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Taiwan's past and present are inextricably linked to that of the People's Republic of China. Therefore, one cannot begin to postulate and critically comment upon a possible "Taiwan future" without first assessing the prevailing political climate of her mainland cousin: the People's Republic of China. Given the current rhetoric espoused by both Taipei and Beijing, one may argue that three possible "Taiwan futures" emerge as most likely to occur. These scenarios, from most to least probable, are: 1) peaceful reunification with the PRC; one country, two systems; 2) a referendum declaring Taiwan a sovereign state, independent of the PRC; and 3) reunification achieved via a PRC initiated military action.

It is not insignificant that the Republic of China, Taiwan, and the People's Republic of China, Communist Mainland China, have consistently and unequivocally asserted a sacrosanct principle regarding the state of Sino-Taiwanese relations: that there is only "one China." Furthermore, in February 1972, the United States and the People's Republic of China issued a joint communiqué stating, "...the

United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China" (www.chinanews.org). Therefore, one may argue that the first and most likely scenario for a possible "Taiwan future" is "peaceful reunification; one country, two systems." The foundation for "peaceful reunification; one country, two systems" was laid in January 1979 when the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China called for an end to military hostilities between the PRC and Taiwan. The Standing Committee asserted that in its quest for national reunification, the PRC "will respect the status quo on Taiwan and the views of people of all walks of life there and adopt reasonable policies and measures." In September 1981, the...