Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bruce Jacobs' Open Letter to Hsieh and Ma

This morning Apple Daily published an open letter from respected Taiwan scholar Bruce Jacobs, directed at the two presidential candidates.

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An Open Letter to Frank Hsieh and Ma Ying-jeou
(給謝長廷和馬英九一封公開信)

By Bruce Jacobs (家博)

Over eighty per cent of the residents of Taiwan (台灣住民) want this country (本國)to be a member of the United Nations. As both of you have recognized in the past, this country is a sovereign nation (有主權的國家). According to international law, the best definition of a sovereign nation appears in the “Convention On Rights And Duties Of States” signed in Montevideo on December 26, 1933. According to this Treaty, a sovereign state has four characteristics: “a ) a permanent population; b ) a defined territory; c ) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.” This nation clearly has all four of these characteristics. In addition, the people of this nation freely and democratically elect the nation’s government.

This clear unity among the people of this nation in desiring to participate in the United Nations has been lost in partisan bickering. I urge you both to put aside partisan interests and to concentrate on national interests.

In order to demonstrate to the world the desire of the people of this nation to belong to the United Nations, I would urge you both to reach a three-point agreement:

1. In discussing membership of the United Nations, you put aside the issue of “name” and do not refer to “Taiwan” or the “Republic of China.” In discussing membership of the United Nations, you can both refer to “this country” (本國).
2. In discussing membership of the United Nations, you put aside the issue of whether this country shall “join the United Nations” (入聯) or “return to the United Nations (返聯).” Rather, you can both refer to “participating in the United Nations” (參加聯合國).
3. You both urge all voters to support both UN referenda in the March 22 election.

With both of you supporting the two referenda, it is highly likely that both referenda will pass. This will send an important message to the world community that this nation is a sovereign nation that both wants and deserves to be a member of the United Nations. On the contrary, failing to pass the two referenda would send exactly the wrong message to the world community.

Such an agreement between the two of you would also go far towards diminishing political division in this nation and help to forge a new national unity.

Respectfully yours,

J. Bruce Jacobs (家博)

作者為澳洲蒙納士大學亞洲語言與研究講座教授暨台灣研究室主任.

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Good luck. Based on the election results, I see a lot of pious words but little real cooperation on this. Further, since the KMT is working with China, it doesn't seem very likely. And then there is the Bush Administration, which issued another round of attacks on the UN referendum just prior to the election.

12 comments:

阿牛 said...

This would obviously be ideal, and I can actually see Hsieh endorsing this idea; as I said, I don't think the KMT would be game.

Arty said...

a ) a permanent population; b ) a defined territory; c ) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.” This nation clearly has all four of these characteristics.

So? So is all 50 states of the United States of America. Does that mean any states in the US can freely secede from the Unions? NO! Not without a war at least.

Wulingren said...

Hsieh has already made a similar proposal. He suggested last week that both referendums are favorable to Taiwan, and that people should vote for both. Ma responded that it is already too late to discuss the referendums, since the format has already been decided on.

STOP Ma said...

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So? So is all 50 states of the United States of America. Does that mean any states in the US can freely secede from the Unions? NO! Not without a war at least.

Well, each state has federal and state defined government. Taiwan does not. Taiwan is self-ruled and does not rely on any "outside" governance.

(c) should read, "self-ruled" or something to that effect.
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Hai Tien said...

arty said...

Minor detail: The states voluntarily joined the Union. Taiwan never joined the PRC. You can't break a contract you never entered into.

Hai Tien said...

arty said...

And for the record, in the US foreign relations are handled at the federal level, as specified in the Constitution that all the states ratified and abide by. So your little assertion there doesn't hold.

Maoman said...

Excellent article - thanks Michael! I'm going to link to it in my blog as well...

Arty said...

Minor detail: The states voluntarily joined the Union.

Ever heard of Civil War?

And for the record, in the US foreign relations are handled at the federal level

Not all of them. States could have trade agreements with other countries as long as they don't contradict the Federal government.

B.BarNavi said...

Arty, please give me one example where a given state, say, the economic powerhouse known as California, has independently made ANY relations with a sovereign nation. Go ahead.

One of the points of the Constitution (read it!) was that states wouldn't go around making their own currencies. And you know who manages MARITIME (i.e. foreign) trade? The federal government.

B.BarNavi said...

Oh, and we're well aware of the history of the War of Northern Aggression.* All of those states had to become party to the Constitution in order to be admitted to the Union. In fact, SOME of these rebelling states were the first to help ratify the Constitution in the first place! And if that's not enough - the main view of the Union throughout the war was that secession was ILLEGAL, and the southern states NEVER seceded in the first place! (How else could the Emancipation Proclamation have had any effect?)

Taiwan never agreed to be part of the PRC. It is simply claimed territory. Any "anti-secession" piece of scare-legislature has no meaning whatsoever in Taiwan.

*FTR, I'm a yankee-boy

Arty said...

Arty, please give me one example where a given state, say, the economic powerhouse known as California, has independently made ANY relations with a sovereign nation. Go ahead.

Each states have International trade departments. Would you call it entering relationship?

http://www.cted.wa.gov/

http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/ibrp/ibrp.htm

If not, you got me and I am wrong.

Oh, and we're well aware of the history of the War of Northern Aggression.*

Sure, you are a Yankee boy. So who fire the first shot in the Civil War? I don't even know people still use the War of Northern Aggression. I guess you also have a Confederate flag somewhere.

Taiwan never agreed to be part of the PRC. It is simply claimed territory.

First Taiwan's constitution is the constitution of the Republic of China. Now go look at the map in Taiwan which claims to be the full map of ROC. It has more territory than the PRC's one. I know it is not in syn with the reality but as long as Taiwan call itself ROC...you got a problem. Come on be a man and declare independence, NOT!

Anonymous said...

70% of Taiwan's people want an independent Taiwan (this is different from declaring independence). All your technicalities are really irrelevant in the face of the fact of what Taiwan's people want.