The Republic of China (R.O.C.) has a unique international personality. It was a founding member of the United Nations, yet since 1971 it has not been a member state of the U.N. or of any of its specialized agencies. It has scored impressive successes in political, economic and social development and in science and technology—indeed, the R.O.C. today is ranked as one of the most developed of the developing countries. Yet it has been asked to leave the World Bank, the World Health Organization, UNESCO, the International Atomic Energy Agency and other international organizations. The R.O.C. even faces the danger of losing its membership in the Asian Development Bank.

Despite these setbacks, the R.O.C. on Taiwan still enjoys wide contacts with many nations and international bodies. It is still recognized by 25 nations and maintains substantive (though unofficial) relations with more than 140 others. Some 21 nations have official representation in Taiwan, and the R.O.C. maintains 90 official and unofficial offices abroad. It is a member of ten international organizations that limit their membership to governments, and of 656 non-governmental international organizations.

The base for the Chinese Nationalist Party (the Kuomintang) since 1949, when Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek’s forces withdrew from the mainland, Taiwan lies 100 miles off the coast. A population of 18.7 million inhabit a land area of about 14,000 square miles, forming one of Asia’s most dynamic free industrial and trading economies.

For 36 years, the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) has sought unsuccessfully to diminish the R.O.C.’s international stature. As late as March 1982, the P.R.C. Foreign Ministry circulated a note to all foreign embassies in Peking, demanding promises that they neither establish offices in Taiwan nor allow official or unofficial R.O.C. representation in their countries.

The R.O.C. has been able to maintain a vigorous international existence for several reasons. First, it has effectively exercised sovereign control over Taiwan and Penghu (the Pescadores), and offshore islands such as Kinmen (Quemoy) and Matsu in the Taiwan Strait, for the past four decades. Second, the Republic of China has brought substantial trade and cultural benefits to the world. Third, it has enjoyed the support and respect of the great majority of the Chinese communities overseas, and also on the Chinese mainland: over the years, 2.5 million refugees from Chinese communism have chosen Taiwan as their haven of freedom. Fourth, no matter how small the R.O.C. may be in size and population (in comparison with the P.R.C.), its success story offers an alternative to the record of misrule and the cruelties of communism on the mainland.

II

Recent changes in the domestic and foreign policies of the P.R.C. have been greeted by the world at large with relief and high expectations: relief that the "revolutionary" phase of the Chinese communist revolution seemed to have finally exhausted itself, and expectations that a more stable and self-sufficient China would emerge to make a greater contribution to the world order. In the view of many Western observers, the once predominant perception of a Chinese communist threat appears to have lost its validity.

To the R.O.C., however, the threat of Communist China remains. Some Westerners rejoiced that Teng Hsiao-p’ing announced "anti-hegemony" to be one of the P.R.C.’s three major tasks for the 1980s, but the people of Taiwan took wary note that "reunification" was also on his list, along with modernization. Indeed, the P.R.C. constitution as amended in 1982 (the fourth amendment since 1949) explicitly proclaims the reunification of Taiwan with the mainland as one of its policy goals.

More ominously, Peking has never renounced its so-called sovereign right to use force to achieve this goal. The military balance in the Taiwan Strait has been widely analyzed: the P.R.C. enjoys vast quantitative superiority and is capable of launching a full range of offensive actions against the R.O.C. But, it is argued, the P.R.C. leaders are constrained by broader considerations, such as the reactions of the United States, the Soviet Union, Vietnam and Japan, and being rational and attentive to costs and benefits, they will not attempt an invasion unless forced to do so by contingencies thus far not foreseen.

One cannot be complacent. The P.R.C. continues to modernize its defense capability—even receiving some U.S. assistance in various areas. The R.O.C., on the other hand, is restricted by the U.S.-P.R.C. joint communiqué of August 17, 1982, from purchasing advanced weapons, such as high-performance fighters, from the United States. Thus, the qualitative edge that the R.O.C. is said to enjoy currently is bound gradually to disappear. Moreover, the P.R.C. is coming to enjoy the favorable position of being the pursued rather than the pursuer in the U.S.-Soviet-P.R.C. triangle. In the coming decade, strategic constraints may not be as powerful a deterrent to aggression toward Taiwan. Finally, communist leaders are no more immune to folly or miscalculation than are capitalists. North Korea’s attack on South Korea in 1950 and the P.R.C.’s costly campaign against Vietnam in 1979 are but two examples. P.R.C. policymaking, thus, is often driven as much by perceived ideological and/or national needs and opportunities as by rational calculation of costs and benefits.

