AND THE RELATIONS BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA 1948-1998

AND THE RELATIONS BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA 1948-1998
THE RELATIONS BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA
AND
THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA,
1948-1998
Submitted in accordance with the requirements for the degree
DOCTOR PHILOSOPHIAE (HISTORY)
Supervisor:
Co-supervisor:
Prof. Johan S. Bergh
Prof. Karen L. Harris
© University of Pretoria
This thesis is dedicated to my beloved wife Su-hwa (Sophia)
and my three daughters, Jane, Helen and Tina.
Lin,
Page
Title page
Dedication
Abstract
Acknowledgements
Declaration
Abbreviations
I
II
V
VII
VIII
ix
Chapter I:
Introduction
1.1 An Overview of the Historiography
1.2 Aim and Scope of the Study
1.3 Approach and Method
1.4 Research Problems
1.5 Historical Background-The Separation of
the Chinese Mainland and Taiwan
1.6 A Note on Romanization
Chapter II: The Period of Reluctant Relations, 1948-1971
2.1 Introduction
2.2 The Turn of the Tide against South Africa
2.3 The Turn of the Tide against the Kuomintang government
2.4 Stability under the Kuomintang Rule
2.5 The ROC's Domestic and Foreign Policies
2.6 Initial Relations between the ROC and the RSA
2.7 Threats to the National Security of the Two Countries
2.8 Summary
Chapter III:
3.1
3.2
3.3
3.4
3.5
3.6
3.7
3.7
The Evolution of Cordial Political-Diplomatic Links
between the ROC and the RSA, 1971-1994
Introduction
Considerations for Forging Closer Ties with the RSA
Events which led to the RSA's Change of Policy towards the ROC
The Evolution of the ROC-RSA Political-Diplomatic Relations
The ROC-RSA Diplomatic Alignment
An Appraisal of ROC-RSA Diplomatic Alignment (1976-1989)
The Uncertainty of ROC-RSA Relations
Summary
81
83
109
114
119
123
Chapter IV:
4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4
Economic and Financial Ties between the ROC
and the RSA, 1948-1998
Introduction
The Evolution of ROC-RSA Trade Relations
The Composition of ROC-RSA Bilateral Trade
Bilateral Institutional Structures to Strengthen
ROC-RSA Economic and Trade Interactions
64
64
65
131
131
138
143
4.5
4.6
4.7
4.8
4.9
ROC Investment in the RSA
Air and Sea Links
Banking and the ROC's Financial Assistance to the RSA
Co-operation on Fisheries
Summary
Chapter V:
5.1
5.2
5.3
5.4
5.5
5.6
5.7
5.8
The Development of ROC-RSA Nuclear Co-operation,
1976-1990
Introduction
The ROC's Quest for Nuclear Energy
The ROC's Energy Strategy and the Attractiveness of
the RSA to the ROC
The Development of the ROC Nuclear Industry
The Establishment of Uranium and Nuclear Industries in the RSA
The Implementation of ROC-RSA Nuclear Co-operation
The Termination of ROC-RSA Nuclear Co-operation
Summary
147
156
160
167
169
Chapter VI: Military and Other Aspects of ROC-RSA Relations, 1976-1997
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Military Co-operation between the ROC and the RSA
6.3 Academic, Cultural and Social Links between the ROC and the RSA
6.4 Summary
176
176
177
180
181
194
203
222
226
233
233
233
255
273
Chapter VII: The End of ROC-RSA Diplomatic Ties and the Establishment of
Substantive Relations between the RSA and the ROC, 1994-1998
7.1 The RSA's New Foreign Policy and International Relations
7.2 The Changing Situation of ROC-RSA Relations
7.3 The Position of the GNU on the Severance of ROC-RSA
Diplomatic Relations
7.4 The ROC Government's Efforts to Save ROC-RSA
Diplomatic Relations
7.5 Pressure put on Mandela to Reverse the Status Quo
7.6 The RSA's Normalisation of Relations with the PRC
7.7 The Establishment of ROC-RSA Substantive Relations
293
300
313
326
Chapter VIII: Conclusion
8.1 Conclusion
8.2 Epilogue
335
335
338
Appendix: List of Tables
Bibliography
348
361
283
283
286
290
To date, no in-depth analysis has been made of the diplomatic relations that existed
between the Republic of South Africa (RSA) and the Republic of China on Taiwan
(ROC) from 1976 to 1997.
