Date of Award
Doctor of Law (SJD)
Van Walt Van Praag
The issue of Taiwan's status has long been disputed. Since 1949, more than half a century ago, a civil war divided a Chinese nation into two governments within the Chinese territories. One is the People's Republic of China on the mainland(China), the other is the Republic of China on Taiwan(Taiwan). Since then, China has long embraced the position of annexing Taiwan as its essential goal based on the political fiction of the one-China principle, assuming that "there is only one China internationally, Taiwan is a part of China, and the People's Republic of China is thesole government to represent the whole China," despite the fact that Taiwan's views of one-China concept is quite different from Mainland China's. Seemingly, however, the view that "Taiwan is a part of China" has been accepted worldwide. This situation leads the status of Taiwan to become confusing in most people's minds. If Taiwan is a part of China, who should govern Taiwan, the Republic of China or the People's Republic of China. After enjoying years of prosperity and democracy, the people of Taiwan have gone a long way toward realizing their dream of self-governance politically and economically. Currently Taiwan is the world's 19th largest economy, the 15th largest trading country, and even one of the world's most competitive economies. Thus, the Taiwan's issue is typically one of the global problems to be considered under international law. Despite the dispute on the Taiwan sovereignty issue politically, both sides of the Taiwan Strait share common interests economically. The result of theincreased economic interdependence should not come as a surprise. This evolution poses risks and, at the same time, presents opportunities to both Taiwan and China. While studying Taiwan's legal status and its related issues, the functional views of international law on political integration and economic globalization should not be put aside. Although China's threat to use force against Taiwan's separatist movement is the source of regional instability in the Asia-Pacific area, as a matter of legal concern, it does not imply that there is no room for Taiwan to receive international respect for regaining its political status as a sovereign independent state. In other words, to internationalize the Taiwan issue is one thing, to settle the existing dispute between Taiwan and China is another. By this logic, China's views of "peaceful unification" and "one country two systems" may not be the only option to resolve the long outstanding sovereignty dispute of the Taiwan issue. The Taiwan issue itself lies not in whether Taiwan is an independent state, but rather whether or not to unite with China and that this is accepted by the people of Taiwan.
Huang, Eric Ting-Lun, "The Status of Taiwan Under International Law and in a Changing World" (2002). Theses and Dissertations. 24.