There are certain fundamental interests of China, Taiwan, the United States, and the Asia-Pacific community which must be protected if a peaceful, fair, and equitable solution to the Taiwan issue is to be found. These respective interests would seem to include:
The interests of China must be protected by firm commitments from Taipei that Taiwan is part of China and that it will not seek to become an independent country, separate from China, and from Washington that the United States will not support Taiwan independence.
The interests of Taiwan must be protected by guarantees of its autonomy from communist rule, a respectful place in the international community, security from threat or intimidation from the PRC, and freedom from U.S. pressure to enter into negotiations with Beijing.
The interests of the United States must be protected by peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait region, good relations with both the mainland and Taiwan in a manner consistent with Sino-American communiques and the U.S. Taiwan Relations Act, and assurances that both sides of the Taiwan Strait are committed to a gradual, peaceful, and mutually beneficial resolution of their differences.
The interests of the Asia-Pacific community must be protected by assurances from Beijing that it will not seek regional hegemony, and from Taipei that it will not precipitate a war with the mainland by rejecting the idea of a united China in the future.
If these basic interests can be protected, then a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan issue seems achievable over time. However, there are major obstacles to this architecture, which are discussed in the four essays that follow in this section.
December 18, 2011