Christopher J. Carolan


The “Republic of Taiwan”: Legal-Historical Justification for a Taiwanese Declaration of Independence

Christopher J. Carolan

Taiwan exists in the international arena as a fully independent state in form, but it has never declared itself independent. Taiwan’s reticence to take this step is caused by the People’s Republic of China’s claim that Taiwan is a “renegade province” of China. In this Note Christopher Carolan argues that an international law-based solution should be applied to determine whether Taiwan has a legitimate aspiration
to declare independence. This approach takes into account the history of Taiwan- China relations, which shows that–except for brief periods–Taiwan has long had a separate political existence apart from China. Carolan contrasts the claim that Taiwan properly belongs to China because of shared ethnic and cultural ties with post-World War II events that have created in the Taiwanese a strong, predominant preference for continued separation from China. He argues that international law is an effective means to settle international disputes objectively, especially as compared to an alternative rooted not in justice but in power. Finally, he takes account of international law on self-determination and statehood to show that by these standards, Taiwan already exists as a de facto independent state.