As part of Peking’s "reunification" policy, the P.R.C. is maneuvering internationally, particularly with regard to the United States. The P.R.C.’s strategy, not well understood in the West, is two-pronged. First is a step-by-step strangulation of the R.O.C. through increasingly stringent limits on U.S.-R.O.C. ties. Second, Peking is attempting to foster an international image of "reasonableness" in pursuing a policy of peace toward Taiwan. The stream of proposals that started flowing on January 1, 1979, the day of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and the P.R.C., has sought to establish a record of numerous "peace offers." But parallel to these "peace" overtures, the P.R.C. has also consistently applied pressure on the R.O.C. in diplomatic, economic, even athletic and cultural activities. These tactics have spread distrust and anger in the minds of the people of Taiwan, who are determined to remain alive and well in the family of nations.

III

The Republic of China clings, to the bewilderment of many in the West, to a one-China policy, despite its many diplomatic setbacks. This is not irrational; it is at once a choice of belief and of necessity.

"China" names a country and symbolizes a cultural system, of which Confucianism has long been a fundamental ingredient. Confucian thought has helped maintain the continuity of Chinese culture, serving to propel the advances of the Chinese people over centuries past. Late in the nineteenth century, traditional Chinese culture faced a powerful onslaught of Western influence. For the last hundred years, China has been trying to reconcile the incoming Western culture with its own.

Developing under two different systems on either side of the Taiwan Strait, Chinese culture has been heading in two very different directions since 1949. On the mainland, communism, a heresy within Western civilization, has become official dogma, and the Chinese communists have repeatedly attempted to destroy traditional Chinese culture. At the same time, the R.O.C. on Taiwan has implemented modern and universal education, and succeeded in importing Western ideas and practices without abandoning its cultural heritage.

From the viewpoint of many social scientists, the major reason for Taiwan’s successful modernization has been its efforts to preserve the content and form of Chinese culture, while incorporating elements of Western culture where appropriate and beneficial. It is my view that Taiwan’s experience can serve as a model for Communist China, and Taiwan’s cultural synthesis promises to be the mainstream of the modern Chinese culture of the future.

Since ancient times, the notion of one unified China has been deeply embedded in the minds of all Chinese. Perhaps alone among the major world civilizations, China is marked by a single, unbroken line of cultural identity. Periods of political division have always given way to much longer periods of political unity. In fact, the struggles among political groups in China’s history have often revolved around competing claims to represent the whole of China—politically, legally and morally. The current conflict between the R.O.C. and the P.R.C. fits this pattern. It is a struggle for power, but also a clash of competing claims to cultural and political legitimacy. Under the burden of Chinese history, neither the R.O.C. nor the P.R.C. could dare to deviate from the one-China concept and still claim legitimacy as a Chinese entity.

If Taiwan were to succumb to a two-China policy and declare independence, it would probably provoke an attack from the mainland. Not only would conflict intensify among diverse political groups inside Taiwan, but questions of reallocating political authority would immediately be posed. The dominant Kuomintang has consistently received more than 70 percent of the vote in elections over the past three decades, particularly impressive in light of the fact that more than three-quarters of its membership now are Taiwanese by birth. If, for whatever reason, the R.O.C. were to declare independence, active political opposition groups, which became vocal during the diplomatic setbacks of the late 1970s, would seek to take advantage of the situation to gain political power. Once such a political confrontation developed, political and social stability, which has served as the very foundation of Taiwan’s progress for years, would no longer be possible.

Therefore, the R.O.C. believes that by maintaining a one-China policy, it can not only avoid these dangers of political and social instability, but also nurture the hope that its achievements during its sojourn on Taiwan will eventually win the respect and support of the Chinese people.

Taipei has repeatedly attempted to exercise flexibility within a fixed posture of one China. For example, it agreed to participate in the 1984 Olympic Games and in the 13th Asian Baseball Championships Series (held in Australia in January 1985) under the name "Chinese Taipei." The R.O.C. government in Taipei also has encouraged active participation, even agreeing not to use its official state name or fly its national flag, in non-governmental international organizations, in hopes of expanding ties with other societies. There is a limit, however, to its flexibility in these matters. So long as it is a non-governmental gathering, the R.O.C. is willing to bend over backwards to join. But if the gathering is governmental or official in nature, then the R.O.C. must insist on using its national name—the Republic of China—and its national flag.