countries
Current scholarly works on relations between the two
tend to oversimplify
the forces that drew the two countries
into close
association during the said period, and presume that ROC-RSA bilateral relations were
merely the result of the mutual pariah status of both states.
common misconceptions
t~e existing research.
regarding the nature of ROC-RSA
In addition, several
relations are recurrent in
This thesis, therefore, examines the development of ROC-RSA
relations and interactions from the eve of the ROC government's relocation to Taiwan in
1948 to the severance
of ROC-RSA
diplomatic
relations
in 1998 against
background of the overall historical circumstances of both countries.
that the factors in the formation of ROC-RSA
convergence of anti-communist
the
This study argues
ties are manifold and a result of the
ideologies and common interests.
Pariah status and
international ostracism are only part of the array of complex factors.
Efforts are made to
investigate the historical conditions, foreign policy objectives and national interests that
helped cement diplomatic
relations,
complete spectrum of. ROC-RSA
relations are analysed.
in the
relations, including economic and cultural relations,
and military and nuclear collaborations.
give a fuller picture of ROC-RSA
as well as the extent of co-operation
These various aspects are explored in order to
ties, and the effectiveness
and limitations of these
Furthermore, the causes that led to South Africa's switch of
diplomatic recognition to the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the prospects of
future relations between the ROC and the RSA are also studied.
Tot dusver is geen grondige
analise van die diplomatiek
verhoudinge
tussen die
Republiek van Suid-Afrika (RSA) en die Republiek van China op Taiwan (ROC) vir die
tydperk 1976 tot 1997 gedoen nie. Akademiese werke hieroor is geneig om die kragte
wat die twee lande gedurende die betrokke tydperk in In noue verbintenis saamgesnoer
het, te oorvereenvoudig. Daar word veronderstel dat ROC-RSA-verhoudinge bloot die
gevolg van hulle paria-status was.
Daarbenewens kom verskeie algemene
wanopvattings, oor die aard van ROC-RSA-verhoudinge, herhaaldelik in bestaande
navorsing voor. Hierdie proefskrif beoordeel gevolglik die ontwikkeling van ROC-RSAverhoudinge en interaksie, sedert die hervestiging van die ROC-regering op Taiwan in
1948 tot met die beeindiging van diplomatieke verhoudinge tussen die twee state in
1998, teen die omvattende historiese agtergrond van die onderskeie lande. Hierdie
studie voer aan dat die faktore in die totstandkoming van die ROC-RSA-bande
veelvuldig is; en dat dit die gevolg van In gemeenskaplike anti-kommunistiese ideologie
en belange is. Die paria-status en internasionale isolasie was slegs In deel van die
komplekse faktore.
Pogings is aangewend om die historiese omstandighede,
buitelandse beleidsdoelstel/ings en nasionale belange wat daartoe bygedra het om
sowel die diplomatieke betrekkinge as die omvang van samewerking in die volle
spektrum
van
ROC-RSA-verhoudinge,
insluitende
ekonomiese
en
verhoudinge en militere en kernsamewerking, in berekening te bring.
kulturele
Hierdie
verskillende aspekte is nagegaan ten einde "n meer volledige beeld van ROC-RSAbande te gee.
Die doeltreffendheid en beperkinge van hierdie verhoundinge is ook
ontleed. Verder is die oorsake vir Suid-Afrika se sluiting van diplomatieke betrekkinge
met die Volksrepubliek van China (PRC) ondersoek, sowel as die vooruitsig vir
toekomstige verhoudinge tussen die ROC en die RSA.
Reluctant relations; pariah status; diplomatic isolation; apartheid; complementary
economic/trade relations; convergence of common interests; national interests; nuclear
energy co-operation; ROC-RSA defence industry co-operation; limitations of alignment;
Government of National Unity (GNU); development aid; "cheque-book" diplomacy; "Two
Chinas" dilemma; "One China" policy; pragmatic diplomacy; substantive relations;
mechanism of mutual consultation.
This thesis could not have been completed without the gracious intellectual guidance,
supervision and advice of my supervisors, namely Prof. Johan S. Bergh and Prof. Karen
L. Harris.
I am most grateful for their kindness in assisting me in various aspects in
preparing this thesis. They have accorded to me not only their precious time, but also
their understanding and encouragement.
Their suggestions, comments and corrections
of the draft are particularly appreciated.
