Wikimedia Commons Chiang Kai-shek in full uniform, 1940.

The China Impasse

A Formosan View

THE present tacit moratorium on the Formosan problem does not give hope that the question will simply resolve itself by the passage of time; it does provide an opportunity to ponder a solution of one of the major foreign policy dilemmas facing the United States. Before pressure to admit Communist China to the United Nations becomes irresistible, the United States should relieve itself of the anomaly of supporting a government which is held to be sovereign where it exerts no authority and which lacks sovereignty where it does.

For it must be remembered that the United States holds the legal status of Formosa to be in abeyance. It maintains that neither the Cairo Declaration nor the Peace Treaty with Japan has operated to make Formosa and the Pescadores formally part of China. To endorse the Chinese claim of sovereignty over Formosa was thought unwise, presumably because to do so would automatically link the question with that of representation of the two rival Chinese régimes, and thereby give legitimate title to whichever régime was victorious in the civil strife.

Both Chinese Governments, of course, claim Formosa and the Pescadores as Chinese soil on the basis of ancient historical connection, the predominantly "Chinese" ethnic origin of the population, and the Cairo Declaration, which stipulated that "Formosa and the Pescadores shall be restored to the Republic of China." As a result, the Nationalists are mistrustful of the United States and the Communists are enraged. The United States has also been placed on the defensive in the war of propaganda. For if Formosa is Chinese territory, then disputes between the People's Republic of China and Chiang Kai-shek groups in Taiwan represent a civil war and any foreign attempt to obstruct the liberation constitutes intervention in China's domestic affair.

But what if Formosa is not Chinese territory? It has wisely been said that nationality is what a people think it is, and Formosans think of themselves as quite distinct from the Chinese. Far from

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