East Asia Watch

Time to step back from the brink over Taiwan

As Sino-US row escalates, the island risks being the spearhead and arena of a great power conflict

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BEIJING • After Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing on Jan 1, 1979, Taiwan's then President Chiang Ching-kuo rejected China's reunification overtures, declaring that the self-ruled island would have nothing to do with the mainland and unveiling the "Three-Noes" policy of "no contact, no negotiations and no compromise".

China's patriarch Deng Xiaoping had earlier reversed his predecessor Mao Zedong's policy of "liberating" Taiwan through military means. Instead, he offered the island "peaceful reunification" and proposed re-establishing trade, transport and mail links which had been banned for three decades.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2020, with the headline Time to step back from the brink over Taiwan. Subscribe