The R.O.C. also cannot afford to enter into any official negotiations with the P.R.C. Internal politics in Taiwan are delicate and confrontational, and any move by the government to negotiate with the P.R.C. regarding Taiwan’s future would immediately trigger mass opposition. Although the people of Taiwan welcome a united China, this must come about on their terms and not under those imposed by the P.R.C. It would be suicidal for the Nationalist government to be a party to any negotiations with the P.R.C. so long as the P.R.C. remains an essentially communist state.

IV

Several pending issues directly affect the future security of the R.O.C., most immediately the issue of Hong Kong. Since the P.R.C. obviously intends to use the Hong Kong formula to solve the so-called Taiwan question, the premier of the R.O.C., Yu Kuo-hwa, declared last September that the Republic of China would not recognize the U.K.-P.R.C. agreement on Hong Kong, finally signed on December 19, 1984, which grants Peking sovereignty over the British Crown Colony as of 1997. The R.O.C. considers itself to be the legal government of China, and the Chinese in Hong Kong to be its overseas nationals. Besides its legitimate concern over the fate of the people of Hong Kong, the R.O.C. also realizes the political and economic significance of Hong Kong. Sun Yat-sen’s 1911 revolution had its beginnings in Hong Kong; from there it was taken to Canton, and from Shanghai to the inner Yangtze Valley, until the Republic of China was finally established in 1912. Using the past as a mirror for the future, the R.O.C. believes that Hong Kong can increasingly serve as a springboard for extending capitalist, free-enterprise and democratic influence to the Chinese mainland.

It is the R.O.C.’s hope that those who choose to remain in Hong Kong be able to continue to live in freedom and prosperity. The R.O.C. stands ready to extend its support and assistance in this regard. In his September statement, Premier Yu welcomed Hong Kong residents considering resettlement in Taiwan, promising one-year multiple-entry visas and the right to withdraw funds from Taiwan’s offshore bank. He also invited them to educate their children in Taiwan.

Two other issues are often raised in discussing the R.O.C. responses to P.R.C. threats to its security. One is whether the R.O.C. should play a "Soviet card"; the other is whether it should develop nuclear weapons. The answer to both these questions is no.

To the government on Taiwan, the "Soviet card" is a red herring. The R.O.C.’s survival and eventual victory over Chinese communism is predicated on the maintenance of the respect and goodwill of its compatriots on the mainland. If the R.O.C. were ever to resort to a tactical alliance with the Soviet Union, its image as a Chinese state upholding Chinese nationalism would be destroyed. As for becoming a nuclear power, the R.O.C. government has rejected this option for many years on three grounds. First, it would provide an easy excuse for the P.R.C. to retaliate militarily against Taiwan. Second, it would be unthinkable and unforgivable for the R.O.C. ever to use such weapons on its own people on the mainland. Third, it would be so prohibitive in cost that the economic development of the island would be seriously harmed.

With these two issues laid to rest, the R.O.C.’s national security now relies on two endeavors: the acquisition of advanced weapons from the United States and other nations, and the development of a domestic defense industry.

The P.R.C.’s military might is rapidly increasing, and it has built up a heavy concentration of forces on its side of the Taiwan Strait. The P.R.C. deploys more aircraft—fighter, bomber and reconnaissance—against the R.O.C. than against the Soviet Union. Today the P.R.C. has close to 5,300 combat aircraft as compared to slightly more than 500 for the R.O.C. Unless the R.O.C.’s requests for more advanced aircraft, submarines and other types of sophisticated military hardware are fulfilled very soon, the security imbalance will become threatening. Add to this the P.R.C.’s superiority in nuclear weapons, major surface combat ships and submarines, and its massive number of troops, and the R.O.C.’s defense picture becomes even gloomier. Accordingly, the government has assigned high priority to establishing a large degree of independence in its domestic production of military weapons.

Faced with overwhelming pressures and shrewd tactics from the Chinese communists, the R.O.C. enjoys little room for maneuver and an even smaller margin of error. Its weakness and alleged inflexibility stem not from lack of effort but from its unique policy environment. Its strength stems less from its various tangible efforts than from a deep-seated historical sense that its existence and cause will in the long run prove worth the while.

V

The R.O.C. on Taiwan represents the culmination of a century-old Chinese quest for "modernization" and "democratization," and offers a viable alternative to the communist experiment on the Chinese mainland. It also stands as a strategic bastion in the western Pacific.