In the course of preparing this thesis, I am especially indebted to the following persons:
Ms Anne Sexton for her editing, correcting, proof-reading
work; Mrs Bernadette
and typing of the complete
Stewart for typing the first two chapters of the first draft; Ms
Christine Lin for typing my Curricula Vitarum; Prof. B.M. Gourley, Vice-Chancellor
of the
University of Natal for allowing me to utilise the University's library; and Mr Johan van
Wyk, the subject librarian of the Academic
Information Services at the University of
Pretoria, for his assistance in finding and tracing certain material and sources.
My
sincere thanks are also due to the staff of various institutions where I conducted my
research as mentioned in the bibliography.
Last, but not least, I wish to extend my
special thanks to my wife Su-hwa (Sophia) for her invaluable support and understanding
and to my three daughters for their help in typing and sorting out related problems that I
encountered on many occasions over the years.
Song-huann (Gary) Lin
May 2001
I declare that The Relations between the Republic of China and the Republic of South
Africa, 1948-1998 is my own work and that all the sources that I have used and quoted
have been acknowledged by means of complete references.
ADB
African Development Bank
AEB
Atomic Energy Board
AEC
Atomic Energy Corporation/Council
AGOA
Africa Growth and Opportunity Act
ANC
African National Congress
APEC
Asian-Pacific Economic Council
ARMSCOR
Armaments Corporation of the RSA
CCP
Chinese Communist Party
CETRA
China External Trade Development Council
CIA
Central Intelligence Agency
CIST
Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology
COSATU
Congress of South African Trade Unions
CSIR
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
DFA
Department of Foreign Affairs
DP
Democratic Party
DPP
Democratic Progressive Party
OTI
Department of Trade and Industry
EPZ
Export Processing Zone
ESKOM
Electricity Supply Commission
E:U
European Union
FDI
Foreign Direct Investment
FF
Freedom Front
GATT
General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs
GNU
Government of National Unity
HEU
Highly Enriched Uranium
IAEA
International Atomic Energy Agency
IDC
Industrial Development Corporation
IFP
Inkatha Freedom Party
INTERPOL
International Criminal Police Organisation
ISCOR
South African Iron and Steel Corporation
ITRI
Industrial Technology Research Institute
KMI
KwaZulu-Natal Marketing Initiative
KMT
Kuomintang (Nationalist Party)
LNLA
Lesotho National Liberation Army
MK
Umkhonto we Sizwe
MOEA
Ministry of Economic Affairs
MOFA
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
MPLA
Movimento Popular de Liberlacao de Angola
NEC
National Executive Committee
NCS
National Calibration Service
NIC
New Industrialising Countries
NP
National Party
NPT
Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty
NSC
National Science Council
NT
New Taiwan Dollar
NUFCOR
Nuclear Fuels Corporation
OAU
Organisation of African Unity
OPEC
Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries
PAC
Pan Africanist Congress
PLA
People's Liberation Army
PRC
People's Republic of China
RDP
Reconstruction and Development Programme
ROC
Republic of China
ROCSA
ROC-South Africa Economic Council
RSA
Republic of South Africa
SACP
South African Communist Party
SACTWU
South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union
SADC
Southern African Development Community
SADF
South African Defence Force
SAFTO
South African Foreign Trade Organisation
SANDF
South African National Defence Force
SAPA
South African Press Association
SAROC
South Africa-ROC
SMME
Small, medium and micro enterprises
SWAPO
South West Africa People's Organisation
TWTC
Taipei World Trade Centre
UANC
United African National Council
UK
United Kingdom
UN
United Nations
UNCTAD
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
UNESCO
United
Nations
Chamber of Economic Relations
Education,
Scientific
and
Cultural
Organisation
UNITA
Uniao Nacional para a Independencia Total de Angola
USA
United States of America
USSR
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
VOC
Vereenigde Nederlandsche Oost Indische Compagnie
VTC
Vocational Training Centre
"VTO
World Trade Organisation
ZAPU
Zimbabwe African People's Union
ZANU
Zimbabwe African National Union
THE RELATIONS BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA AND THE REPUBLIC OF
SOUTH AFRICA, 1948-1998
Due to the complexity of the Republic of China's (ROC) history and its relations with the
Republic of South Africa (RSA), the secretive nature of ROC-RSA
military and nuclear
co-operation programmes, and the difficulty in obtaining official documents, to date no
detailed account of the many-faceted co-operative relations between the ROC and the
RSA during 1976-1998 has been published in Chinese.
historical
publication
governmental
ever been produced
archives in English.1
Nor has any in-depth study or
from South Africa's
official records
and
The existing relevant published and unpublished
academic works in English and Afrikaans either focus on the progression and prospects
of the general ROC-RSA
bilateral relations, or on the pariah politik, foreign policy and
economic relations of the two countries.2
The historical conditions, the evolution and
overall implementation, as well as the impact of ROC-RSA alignment, especially in the
aspects
of military
and nuclear
collaborations
during the 1980s, have not been
extensively examined.
