Taiwan’s Journey From Troublemaker to Peacemaker

Though relations between China and Taiwan have improved dramatically in the past two years, the fundamental causes underlying the threat of conflict – into which the US could easily be drawn – have not been removed. But they could be, if China acknowledged Taiwan's right to national self-determination, and Taiwan agreed not to declare independence.

OXFORD – Is the “harmonious society” that Chinese President Hu Jintao constantly proclaims being realized in China’s relations with Taiwan?

Before Ma Ying-jeou became President of Taiwan (officially known as the Republic of China) in May 2008, Taiwan was regularly portrayed in China as a “troublemaker,” and was the main cause of tension between China and the United States. Now Taiwan has become something of a diplomatic afterthought because it no longer makes trouble. At the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, indeed, Taiwan was barely mentioned, as North Korea, Iran, and the value of the renminbi claimed the most attention.

It has always been unfair to demonize the Taiwanese merely for wanting what most people around the world take for granted: to uphold their basic human rights and way of life, including the right to decide through a democratic process their own future.