The R.O.C. exercises jurisdictional control not only over the Pescadores, but also over the offshore islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Tung-yin, Wu-chiu, Pratas and the Spratlys. These islands are advantageously situated astride the main sea-lanes of the Pacific Basin and those connecting the Pacific and the Indian Oceans. The sea-lanes around Japan, the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa), Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are vital not only to the United States but also to all free nations in east Asia. The choke points are the Straits of Malacca, the Taiwan Strait, the Bashi Strait and the Tsushima Strait. If the free nations were to lose control over any one of these choke points, the sea-lanes between the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific would be severely endangered.

The R.O.C. can be considered the free world’s "unsinkable aircraft carrier" in the western Pacific. More than 3,500 offshore islands line the China coast, of which Taiwan is the largest. Its loss could break the continuous defensive chain of the Asian rimland stretching from Japan to the Republic of Korea and the Ryukyus, down to the Philippines and on to Southeast Asia. In light of the massive Soviet buildup of naval strength in the western Pacific in recent years, Taiwan has become especially important to regional security; it lies along the most direct routes for Soviet naval vessels traveling southward from bases on the Soviet Pacific coast to points such as Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam. Without the R.O.C. as a friendly power, the security of Japan, the Republic of Korea and the Philippines would be seriously jeopardized. In addition to its geostrategic location, the R.O.C. maintains a strong military force, with outstanding naval and air bases and other logistical support facilities, and air and naval forces equipped with American-made weapons systems.

In short, the R.O.C. on Taiwan could directly support a variety of strategic interests for the United States and other east Asian free nations. It also serves the basic U.S. objective of maintaining a secure, stable and prosperous group of pro-Western nations in the Asian-Pacific region as a whole.

VI

The economic performance of the Republic of China over the past 36 years has been internationally regarded as something of a miracle. Annual economic growth has averaged nine percent during this period, and except for the recession years of the two world oil crises, 1973 and 1979, price levels have remained stable. Foreign trade has also grown rapidly—an annual increase of about 25 percent over the last two decades or so.

Last year, the R.O.C.’s per capita gross national product reached a record $3,000, and overall two-way trade topped $52.4 billion, with an export volume of $30.5 billion. This trade record last year made the R.O.C. the 15th largest trading country in the world in terms of volume and the 11th in exports. Along with Japan, West Germany and Saudi Arabia, the R.O.C. was one of the few countries that enjoyed a trade surplus in 1984. The R.O.C. today is the fifth largest trading partner of the United States; the R.O.C.’s total trade with the United States in 1984 was $19.8 billion (two-way trade between the United States and the P.R.C., by contrast, was $6.2 billion in 1984).

The R.O.C. has managed to maintain a substantial equality of income distribution during this period of rapid economic growth. In 1984, the ratio between the incomes of households in the top 20 percent and those in the bottom 20 percent was a remarkable 4.3 to 1.

A spinoff of the R.O.C.’s economic progress has been the sharing of experience and fortune with other nations. From 1954 to the present, the R.O.C. government has trained at least 7,500 persons from more than 20 nations in its various foreign assistance programs, including land reform, family planning, agricultural and industrial improvement, transportation, public health, education, public administration and community development. Even today the R.O.C. still maintains technical assistance programs in more than 20 countries, including many which have no diplomatic relations with the R.O.C.

But the question is properly raised, what about the future of Taiwan’s economy? Assuming continued peace across the Taiwan Strait, the crucial question is whether the R.O.C. can successfully upgrade its economic and production structure to meet the challenge of less developed countries with lower production costs, as well as the challenge from its more comparable competitors, the newly industrialized countries of Asia. Several factors are in the R.O.C.’s favor.

First, there is the high caliber of education and training on Taiwan. One-fourth of the population is currently enrolled in some kind of school. Ten percent of the work force has a college education; 30 percent has a senior high or senior vocational school education; 25 percent of R.O.C. youth are in colleges or universities. During the past three decades, out of the 85,000 students that went abroad for advanced education (most to the United States), 12,000 have returned to Taiwan and assumed leadership roles in various sectors of society. This return flow of human talent has been on the rise in recent years; between 1979 and 1984 about 5,300 returned, over 800 with doctorates and almost 4,500 with master’s degrees.

Another factor contributing to the enhancement of the R.O.C.’s industrial base is the development of a strong defense industry. Faced with a constant threat from the P.R.C. and an uncertain arms supply from abroad, nearly eight percent of the R.O.C.’s GNP, over 50 percent of its national budget, goes to defense, including a defense industry that strives for as much self-sufficiency as possible.

