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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 27, 1955

SUMMARY OF THE VIEWS OF AFRO-ASIAN COUNTRIES ON THE TAIWAN ISSUE AT THE AFRO-ASIAN CONFERENCE

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation

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    The People's Republic of China maintains that the Taiwan issue was an internal issue of China, and it was the US who created tension by invading and occupying Taiwan.
    "Summary of the Views of Afro-Asian Countries on the Taiwan Issue at the Afro-Asian Conference," May 27, 1955, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 207-00018-01, 1-4. Obtained by Amitav Acharya and translated by Yang Shanhou. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114694
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Read by: Zhang, Ji, He, Liu, Qiao and Chen

Document received by the General Office of the Foreign Ministry on May 27, 1955

Please pass round for perusal among the Party Group members of the Foreign Ministry and put it in file instructed by Zhou Enlai,  May 24

(Document delivered to Ambassador Eugene by Premier Zhou Enlai)

The Chinese Delegation for participating in the Asian-African Conference respectively talked about the Taiwan issue with the representatives of many participating countries in its outside conference activities, among which the most important talks were the ones with the heads of the delegations of India, Burma, Indonesia, Pakistan, Ceylon, the Philippines and Thailand.

In each talk, we explained our position on the Taiwan issue and pointed out that the Taiwan issue had two sides, which were different in nature but interrelated. On the liberation of Taiwan, the Chinese people were to exercise their sovereignty for territorial integrity and the complete unity of China. Therefore, relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Jiang Jieshi [Chiang Kai-shek] clique were an internal affair. The USA occupied Taiwan and interfered in our liberation of the coastal islands, causing the tension in the Taiwan Straits. Therefore, relations between China and the USA were an international issue.

Just like the liberation of the continent and other islands, the liberation of Taiwan by the Chinese people not only couldn’t create the world tension, but it could also facilitate world peace after the complete unity of China. The USA invaded Taiwan after the breakout of the Korean War. After the truce of the Korean War, the American Government further interfered in the liberation of the coastal islands by the Chinese people. Thus it could be seen that the tension was caused by nothing else but the American invasion and interference.

At the present time, the question was how to relax and eliminate the tension in the Taiwan region. An international war might happen at any time in the Taiwan region because of the American interference. The Chinese Government held that China and the USA should sit down and talk so as to relax and eliminate the existing tension in the Taiwan region. In regard to the way of talks, the Chinese Government had been supporting the proposal of convening a ten state conference made by the Government of the Soviet Union. The Chinese Government was also willing to consider expanding the members of the ten state conference, including the two added states of the Philippines and Thailand proposed by the Pakistani Prime Minister at the meetings of the delegation heads of eight countries. In addition, the Chinese Government was also willing to consider some people’s proposals on direct talks between China and the USA. But the Chinese Government would never agree to attend any international meetings at any time with the representative of the Jiang Jieshi clique. In regard to the way of talks between China and the USA, it would be finalized according to the reaction of the USA and the development of the situation (We had never defined the way of China-US talks). As for the conditions of China-US talks, we said that there was no war between China and the USA, so that there was no question of cease-fire.

The US put forward the issue of cease-fire aiming at making a deal that it intended to use for the withdrawal of the Jiang Jieshi troops from Jinmen and Mazu to change for the abandoning of the Chinese people’s demand and action for liberating Taiwan, for China’s de facto admittance of the legitimization of the American invasion of Taiwan, and for China’s admittance of the existence of two Chinas. To this, China would never agree at any time and under any circumstances. China held that only if the US gave up invasion and interference, and withdrew its armed forces from Taiwan and the Taiwan Straits, could the tension in Taiwan and the Taiwan Straits be relaxed and eliminated. However, China would put forward this condition in the talks so that China would not accept any preconditions when the US agreed to hold talks.

On the issue of liberating Taiwan, some people mentioned that the Chinese Government only declared the liberation of Taiwan in all its previous statements, but didn’t mention liberation by force. Our answer was that the Chinese Government didn’t mention the nonuse of force to liberate Taiwan either. In order to bring about the Chinese people’s just demand for liberating Taiwan, the Chinese people were entitled to use all means to liberate Taiwan, including peaceful means. But only if the US gave up invasion and interference, and withdrew all its armed forces from Taiwan and the Taiwan Straits, could it be possible to liberate Taiwan peacefully and achieve the complete unity of China. The means of peaceful liberation of Taiwan could be found from the examples of the Chinese people’s peaceful liberation of Beijing, Xinjiang and Tibet.    

After we had made a full account of our position and proposal on the Taiwan issue in the talks with the delegation heads of the eight countries, the prime ministers of Pakistan and Ceylon felt that this was something exceeding their expectations so that they didn’t pose any new suggestions. The prime minister of Pakistan even asked whether Jiang Jieshi could be appointed as a general after the peaceful liberation of Taiwan, and we answered “yes” with a smile. In the talks with the delegation heads of the eight countries, the representatives of the Philippines and Thailand didn’t express their support to our position and proposal, nor did they object to it. Even the member of the extremely pro-American Lebanon’s Delegation Malik didn’t pose any counter proposal.

At the end of the talks with the delegation heads of the eight countries, all agreed to absolutely keep secret the content in the talks. The Indonesian prime minister proposed to issue a statement only by China outside the conference so that we issued a principled and exploratory statement on April 23. And we stressed our position again in the speech at the closing ceremony of the Asian-African Conference that the Chinese people were entitled to liberate Taiwan.

The representatives of various delegations had different reactions to our position in the aforesaid statement.

The Indian Representative in the UN, Menon, estimated that Eisenhower would not refuse direct talks with China, but needed diplomatic inquiry before hand, and the direct talks between China and the USA could avoid the difficulty of whether the representative of the Jiang Jieshi clique should participate in them. We didn’t express our agreement to his estimation. We can see from Menon’s words that India’s idea is that Jinmen and Mazu will be returned to China and Taiwan will be an autonomous province on the condition that the USA recognizes China’s unity and China peacefully liberates Taiwan. We believe that Menon’s words also represent part of the UK’s idea. For this, we didn’t make any definite comment, but agreed for Menon to come to Beijing in the middle of May to continue the discussion on China-US talks.

Menon and many others all hoped for us to do something to relax the atmosphere, such as a public statement, which should not be too acute, and they also asked us to consider the issue of releasing the detained American pilots. The Burmese Prime Minister U Nu was very interested in talks with Jiang Jieshi, and he even expressed he would  go to Taiwan to persuade him. We explained to him that it was not proper to do so as this was not only interference in China’s internal affairs, but also tantamount to the recognition of two Chinas. He immediately gave up his idea and agreed that the Burmese Representative in the UN would informally and secretly probe from the Taiwanese Representative in the UN, Chiang Ting-fu. U Nu had no objection that the talks between us and Jiang Jieshi should be between the Central Government and the local authorities.

Indonesia generally supported our position on the Taiwan issue, because we expressed our support to Indonesia in its demand of sovereignty over West Irian. Indonesia tended to direct talks between China and the USA and hoped that China would liberate Taiwan peacefully.

According to the information we obtained recently from diplomatic contacts in Asia and Africa, the USA needs the talks with China. Our statement issued on April 23 has exerted impact on the international situation and played a role as well in reaching the agreement at the Asian-African Conference.

The new developments will be continuously notified.