Taiwan is a litmus test of partnership with China
People's Daily Online

The island of Taiwan has historically been an inalienable part of China. Throughout recorded history, Taiwan has never been a sovereign state. The island is referred to as Taiwan Province in the constitution of the People's Republic of China. As the preceding republic, China has inherently owned the province in accordance with its pre-1949 boundaries.

In line with the provisions of international law and regulations, the Chinese claim over Taiwan is bonafide and legitimate. The world has also recognized the island as being an inseparable part of China. The United Nations (UN) has adopted a resolution to accept the legitimate claim of China over Taiwan.

Photo taken on July 21, 2019 from Xiangshan Mountain shows the Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taipei, southeast China's Taiwan. (Xinhua/Zhu Xiang)

On October 25, 1971, the 26th session of the UN General Assembly passed Resolution No. 2758. The resolution announced in clear and definitive language that Taiwan is part of the People's Republic of China. The UN General Assembly recognizes that the representative of the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal representative of China in the United Nations and that the People's Republic of China is one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, and decided to restore all rights to the People's Republic of China and recognize the representatives of its government as the sole legal representatives of China in the United Nations Organization.

On July 23, 2007, then secretary-general of the UN Ban Ki-moon rejected Taiwan's membership bid to "join the UN under the name of Taiwan", citing Resolution 2758 as acknowledging that Taiwan is part of China. The UN is an international organization composed of sovereign states. Taiwan, as a province of China, is completely unqualified and has no right to participate in the global body.

Alongside the UN resolution, the United States, in three Joint US-China Communiqués, has also acknowledged that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The US government attaches great importance to its relations with China and reiterates that it has no intention of infringing on Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity, or interfering in China's internal affairs, or pursuing a policy of 'two Chinas' or 'one China, one Taiwan’.

However, successive US administrations have continued to maintain informal and unofficial relations with the Taiwan authorities, going against their own word given to China, because the US wants to use the Taiwan authorities to contain China’s rise. Under the superpower’s auspices, the authorities have also kept up their diplomatic efforts to gain recognition as a sovereign territory from different countries. They are even trying to cash in on the pandemic to get into some international organizations and agencies.

In a counter move, China seems to have taken the Taiwan issue as the bottom line of its diplomacy, as China has no option of compromising on the issue of its territorial integrity and sovereignty. China, therefore, builds cooperation with countries on the basis of the understanding of the bottom line - the Taiwan issue.

As a result, every friend and partner of China has always remained very cautious and sincere when it comes to dealing with Taiwan, always respecting this bottom line of Chinese diplomacy. However, a few countries have tried to put one foot in both camps, in the past maintaining deep relations with China and simultaneously colluding with Taiwan. These two-faced countries have eventually failed to remain in the good books of China, let alone become its true and trusted friends.

Under changing global circumstances, Taiwan has become the litmus test for becoming a true and sincere friend of China over the years. Even the ranges of partnership with China widely vary from country to country depending on this test. Global circumstances have left China with no option but to make Taiwan a more serious issue when it comes to building and forging ahead in cooperating with any country from any region on the planet.

Under the prudent leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has elevated its relations with China to a strategic cooperative partnership. The people of Bangladesh expect to reap the highest dividends of these elevated ties with China.

The author is the China Correspondent of the Bangladesh Post.