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Taiwan's International Status Today*

  • Byron S. J. Weng

In the past three decades Taiwan has gained in terms of its economy but has substantially waned in terms of its international status.

Economically, Taiwan has performed so impressively that it has become one of the newly industrialized countries (NICs) that are the envy of many developing nations. Its sustained high growth rate over a fairl, long period commands respect from economists all over the world. In 1983 the GNP of the country approached US$50 billion and its per capita income reached US$2, 444. It is one of the world's top 15 trading nation" and has enjoyed a favourable balance of payments for many years. The 1983 exports and imports were valued at US$25, 117 million and 20, 285 million, respectively.

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1. SeeClough, Ralph N., “Taiwan's international status,” in Chiu, Hungdah and Downen, Robert (eds), Multi-system Nations and International Law (Baltimore: Occasional Papeis/Reprints Series in Contemporary Asian Studies [hereafter cited as OPRSCAS]), No. 8–1981, pp. 141–59.

2. The KMT Government has bolstered its legitimacy by adopting temporary legislation which effectively shelves the most important provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of China under the guise that a civil war exists between the nationalists and the communist rebels. Such temporary legislation has been amended as needed over the years.

3. See the statement by Holbrooke, Richard on 11 06 1980, “Review of relations with Taiwan”, published by U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs;

4. Report to the First Meeting, 50th Session of the First Legislative Yuan, 29 September 1972.

5. Instructions to the Foreign Ministry, 3 November 1972.

6. The premier's oral report to the First Meeting of the 52nd Session of the First Legislative Yuan, 25 September 1973.

7. See Chien, Frederick, “Current situation regarding foreign relations of our country,” Haiwai xueren (Scholars Abroad) (Taipei), No. 112 (11 1971), pp. 211; and Chapters on foreign relations in the annual Yearbook of the Republic of China.

8. SeeJiyu, Zhuang, “Some observations on Sino-Korean relations”, Minzhuren (The Democrat) (Taipei), No. 9 (1 06 1983), pp. 3031; Zongmao, Xuet al., “Diplomatic red light over the basketball court,” Shibao zhazhi (China Times Magazine) (Taipei), No. 228 (11 04 1984), pp. 712.

9. See Ming Bao Daily, 7 March 1984, and editorial of the same paper, 20 March 1984.

10. Guidelines for Personnel Attending International Conferences (Executive Yuan, 3 July 1979); Guidelines for Dispatching Personnel to International Conferences and for Convening International Conferences (Executive Yuan, 3 July 1979).

11. See Yang's, report on Qishi niandai (The Seventies Monthly), No. 163 (08 1983) and Renmin ribao (People's Daily), 29 July 1983, p. 1.

12. See my Taiwan and the politics of international sports”, a paper presented at the Conference on Taiwan's Future, 81208 1983, in Beijing;

13. See Liu, Melinda, “Taiwan's secret ‘peace’ with the mainland,” Far Eastern Economic Review, 6 10 1978, pp. 810;

14. Wren, Christopher S., “China and Taiwan develop unofficial contacts,” International Herald Tribune, 24 02 1984, p. 5;

15. See, e.g. Chiu, Hungdah, Zhongmei quanxi wenti lunji (Essays on Questions Regarding Sino-American Relations) (Taipei: Shibao Cultural Publishers, Ltd., 1979), pp. 31 ff;

16. Seeibid. pp. 119–30. For the text and relevant legislation history of the TRA, see Wolff, Lester L. and Simon, David L. (eds.), Legislative History of the Taiwan Relations Act; An Analytic Compilation with Documents on Subsequent Developments (Jamaica, N.Y.: American Association for Chinese Studies, 1982); U.S. Congress, 96th Congress, Second Session, Taiwan: One Year After United States-China Normalization, a Workshop sponsored by the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate and Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1980);

17. Texts of these agreements are in Chiu, Hungdah (ed.), Chinese Yearbook of International Law and Affairs, Published by OPRSCAS for the Chinese Society of International Law – Chinese (Taiwan) Branch of International Law Association, Vol. 1 (1981), pp. 194255; Vol. 2 (1982), pp. 344–80.

18. See Wolff, and Simon, (eds.), Legislative History, pp. 312–29;

19. See Junshan, Shen, “Peaceful competition of two systems under one China,” Qishi niandai. No. 171 (04 1984), pp. 6873;

20. See Chiu and Downen (eds.), Multi-system Nations.

21. See Zongmao, Xu, “We are endeavouring to win friends all the time,” Shibao zhazhi (ChinaTimes Magazine), No. 221 (22 02 1984), p. 20;

* I acknowledge with thanks the Centre for Chinese Studies, Wolfson College/St. Anthony's College, Oxford University for a pleasant association and for the privileges extended to me during the period in which this article was written.

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The China Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0305-7410
  • EISSN: 1468-2648
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