
Some scholars emphasize on the uncertainty and ambiguity side of American??s China policy. In term of Mastanduno(1999:156), it was American??s ?strategic ambiguity?. Yahuda argues that despite pressures from the Congress, US responded with care in order not to damage the US-China relations [16]. Unfortunately, some unanticipated factors contributed to the deterioration of US-China relations in 1996 [17]. As a consequence, the combination of misunderstandings and miscalculations on the part of Taipei, Washington and Beijing led to the 1995–1996 Crisis (Clough 1999:7–8).
Many researches have been done on the uncertainty and ambiguity of American??s China policy. For example, Buzan(2004:122–5) and Mastanduno(1999:151,169) argue that there have been long-term intelligent debates over whether China is a ?status quo? power caring more about economic development or a ?revisionist? power challenging American in hope to rebuild a ?Chinese world order? in Pacific Asia. In accord with these academic debates, Ikenberry and Mastanduno(2003:432-5) point out that there has been long-term debates among American policy-makers whether to contain a rising China in response to military and economic ?China threat? or to engage China in hope that economic interdependence will incorporate China into a global system led by US.
(ii) PRC played ?Taiwan Card? to serve its national security interest
Will Taiwan issue deteriorate US-China relations? Many scholars (Berger 2003:400;Yahuda 2004:258–9; Garver 1990:47 ) argue that, due to the ideology of nationalism, Taiwan issue is very likely to poison the US-China relations because China had no choice but stand firmly against American??s intervention towards the Taiwan Strait. These scholars think that since economic reform in 1978, socialist or Marxism-Leninism ideology is no longer strong enough to integrate the big country together. So, the Chinese leaders turn to the ideology of nationalism in seek of ruling legitimacy. In the central of this nationalism appeal lies unification of Taiwan in order to get rid of ?a century??s humiliation? of being intervened by external forces. Some scholar radically argues that Chinese leaders ?gain political benefits from depicting the country??s security environment as threatening and hostile?, and take resisting US pressure as national pride, thus they are willing to ?prompts confrontation with the United States? over Taiwan issue (Masanduno and Kapstein 1999:6, Masanduno 1999:169).
Apart from ideology factors, Clough (1999:13) argues that due to the strategic significance of Taiwan, Taiwan will be a strategic threat in the hand of unfriendly powers, which makes the unification necessary.
However, some scholars think China has no intention to challenge American hegemony. Yahuda(2004:306) points out that despite the CCP leaders dislike American??s intervention in the Taiwan Strait, they are ?comfortable? with American global hegemony and to some extent welcome American??s intervention in Asia. The logic is that according to the hegemony stability theory, the existence of hegemony contributes to a stable world order, which benefits the development of China a lot. Johnston (1999: 261–301) believes that the increase in China??s military ability may only reflect the China??s hope to raise its international status and to settle regional disputes, which means it does not necessarily lead to balance the American??s power and challenge US global interests. Furthermore, even China feels constrained by American hegemony and has the potential capacity of a regional power to balance US (Ross 2004:267–304), Wu(1998:115–156) believes that China prefers building bilateral relations with American??s rivals rather than direct military confrontation with US. These views can find evidence in the final concession of China in the 1995–1996 Crisis. And some external factors may also have an effect to constrain the conflicts between China and US over Taiwan issue.[18]

(iii) The active role of Taiwan in shaping US-China relations
The Taiwan lobby has been famous for its capacity to challenge American??s ?one China? policy. And it is expected to continuously play an important role in shaping US-China relations in the future.
(Clough 1999:7–23) reveals that the near 100 percent vote in favor of Lee??s visit in 1996 is the fruit of a $ 4.5 million lobby program, and Lee??s visit is also the consequence of the long-term plan of ?selling Taiwan to Americans?. After 1971, Taiwan ?tried to compensate for their lack of access to top executive branch officials by cultivating members of Congress and their staff, governors and members of state legislatures, officials of important U.S. cities, and key media decision makers?. [19]
Furthermore, the democratization in Taiwan adds to Taiwan??s capacity and will in shaping US-China relations [20]. The democratization in Taiwan reflects the wake of ?Taiwan identity? and adds to Taiwan??s will to challenge American??s ?one China? policy. (Clough 1999:8) reminds Chinese leaders that pressures from a democracy society underpinned Lee??s seek for more international recognition. Some evidences of the wake of Taiwan identity are obviously [21]. In the meantime, Yahuda(2004:258-9) believes that despite the unpleasant challenges from Taiwan, PRC may felt constrained from intervening Taiwan issue, the logic here is that the legitimacy of Taiwan??s leader is now ?derived from the people of Taiwan?. However, such an obstacle has somewhat been overcome after PRC??s top legislator passing the ?Anti state-separation Law? in 2005, which authorized using arm force to prevent Taiwan from independence in name of 1.3 billion Chinese people.
There are also some views that the US-China relation may benefit from Taiwan??s democratization. Buzan(2004:184) argue that the democratization of Taiwan from an authoritarian regime many have influence on the long-term debates over whether or not a rising China will be American??s enemy or rival. Christensen (2002) thinks that Taiwan's Chinese democracy will add belief for US to assure China.
Last but not least, Taiwan lobby is not without limitation. The activity of Taiwan lobby in American Congress has disgusted some American officials and scholars [22].

September 2022

Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
Aug |  Today  |
         1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30      

Search this blog

Most recent comments

  • well done! carry on by on this entry

Blog archive

RSS2.0 Atom
Not signed in
Sign in

Powered by BlogBuilder