Generally speaking, the historical interactions between the ROC and the RSA, and the
development
of the various dimensions
of ROC-RSA
bilateral relations, have been
largely neglected, not only in the West and in South Africa, but also in the ROC itself.
This is despite the fact that the ROC and the RSA share the similar historical
experience of Dutch colonial rule.
Dutch occupied Taiwan.
For nearly four decades, from 1624 to 1662, the
In fact, Jan Anthoniszoon
van Riebeeck,
the first Dutch
Commander of the Cape, visited the castle Zeelandia in the southern part of Taiwan
(formerly called Formosa) in 1642 when he was a junior merchant of the Dutch East
India Company (Vereenigde Nederlandsche Oost Indische Compagnie, VOC).3
The reasons for South African historians' and academics' lack of interest in exploring
the RSA's historical
relations with the ROC are not difficult to understand.
disinterest and the scarcity of published works concerning the development
RSA relations can be attributed to the following five factors.
This
of ROC-
Firstly, compared to
mainland China and other major countries, the ROC is relatively small and unimportant.
The second contributing
factor is the great cultural divide and geographic
distance
between the two countries, as well as the absence of a sizeable number of Chinese
immigrants in South Africa. 4 Thirdly, before the emergence of the new South Africa in
1994, the RSA was basically a Western-orientated
society and its academic, cultural
and political focus was on the West and peripheral southern African issues.
Fourthly,
this situation is partly due to the racial attitudes of white South Africans, their lack of a
"sense of adventure" and the previous policy of long-time segregation.5
The fifth factor
is the difficulty of an equable data collection of both South African and Chinese research
materials.
The ROC's scholars are mostly only proficient in Chinese, and would find it
d!fficult to pursue academic research in English or Afrikaans.
The converse is also true.
It would be an arduous task for Western or South African academics to pursue this
subject without a basic knowledge of the Chinese language, and an understanding of
Taiwan's history and present circumstances.
Due to the above factors, very few studies in the field of ROC-RSA relations have been
undertaken.
If we look at the studies and research work available on this aspect, most
either deal with one of the following:
the RSA's apartheid-imposed
international
isolation; the People's Republic of China's (PRC) foreign relations with Africa; the close
ties between the pariah states and the nature and extent of the enforced isolation of the
various pariah states such as Taiwan, Chile, Israel and South Africa; or the debate
about "South Africa and the two Chinas" dilemma.6
These four categories
however, cover the various aspects the present thesis intends to address.
do not,
In the first category of studies, there are numerous books, articles and scholastic works
on South Africa's foreign relations, pariah status, the historical development and impact
of apartheid,
international
governmental
disinvestment.
sanctions,
boycotts
and both governmental
and non-
There are also works that focus on the activities of the
South African liberation movements and international organisations.7
In the second category of works, a large number of books, dissertations,
other studies have appeared.
articles and
These pertain largely to the PRC's ideology, revolution,
domestic politics, support of liberation movements, foreign policy and other aspects of
the whole spectrum of Sino-African relations.
These have been produced by African,
Western and Chinese scholars, either in English or Chinese, and are too numerous to
cite in full in this introduction.
However, these academic works mainly concentrate on
the PRC and its relations with Africa, not on relations between the ROC and the RSA.8
In the third category of publications, a number of distinguished scholars, both in South
Africa and overseas have researched certain aspects of ROC-RSA
and a few scholarly works have been published.
The articles and books published by
a~ademics such as Peter Vale, Deon Geldenhuys,
Harkavy fall into this category.9
bilateral relations,
Koos van Wyk and Robert E.
However, they generally focus on specific dimensions,
so that the full extent of ROC-RSA
interactions has not been investigated
by these
scholars.
