The central committee of the Kuomintang, the ruling group in Taiwan, has been meeting (December 18) to consider the effects of the decision by the United States and China to enter into full diplomatic relations.
The central committee of the Kuomintang, the ruling group in Taiwan, has been meeting (December 18) to consider the effects of the decision by the United States and China to enter into full diplomatic relations. It was part of the agreement between to two big powers that the United States would break off formal relations with Taiwan, and end their mutual defence treaty. But its unofficial contacts with the island will continue.
SYNOPSIS: In the past ten years or so, the economy of Taiwan has expanded dramatically. Exports of electronic components, television sets, plastics, clothing and cotton fabrics gave it a trading surplus last year of nearly 500-million dollars (25-million pounds).
Wages have more than doubled in five years. United States investment and the hard work of its own people have been the mainstay of the economy of Taiwan since the Kuomintang took control of the island nearly 30 years ago. Americans have invested 600-million dollars (300-million pounds) in Taiwanese enterprises. After the United States, Japan is Taiwan's most important trading partner. Japan broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan six years ago, but nevertheless trade between them has increased steadily ever since.
Economic planners in Taiwan are now hoping that the same thing will happen to its trade with the United States. The accord with China envisages commercial relations continuing between American companies and those based in Taiwan.
General Chiang Ching-kuo, who succeeded his father Ching Kai-shek as head of the Kuomintang administration, visiting the American warship Oklahoma in a Taiwanese port. The United States had 10,000 troops in Taiwan at the height of the Vietnam war. Now they are down to a few hundred -- and it has been agreed that these should be withdrawn within four months.
The controversial issue between the United States and China is the sale of arms to Taiwan's own forces. Taiwan has nearly half a million men under arms, and keeps about 80,000 of them on the two small islands, Quemoy and Matsu, that lie only a few miles (kilometres) off the Chinese main-land coast.
China and the United States decided to differ on whether arms sales could continue, but not let this hold up the implementation of the rest of their agreement. Chairman Hua Kuo-feng told his press conference in Peking on Saturday (December 16) that China could not agree to any sales. But the American Secretary of State, Mr Cyrus Vance, has since reaffirmed what was said at the negotiations: that the United States would continue to supply Taiwan with defensive arms.
The army in Taiwan has been on full alert since the announcement in Washington and Peking. And the Kuomintang Central Committee has now decided that Taiwan would have to increase its won defence spending and make more of its own equipment and weapons.