The current economic policy of the R.O.C. government is to promote both public and private investment. Private sector investment has been low for the past decade or so; concern with unfavorable diplomatic and security developments has clearly been a major contributing factor. In 1984, the R.O.C. government decided to increase its annual public investment through the early 1990s by $20 billion in order to launch 14 national development projects, including steel plants, environmental protection and facilities for electric power. The government has also adopted policies aiming to make Taiwan’s financial and trade policies more liberal and international in substance and orientation; for example, by lowering tariffs, easing the flow of capital into and out of the country, and offering more incentives for foreign investment.

The R.O.C.’s level of economic development is not too far removed from that of the developed nations, is very close to that of Hong Kong and Singapore, and is far ahead of the P.R.C. and other Asian nations. Economists estimate that Taiwan will be able to maintain an annual growth rate of 6.5-7 percent over the next 15 years, and its per capita income in the year 2000 will be $11-12,000. (The P.R.C.’s projected per capita income in the year 2000 is $1,000.)

A century ago, Yen Fu, a reform-minded scholar of note, declared that for China to continue to survive and flourish in the family of nations, it must strive to be rich and powerful. Following the collapse of the Ch’ing dynasty and the creation of the Republic of China, Sun Yat-sen proclaimed his now-famous Three Principles of the People: nationalism, democracy, and the people’s well-being. During the May Fourth Movement of 1919, democracy and science were upheld as the supreme goals for China’s future. The late President Chiang Kai-shek later supplemented these goals with that of ethics. At the same time, the Chinese Communist Party presented itself as "peasant reformers," and the aims of the communist revolution in China were said to be, in part, anti-feudalism and anti-imperialism.

Looking back at this historical experience, one is inclined to ask: who has truly inherited the spirit of the modern Chinese revolution? Who has more successfully accomplished the goal of modernization? Who has done more and better things for the peasants, the "broad masses," and the "people"? Who has really removed the vestiges of feudalism and imperialism left from China’s old society?

For the average Chinese on the street today, the pertinent indicators are such factors as per capita income, the number and quality of schools, hospitals and museums, and basic human rights. Here the Chinese communist experiment seems to have failed miserably, not only when compared to Taiwan, but also when compared to the Chinese Communist Party’s own initial goals. The fact that the R.O.C. on Taiwan has built itself up from a poor resource base and in a besieged security environment into a nation envied by many Third World countries is, in and of itself, a potent challenge to everything the Chinese communists claim to stand for: "revolution," "modernization," or even "socialism."

It is in this sense that the existence and continued prosperity of the R.O.C. have served to goad the P.R.C. to change and reform. It is no exaggeration to say that many of the economic reform programs of the P.R.C. today are direct or indirect results of the impact of R.O.C. achievements on Taiwan, a fact the P.R.C. leaders have openly, if reluctantly, admitted. The P.R.C.’s establishment of special economic zones, for example, was inspired by the success story of the R.O.C.’s export processing zones in Kaoshiung, Taichung and Nantze, which earn billions of dollars for Taiwan. As long as this beneficent influence from Taiwan continues, mainland China will be impelled to change. The belief of the people on Taiwan that we can continue to exert such a positive impact on the Chinese mainland in the years to come gives heightened significance to Taiwan’s existence and success.

VII

Despite its disavowal of any intention to interfere in the resolution of the Chinese destiny, the United States has been and remains a participant in the process. In the decade to come, there are two major issues that the United States will have to deal with skillfully and fairly. One is the question of the R.O.C.’s national security and the related question of U.S. arms sales to the R.O.C.; the other is the ever-present danger of P.R.C. military pressure on Taiwan.

In fiscal year 1979, U.S. arms sales to Taiwan were valued at nearly $600 million. The upper limit for arms sales in 1983 was $800 million. But according to the State Department, the limit on arms sales to the R.O.C. in 1984 was reduced to $780 million, and will drop further to $760 million in 1985 and $740 million in 1986.

The Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 stipulates that the nature and quantity of American arms to be made available to Taiwan should be based on the principle that Taiwan shall be allowed to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability. It follows that the United States must take into consideration the military relationship between Communist China and Taiwan. If there is an increase in the P.R.C.’s military capability, the quality and quantity of arms made available to Taiwan should be correspondingly upgraded.