In this third category of works, Deon Geldenhuys has made a particularly significant
contribution
and has published two books and one essay on ROC-RSA
relations.1o
However, Geldenhuys' work focuses mainly on the RSA's diplomacy of isolation and the
respective pariah status of the RSA and the ROC. Herein, he places special emphasis
on the detailed comparison of the international ostracism experienced by the four pariah
states, namely the ROC, the RSA, Chile and Israel during the period 1949 to 1988. His
work is concerned with foreign relations, rather than with history. However, Geldenhuys
has made a worthy contribution by devising a set of indicators to gauge the causes and
extent of the isolation of the said four countries.
There is no denying that through his
comparative analysis, his work has given us a better understanding
countries' isolation in political/diplomatic,
In addition, Geldenhuys'
of the ostracised
11
economic, military and socio-cultural terms.
article also provides an enlightening
review of the political
background and possible reasons for former president Nelson Mandela's volte-face on
the RSA's China policy.12 Nevertheless, Geldenhuys' works do not explore the history
of the formation of the ROC-RSA
close links, basic differences
between the two, or interactions and co-operations
and commonalties
between the ROC and the RSA.
Nor does he consider the effects of pressure from the PRC or the inevitable parting of
ways of the ROC-RSA
partnership
and the subsequent
adoption of interest-driven
substantive and pragmatic diplomacy by the ROC and the RSA after the change of
r~lations
in January
1998.
This important
development
awaits
further
scholarly
research. 13
As for the fourth category, apart from the above-mentioned
studies, there are also a few
articles, theses and papers that have partial relevance to this study.
analyse
the ROC's economic
investments
in South Africa
Some works
and ROC-RSA
trade
relations; some focus on the three options available to the RSA to deal with its post1994 relations with the ROC; while others analyse the triangular relationship between
tt]e RSA, the PRC and the ROC, and the ROC's pragmatic diplomacy.14
Regarding the ROC's investments in South Africa, John Pickles and Jeff Woods made a
relatively
biased
"homelands"
assessment of Taiwanese investments in the RSA's former
areas.15 They approached the subject from a predominantly Western
viewpoint and the stance of the black trade unions.
Taiwanese investments
According
to
decentralisation
the
The authors omitted reference to
in other parts of the RSA, including the metropolitan
findings
of
this
particular
article,
the
RSA
areas.
government's
policy - while initially appearing beneficial to both the RSA and the
ROC - was not only detrimental to the black workforce and increasingly costly to the
South African government,
but also "entrenche[d] the territorial structure of apartheid
and raises yet further questions about post-apartheid
democratic industrial and urban
policies.,,16 The allegations made by Pickles and Woods became the common belief of
the African National Congress
VVorkers Union (SACTWU)
(COSATU).17
(ANC) elite, the South African
Clothing and Textile
and even the Congress of South African Trade Unions
It created a negative attitude on the part of black leaders towards the
ROC, when they were faced with the question of whether or not the RSA should retain
its relations
with the ROC.
considerably
one-sided.
The allegations
made by Pickles
and Woods
Their article failed to include the Taiwanese
viewpoint
are
or
include reference to Taiwanese documents, which would have made the article more
balanced and objective.
With regard to ROC-RSA
trade relations and bilateral ties, although there are a few
articles which touch on the issue of trade and diplomatic relations between the ROC
and the RSA, none overlap with the focus of this thesis.
Geldenhuys
and Alden
briefly analyse
the development
Among these articles,
of ROC-RSA
diplomatic
relations and the RSA's switching of diplomatic recognition from the ROC to the PRC.18
In addition to these articles, the other partially related research works which have been
completed are Peter Leonard Copping's unpublished MBA thesis entitled "South AfricaRepublic of China Trade Barriers and Export Incentives,,19 and Martyn J. Davies' MA
thesis entitled "South Africa's Relations with the PRC and the ROC, 1949-1995: the
Question of Diplomatic Recognition" and his working paper entitled "South Africa and
Taiwan: Managing the Post-Diplomatic
Relationship.,,20 Copping's thesis analyses the
ROC's foreign trade policy, trade and investment opportunities
the ROC, and how to conduct business with Taiwan.
between the RSA and
Davies' thesis traces the general
triangular relationship between the RSA, the PRC and the ROC, with special appraisal
on the issue of the recognition of the PRC. Davies gives only minimal attention to the
v?lrious ROC-RSA
co-operation programmes and his thesis does not shed light on the
nature of the mysterious nuclear and military collaborations between the two countries.
