It is China’s Legitimate Right to Defend its National Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity

Guo Haiyan, Chinese Ambassador to Guyana
A PLA soldier looks around with a telescope on August 5, 2022, as the Navy of the PLA Eastern Theater Command continues drills the waters around the island of Taiwan. Photo: Xinhua

China has undisputed sovereignty over Taiwan

Taiwan has belonged to China since ancient times. The earliest records of Taiwan in the world are in Chinese history books from 1700 years ago. The Chinese were the first to develop Taiwan. As early as 230 A.D., Chinese ships arrived in Taiwan. Around 610 A.D., the coastal inhabitants of the mainland of China began to move to the Penghu Islands of Taiwan. From the mid-12th century onward, successive Chinese governments established administrative bodies in Taiwan to effectively govern the islands.

In 1894, when Japan launched the Sino-Japanese War, the Qing Dynasty was defeated and Taiwan was occupied by Japan. In 1945, when the Second World War against fascism was won, Japan declared its surrender, unconditionally accepted the Potsdam Proclamation and the Cairo Declaration, and handed Taiwan back to China. Thus, Taiwan returned to the embrace of the motherland and came back under the sovereignty of China.

Shortly thereafter, civil war broke out in China. In 1949, the People’s Republic of China was founded, and some of the military and political personnel of the Kuomintang, with the support of the U.S. government, retreated to Taiwan after the defeat. The two sides of the Taiwan Strait fell into a special state of long-term political confrontation, but the fact that Taiwan and the Chinese mainland belong to the same China never changed. Therefore, the Taiwan question is a legacy of China’s civil war, and China has undisputed sovereignty over Taiwan.

The Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government of China

The one-China principle is a basic norm in international relations. The UNGA Resolution 2758 adopted in 1971 has stated in black and white the decision “to restore all its rights to the People’s Republic of China and to recognize the representatives of its government as the only legitimate representatives of China to the United Nations”. International practice over the past 51 years shows that since the adoption of Resolution 2758, the UN and its specialized agencies and other international and regional organizations have unanimously observed the UNGA resolution by following the practice that “the United Nations considers ‘Taiwan’ as a province of China with no separate status”, “the ‘authorities’ in ‘Taipei’ are not considered to … enjoy any form of governmental status”, and that the region should be referred to as “Taiwan, Province of China”.

Thus, there is only one correct version of “one China”: there is only one China in the world, Taiwan is part of China and the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government of China. On 3 August, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres affirmed the one-China policy as U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit has created tensions. “Our position is very clear. We abide by General Assembly resolutions, by the one-China policy, and that is the orientation that we have in everything we do,” he clarified.

The one-China principle is a universal consensus of the international community. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, 181 countries have established diplomatic relations with China on the basis of the one-China principle. The one-China principle is the political foundation of China-U.S. relations. Before and after the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States, the United States explicitly declared its acceptance of the one-China principle in three joint communiqués, including the “Shanghai Communiqué” of 1972, the “Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations” of 1978 and the “August 17” communiqué of 1982. The United States made a clear commitment in the China-U.S. Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations — “The United States of America recognizes the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China.”

Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is a blatant violation of China’s sovereignty

The executive, legislative and judicial branches are all parts of the U.S. Government, and they must therefore implement the one-China policy that the U.S. Government has committed to. As Speaker of the House of Representatives, Pelosi is a political figure who is second in line to succeed the President, and she of course represents the U.S. Government in everything she says and does.

On 2 August, in disregard of China’s strong opposition and serious representations, Pelosi visited China’s Taiwan region. This is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-U.S. joint communiqués. It has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and seriously infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces for “Taiwan independence”.

If the Chinese side doesn’t firmly reject the manic, irresponsible and extremely irrational behavior of the United States, the principle of international relations on respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity will become a mere scrap of paper, various kinds of separatists and extremist forces will intensify their activities, and the hard-won peace and stability in the region will be severely damaged.

The U.S. side claimed that China is escalating the situation, but the basic facts are that the United States first provoked China on the Taiwan question and blatantly violated China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The U.S. side claimed that there was a precedent of the U.S. House speaker visiting Taiwan. Yet the basic truth is that past mistakes cannot be used as an excuse to repeat them today.

The U.S. side claimed that it cannot restrain the Congress due to the separation of powers. But the basic norm of international law is that the United States must fulfill its international obligations, and key politicians should not misbehave.

The U.S. side also claimed that China’s pursuit of reunification is a “threat” to Taiwan, but the basic logic is that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory and the Taiwan question is purely an internal affair of China. It is lawful and justified that China upholds territorial integrity and opposes secession.

The ins and outs of the current tension over the Taiwan Strait are crystal clear, so are the rights and wrongs. It is the United States which started the trouble, created the crisis, and continuously escalated the tensions.

To avoid this crisis being forced on China, China made the greatest diplomatic efforts, but at the same time it would never allow its core interests and the process of national rejuvenation to be jeopardized. China would not sit back watching the United States play the “Taiwan card” to serve its domestic politics and the selfish desires of its politicians, nor would China ever tolerate deeds to create tension, stoke confrontation and instigate secession in the region.

The comprehensive measures China is currently taking and will take in the future are necessary and timely defensive counterattacks, which have been carefully considered and evaluated with an aim to safeguard national sovereignty and security. These measures are in line with international and domestic laws, serve as a warning to provocateurs, and will maintain regional stability and peace across the Taiwan Strait. We called on all parties to see through the cause and essence of the current crisis, jointly oppose the U.S. side’s risky adventures and provocations, continue to support China’s legitimate position and measures, and jointly maintain regional peace and peace across the Taiwan Strait.

It is the firm commitment of the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people to resolutely safeguard state sovereignty and territorial integrity

In the world today, the trends of turbulence and transformation are evolving, and deficits in development and security are looming large. Faced with a world of change and disorder, the international community and the people around the world expect China and the U.S. to take the lead in upholding world peace and security and in promoting global development and prosperity. This is the responsibility of China and the U.S. as two major countries. The right way for them to deal with each other lies only in mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, no-confrontation and win-win cooperation.

The Taiwan question is purely an internal affair of China, and no other country is entitled to act as a judge on the Taiwan question. The position of the Chinese Government and people on the Taiwan question has been consistent. It is the firm commitment of the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people to resolutely safeguard state sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is the common aspiration and sacred responsibility of all Chinese sons and daughters to realize the complete reunification of the motherland. No country, no forces and no individual should ever misestimate the firm resolve, strong will and great capability of the Chinese Government and people to defend state sovereignty and territorial integrity and to achieve national reunification and rejuvenation.

Statement by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Pelosi’s Visit to Taiwan