“One China” is an expression used by French diplomacy to talk about its relations with Beijing. Except that in the midst of the conflict with Taiwan, not everyone is talking about the same thing.
TAIWAN – “Frogs who think they’re oxen wouldn’t be the only ones to break out if their nonsense were the law. This is what Jean-Luc Mélenchon writes in a blog post published this Saturday August 6, at the end of two days of debate and heartbreak over the position of the third man in the last presidential election on the relationship between China, Taiwan and France.
A way for Jean-Luc Mélenchon to reprimand once again the supporters of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, who he believes risk rushing – by supporting the United States to the point of irritating China to the highest degree – the world towards a worrying escalation. And to continue: “Do not come and tell me that my remarks amount to approving everything that the Chinese government does. »
“One China” to mean “one dictatorship”?
The consequences of a debate which has been going on since Wednesday August 3, and the publication from a first blog post by Jean-Luc Melenchon. At that time, in reaction to the visit of the Democratic President of the United States House of Representatives to Taiwan, the founder of La France Insoumise wrote: “ Taiwan has been a tense subject since the liberation from China. But, for the French since 1965 and General de Gaulle, there is only one China. This before adding: “ Since then, everyone has stuck to a desire for peaceful coexistence, while waiting for better. What ? The Chinese will settle the problem among themselves. There is no other reasonable outcome possible. »
However, in these remarks, a frequently used notion is invoked: the idea of “one China”. An expression well known to students of international relations as well as professionals in politics and diplomacy behind which not everyone frankly puts the same thing. ” ‘One China’ is first and foremost ‘one dictatorship’ “, for example, reacted Yannick Jadot, yet an ally of the Insoumis within the NUPES in the Assembly.
Chinese nationalism is a propaganda tool to justify barbarism. “One China” is first “… https://t.co/dVcX58dOfV
—Yannick Jadot (@yjadot)
To understand the origin of the debate, we must go back to the foundation of present-day China, namely since it was governed by the Communist Party. Since the end of the 1940s, therefore, the Chinese Communist Party has imposed a “principle”: there is only one China in the world. This means that Taiwan, Macao, Tibet or Hong Kong for example, that is to say all the territories which Beijing considers to belong to it even if independence aspirations may exist there, are part of a single country therefore governed by the Communists. This effectively excludes the possibility for a foreign country to maintain diplomatic relations with one of these territories.
A historical legacy
A principle that is all the more firmly considered when Taiwan is mentioned. Because it was when Chiang Kai-shek’s defeated nationalists were routed by the Communists and took refuge in Taiwan that the doctrine emerged. At the time, the idea for the CP was to tell the international community that it would be impossible to dialogue with both mainland China and the rebels in Taipei. Especially since the latter themselves declared that they wanted to reconquer the entire territory militarily.
Since then, nation states have therefore had the possibility of maintaining diplomatic relations with what has become one of the greatest powers in the world and the most populous country in the world or with Taiwan, that is to say the People’s Republic of China or the Republic of China, but not with both. And that is also why there is only one UN seat for China, occupied by the Beijing Communists on the Security Council.
In France, this resulted in January 1964 by the establishment by Charles de Gaulle of diplomatic relations with communist China, much to the chagrin of Americans, then engaged in a Cold War against the Eastern bloc. A choice which has always been applied since and which in fact excludes official relations with Taiwan. For example, there is no Taiwan embassy in France or a presidential visit there.
“Politics” versus “principle”
As the researcher specializing in China and teacher at Sciences Po reminds us Antoine Bondazit is in this respect that French diplomacy has for decades avoided mentioning the situation in Taiwan or the geopolitical situation there.
Why is this tweet so important? 🧐 Because it symbolizes the trend towards the end of the invisibilization of Taiwan in the… https://t.co/rG5tIVj2I2
— Antoine Bondaz (@AntoineBondaz)
On the other hand, and this is where the devil and the controversy come to nest, this application of the principle of one China does not prevent France from maintaining unofficial relations with Taiwan. There is thus a representation of the country in Paris and parliamentary delegations can go there.
In this sense, Paris, like the rest of the Western world, is pursuing a “one China policy” without accepting the “principle” in full, as Beijing demands. What Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna recalled on Thursday in an interview at Release. This is how French parliamentarians have already visited the archipelago, how Paris and Taipei are cooperating on several levels, etc.
A semantic difference around which the debate has crystallized in recent days, bringing to light a significant ideological gap between the Insoumis and part of the political class, from macronie to environmentalists in particular. Thus, the former see in the acceptance of Nancy Pelosi’s visit the risk of triggering a Sino-American conflict, while the latter see in the recognition of the “principle” of one China a total acceptance of the policy pursued by Beijing.
Including at the moment, when China is carrying out a vast threat and pressure operation to further isolate Taiwan, place its military pawns in the area and perhaps, one day, go so far as to threaten the archipelago in concrete terms, which currently enjoys US protection.
See also on the HuffPost: Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan despite warnings from China