Nor does he analyse the underlying historical factors of the formation of the special
relationship between the ROC and the RSA during the 1980s, or the turn of the tide in
the 1990s.21
On the issue of the implications of the "Two Chinas" and the RSA's China policy, many
scholars, politicians and officials have presented papers or published articles in journals
or newspapers regarding South Africa's handling of the "Two Chinas" dilemma.
These
include Raymond Suttner, John Barratt, Greg Mills, Richard L. Grant, Temba Sono,
Marthinus
Havenga,
Geldenhuys,
John Daniel, Lee Lai To, Marie Muller, Adrian Gueke, Deon
and Nitesh Dullabh,22 as well as Garth
Shelton, Chris Alden, Garth Ie Pere and Antoni van Nieuwkerk.23 These works mostly
present
Jeff Radebe, WJ Breytenbach
general descriptions of the RSA's relations with the ROC and the PRC, and
weigh up the RSA's options in the conduct of its China policy. The debate that ensued
on this issue was so intense that two separate symposiums were held.
The first was
held on August 26th, 1995 at the University of South Africa, and the second took place
on August 30th, 1995 at Jan Smuts House in Johannesburg.24 These two symposiums
heralded the arrival of a new era in ROC-RSA
relations.
The papers, essays and
articles published by international analysts and experts on foreign relations pertaining to
South Africa's "Two Chinas" dilemma are largely contentious opinions on the issue of
the three options available, namely whether to recognise the PRC, or to recognise the
ROC or to take a middle position to adopt dual recognition of both. These articles may
have proved of some value for the South African government, general public and certain
foreign
policy makers to understand
the RSA's relations
with the "Two Chinas",
especially at a time when South Africa was trying to readjust its relations with the ROC
and had opted for diplomatic relations with the PRC.
relatively little to examine the evolution of ROC-RSA
complex issue of the "Two Chinas".
However, these papers did
relations as a whole within the
Considering this incompleteness there is a definite
need to fill this void in terms of the historical development of ROC-RSA relations.
Having reviewed all the published works and research in this field, it is not difficult to
appreciate that several shortcomings
in the existing published works, literature and
r~search have justified the need for the author to pursue the present research project.
There are five major areas and aspects that require attention:
1. The overall historical development of ROC-RSA
these two countries during the period 1948-1998.
relations and the interactions of
2. The problem that many of the published works on ROC-RSA
relatively
biased and oversimplified,
lacking objectivity,
relations tend to be
balanced
appraisal
and
historical insight. The one-sided aversion to Taiwanese investments in South Africa
does not necessarily mean that the authors are pro-COSATU or pro-South African
Communist
Party (SACP), or too close to the ANC.
articles arise because their findings
The weaknesses
in these
are primarily based on research by South
African sources or Western data. This data is available in English, and the studies
exclude Taiwanese official documents as they are in Chinese, although these would
help to balance the research.
international
The general oversimplification
relations experts on ROC-RSA
of most scholars and
relations during the period of their
isolation is, to a certain extent, also a result of their inability to obtain Taiwanese
information and official documentation.
barrier makes it difficult for Western
Moreover, the constraints of the language
scholars to interpret Taiwanese
research
materials written in Chinese.
3. It is necessary to address the number of common misconceptions which have been
created in studies of ROC-RSA
nature
of co-operation
between
relations, pertaining to the causes, factors and
the two countries.
Many
scholars
found
it
convenient to argue by analogy that the close relationship between the RSA and the
ROC arose simply "resulting from a shared isolation during the apartheid years.,,25
Willie Breytenbach gives the same rationalisation: "Previously, South Africa was one
of the four most isolated Western-orientated
Chile, Israel and Taiwan.
states worldwide - the others were
As a result of their isolation, some of these pariahs
developed close ties with one another, often in fields as controversial as military and
even nuclear co-operation.,,26 Robert E. Harkavy also expounds a similar analogy to
the "pariahtude" and "isolation" of the pariah states.27
Even Geldenhuys alludes to
the collaboration of the isolated states within the context of international ostracism,
rather than the complementary
need of economy and trade, as he reasons that "an
isolated country may seek to strengthen ties with others in the same predicament
and [try to] acquire nuclear weapons, among other things" so as to "confront its
isolation head-on.,,28
4. It will be argued that the factors in the formation of ROC-RSA
Pariah status and international
factors.
ties are manifold.
ostracism are only part of the array of complex
In the final analysis, contrary to common belief, one of the most important
reasons for the cordial ROC-RSA association is the economic/trade factor. It should
be noted that from 1970 onwards, the ROC, just like other Pacific Rim countries
such
as
South
industrialisation.