But the issue of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan cannot be discussed solely in terms of the quality and quantity of weapons. Also to be considered is the influence of this supply on the morale of the people of Taiwan, as well as on Taiwan’s economic development. In addition to the objective enhancement of Taiwan’s security, advanced arms sales to Taiwan can serve to bring a stronger sense of security to the populace and thus ensure continued economic progress in Taiwan.

The danger of P.R.C. military action against Taiwan in the next decade stems not only from Peking’s outright adventurism, but also from its possible miscalculations. If the P.R.C. were to mount a military attack against Taiwan, the United States would be confronted with an awkward choice: hasty intervention, difficult mediation or a humiliating backdown. At stake would be not only the lives and well-being of the nearly 19 million people on Taiwan, but the credibility of the United States as an ally and the bulwark of freedom and democracy.

The postwar American involvement in world affairs seems to indicate that a policy without a firm root in American ideals—hence without the support of the American people—cannot long survive or escape the judgment of history. The reality today seems to be that while the American people favor a normalized relationship with the P.R.C., they continue to value their long-standing ties with the government and people on Taiwan. While America’s Asian allies find merits in a stable relationship between Washington and Peking, they remain suspicious of the direction of Peking’s future policy and watchful of the way Washington handles the P.R.C./R.O.C. issue. It seems only prudent for the United States to reaffirm from time to time its commitment to the security of Taiwan until this issue can finally be solved by the Chinese themselves—in their own way and in their own time.

VIII

History as well as necessity have dictated the long-term goal of the Republic of China, namely, a unified China. But this does not mean a China under the communist system, which has proven to be such an utter failure on the mainland that it has invoked the anger and hatred of the people subjected to it. Rather, it should be a China where basic human rights are universally guaranteed, in theory and in practice; where the people’s energies are fully released to work at the long overdue task of nation-building; and where the aspirations of the Chinese people to lead a decent life can be fulfilled.

Whither the R.O.C. on Taiwan? What will be its final fate in the long drawn-out competition and struggle with the P.R.C.? Our belief today is that, after a prolonged period of competition between the R.O.C. and the P.R.C., developments on the mainland will slowly but surely turn in our favor.

The roots of communism in China are shallow, its base is weak. We believe traditional Chinese culture to be the ultimate preventive to communism taking permanent root. After 36 years of competition, the R.O.C. has already demonstrated its superiority in every factor except size, population and military power; its living standard has become increasingly attractive to its compatriots on the Chinese mainland.

On the surface, the P.R.C. appears to be reviving as a result of its recent economic reform program. But in reality, the society is full of current and potential problems. We believe that the opening of reform will produce a kind of revolution of rising expectations which will so seriously shake the political and ideological foundations of the communist government, as it is constituted today, that for the sake of survival the Chinese people and their communist leaders will have to look for other models of state-building and government administration. The Hong Kong model is basically a free-port and colonial model and, as such, it is both inapplicable and distasteful. The Singapore model applies only to a city-state and cannot be copied. The "Chinatown" model in many Western societies is too insignificant and too tainted with foreign influence to be an example. Therefore, it is only natural for the people and government on mainland China to choose the Taiwan model as a solution.

People on the mainland are gaining increasing knowledge of Taiwan’s achievements through the news media and Chinese and foreign visitors. The significance of the Taiwan success story is that it was accomplished by Chinese people themselves and, that being the case, there is no intrinsic reason why the Chinese people of any province on the mainland cannot repeat the Taiwan story. Herein lies the irresistible attraction of the Taiwan model. Once our model is chosen, the foundation for China’s reunification will be laid. When this happens, we will naturally play a very significant role in determining the future form and substance of Chinese politics on the mainland. In short, the R.O.C. on Taiwan is, and will increasingly be, the guiding light for the future development of mainland China.

Nations, like humans, live by good works as well as by faith. We have had both, and they have made our life in Taiwan a meaningful one. The Taiwan story is not only an economic miracle but a magnetic force for a united China of tomorrow.

You are reading a free article.

Subscribe to Foreign Affairs to get unlimited access.

  • Paywall-free reading of new articles and a century of archives
  • Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading
  • Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions
Subscribe Now
  • YU-MING SHAW is Director of the Institute of International Relations of National Chengchi University, Republic of China. Previously on the history faculty at the University of Notre Dame, he is the author of many books in Chinese and English, including Essays on Sino-American Relations. The author wishes to thank his colleagues at the IIR for assistance in preparing this article, an adaptation of a paper presented to the Atlantic Council of the U.S.
  • More By Yu-ming Shaw