H C Singh

Quemoy in world politics

Today in East Asia, Quemoy is again on fire. The ‘Dulles-Chiang’ communique has brought the world again to the brink of war. The world peace hangs on a delicate thread which may be broken, though not deliberately, by, marshal Chiang or marshal peng. Mr. Dulles or Mr. Chou Enlai, President Eisenhower or chairman Mao Tse-tung. Granted that none of them will, knowingly jump from the ‘brink’ but the fear is that, by standing there too long anyone of them may slip down taking the whole world with him– to nuclear war, death and destruction.

The world had heaved a sigh of relief when Mr. Dulles after more than a month’s shelling realizing that it was ‘foolish’ to keep a garrison of 2,00,000 on Quemoy and hinted that the U.S.A was ready to retreat but not in the face of force.

The Chinese gun stopped firing. Tension in the Far East eased. It was hoped that Mr. Dulles would pull the strings of his puppet (Chiang) and take it out of Quemoy. But that was only a pious hope that has been falsified by subsequent events. Mr Dulles visit to Taipeh and the communique after four days talks have made it clear that he still insists upon continuing this puppet show in Quemoy and Matsu there is now left no doubt that the U.S.A and Formosa availed of the two weeks voluntary silence of Chinese guns to reinforce the Quemoy garrison with food, oil, ammunition, spanking, new U.S made 155-mm howitzers and replacement tanks” (Time Oct, 20, 1958).

This was a clear breach of trust, a violation of undeclared, but vital, truce. Peking retaliated by resuming fire. Peking also charged that the U.S. Ships of 7th fleet had violated even the internationally recognized three miles limit of Chinese territorial waters. Under such a provocation and mounting danger it was too much to expect of the Chinese communists to acquiesce before Chiang’s boast that silence communist guns was Taipen’s victory over Peking.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Dulles has selected to listen only to the voice of shells and bombs. In 1955, too only in view of heavy air attack the Tachen Islands (morth of Quemoy and Matsu) were evacuated by Chiang Kaishek, though Chiang’s government announced that the islands were being evacuated “in order to strengthen the defense of other islands”. Then, 10,000 troops and 20,000 civilians were evacuated by 132 vessels and 400 aircrafts of the U.S. 7th Fleet (Keseings). To this evacuation, in the face of heavy communist air attack Peking called the ‘liberation’ of Tachen which had created favorable conditions for the ‘liberation of Taiwan and other coastal islands’.

Similarly a week later, an view of heavy air bombardment Nanchi Islands were evacuated, despite Chiang’s reiteration that these “Islands will be defended at all costs”.

As demonstration of military might had brought about the liberation of these islands, on 23rd August, 1958, about three years after the liberation of Tach and Nanchi. The Chinese asserted with the force of guns, their right over Quemoy and Matsu the only off-shore islands that now remain under Chiang’s occupation. The shelling continued day-after-day and night- after-night, but Mr. Dulles did not budge an inch. On September, 4, with the authority of the president he said that the defense of the Quemoy had “increasingly become related to the defense of Taiwan” to whose defense the U.S.A was committed. This meant that the U.S.A would rather risk a nuclear war than withdraw from these islands. The situation further aggravated when on 11th September, President Eisenhower, too, joined his secretary of state and expressed U.S. Determination not to repeat ‘Munich’. Prompt came Mr. Khrushchev’s warning the “China is not Lebanon. In one of the bluntest letters to a head of the state he left no margin of doubt that if the U.S.A attacked China, Moscow would consider it an attack on U.S.S.R. It was a warning as grim as Marshall, Bulganin’s at the time of Suez Crisis.

Mr. Dulles is under and illusion if he thinks he has the support of his Atlantic allies in his crusade against Peking. The influential ‘New Statesman’ wrote on 30th August 1958 that ‘nothing could be more foolish than to make a ’causesbelli’ out of the litte group of islands which lie closer to the mainland of China than the Isle of Wight to England”.

Even in the U.S.A some notable authorities on international affairs like Mr. Walter Lippman have advised the American people, including Mr. Dulles, that the U.S.A should “prepare for the passing of Chiang’s regime and we should go before the world in favor of a Formosan settlement asking no special privileges, strategic and economic for ourselves and Mr. Harry S. Truman, former president of U.S.A has called the Dulles- Eisenhower foreign policy as one of “blunder, bluster and brinkmanship”!

The U.S.A should also not bank too much upon the invulnerability of Chiang’s regime. The implications of Taipeh riots of May, 1957 when the U.S. Embassy was sacked against the release of an American soldier charged with the murder of a Chinese by the martial law court, should not be forgotten. The possibility of overthrowing the Peking regime either by invasion or by sub-version is the problems of off-shore islands and Formosa, as Mr. V.K.Krishna Menon has rightly pointed out in the U.N.General Assembly, are remnants of Chinese civil war and the present struggle for their liberation is a ‘continuation’ of that civil war in which interventionally the U.S.A or any other nation is a violation of international law, as was the British intervention in American civil was (Alabama Claims).

In this context the question of recognition of Peking regime and its admission to the U.N is of vital importance. Washington should not forget that at the 1958 session of the U.N.General Assembly, increasing number of nations have voted for Peking regime to occupy its legitimate place in the U.N and the security council. Soon majority of 81 nations may vote for seating the communist China because it will not be convincing to any realistic nation that Formosa is China and not Peking but Taipeh is its capital.

The question of Quemoy remains unsolved in spite of 44 days heavy shelling and resumption of artillery fire on 20th October.

August 24, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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