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National unity has been one of the fundamental components of Chinese development

Published Jun 9, 2022

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Buyile Matiwane

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Unity has, for the better part of human development, been a key driver for the advancement of Nations and society in general. The ability to unite people around a common vision or shared history has been a remarkably powerful motive for development and progress. This unification has been a key driver of national and foreign policy.

As we contend with our own issues here in SA, we can affirm that unity is indispensable to national growth and prosperity. It is no major surprise that those who are opposed to the growth and development of China have also been against the reunification of China with Taiwan and have been working overtime to undermine the One China Policy.

These forces, led by America, understand very clearly that national unity has been one of the fundamental components of Chinese development and are trying to undermine these efforts as must as possible. This is why we have seen a level of dishonesty in the recent annunciations of the US position on Taiwan.

The core of the Taiwan question is “one China”. There is but one China in the world, and Taiwan is part of China. The government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. This is the core concept of the one-China principle and has become a consensus of the international community and basic norm governing international relations.

In October 1971, the 26th session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 2758, which “decides to restore all its rights to the People’s Republic of China and recognise the representatives of its Government as the only legitimate representatives of China to the United Nations.

The US explicitly declared in the Shanghai Communiqué released in 1972 that “the United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position.” The above-mentioned commitments made by the US started the process toward normalisation of China-US relations.

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China decided to establish diplomatic relations with the US only when three preconditions had been met, namely, the US severed “diplomatic relations” and abrogated the “mutual defence treaty” with the Taiwan authorities and withdrew US military forces from Taiwan.

A total of 181 countries, the US included, have established diplomatic relations with China on the basis of recognising the one-China principle.

In the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China released in 1978, the US “recognises the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China” and “acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China”.

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It must be pointed out that be it the one-China principle or the one-China policy. Their essence is both about “one China”. This is a political consensus reached between China and the US. Without this consensus, China and the US couldn’t have engaged with each other and established diplomatic ties, and the bilateral relationship couldn’t have achieved development.

It must also be stressed that the Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair, and realising China’s complete reunification is the shared aspiration of all the Chinese people. China is firmly resolved in defending its sovereignty and security interests.

There is zero room for compromise and not an inch to give on the Taiwan question.

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As we grapple with our own issues around the building of national unity, we must look wearily at those, like the US, who undermine any efforts at reunification of any nations.

We must guard jealously the indispensability of unity to progress, and we must never relent in supporting our historic allies and friends as they chart their way towards the reunification of their people. There is only one China, and it can only be noblest of intentions to reunite it.

Matiwane is deputy president of the South African Students Congress.

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