Korea
and
Japan,
had
already
developed
export-orientated
Therefore the ROC needed to export electronics, textiles, electric
appliances and automobile parts to South Africa, and to import coal, uranium, gold
and other mineral ores from the RSA. Consequently, basic economic requirements
drew the two isolated states together. 29 Nevertheless,
scholars tend to overlook
these important economic factors as well as the factors of national security and the
RSA's strategy of utilising Taiwan "as a bridgehead for Pretoria to expand its contact
and collect information about the Far East.,,30 The possible reason for this is that at
the time, the ROC was the only East Asian country which had full diplomatic ties with
the RSA before
the normalisation
of South Africa's
foreign
relations
in the
international community.31
5. Related to the afore-said misconceptions,
many published works have also created
a myth regarding the alignment of the ROC and the RSA.
around two contending schools of thought.
This myth is centred
In the first, some observers presume
that the ROC and the RSA had secret nuclear and military co-operation, and that
they intended to form an alliance together with other outcast countries, such as
Israel and Paraguay.32
It is alleged that the ROC and the RSA aligned with each
other to counter their domestic and external isolation without any divergence.33 The
second school of thought, as advocated by Harkavy, believes that there are severe
limitations
to "pariah states" alliances' and that they are generally flawed and
problematic.34 These two schools of thought offer opposing views, and thus far this
question has never been fully investigated.
From the above evaluation,
we can conclude
questions that remain unanswered.
that until recently, there are many
The reasons for the close linkage between the
ROC and the RSA are far too complex to be simplified into a single explanation.
date, no work can lay claim to being a comprehensive
To
account of the development of
ROC-RSA relations.
As the ROC-RSA diplomatic ties drew to a close at the end of 1997, it is timely for the
author, in his capacity as a witness to the events as well as a senior ROC diplomat, who
was personally involved with the implementation of ROC diplomacy in the RSA for two
decades (1981-2001), to present a more comprehensive
study on this subject.
This
position will allow for the presentation of an insider's account of the related events, the
evolution of the historical process, its achievements and setbacks, and its benefits and
costs during the period 1948-1998.
By doing so, this study hopes to present a fuller
understanding of the wider range of causes and the forces of history that compelled the
two countries to band together, as well as their eventual parting of ways. An endeavour
is also made to understand the operations and reactions of both countries and the
reasons for the relevant successes and failures of the co-operation
of these isolated
states during a time-span of just under half a century.
The main purpose of this thesis is, therefore, to give a full account of the historical
development of ROC-RSA
1948-1998.
ties and the nature of the bilateral relations in the years
An attempt is made to examine how these ties developed over time and to
present a comprehensive
analysis of ROC-RSA bilateral links. The origins of isolation,
the historical forces in action, the decline of the diplomatic situation, the respective
diplomacy,
domestic
and foreign
alignments, the divergence
policies,
inter-state
relations,
of national interests and strategies,
the formation
of
countermeasures
to
break out of isolation, the limits of alignments, the successes and failures, and the
benefits and costs of inter-pariah alliances, will also be explored.
In addition, efforts are
made to trace the roots of the political and social problems, to compare the historical
process of the economic developments of the two countries, as well as the impact and
effect of the change in South Africa's domestic policies on ROC-RSA
relations.
With
the aim of presenting the historical process and evolution of the ROC-RSA association
from a relatively wider view, the ROC official records and an insider's account of the
various myths will be furnished
and combined with South African documents
and
sources, so as to transcend the trap of a partial and patriotic narrative of historical
events.35
The time-span of this study covers the fifty year period of 1948 to 1998, and the scope
of the research is confined to the historical events pertaining to the ROC and South
Africa.
The then independent "homelands" are treated as a part of the RSA, not as
internationally
recognised
independent
states.36
The relations with Mainland China,
which is under the effective jurisdiction of the PRC government,
is excluded from the
scope of the present work.
The study is limited to the period 1948 to 1998 because these years were historical
turning points for both the ROC and the RSA in terms of their respective
development and foreign relations.
the National
engineering
In the RSA, 1948 heralded the election victory of
Party (NP) and the beginning
of apartheid
policies.37
internal
of the colossal
The gradual
social
implementation
and political
of the morally
indefensible and politically repugnant apartheid policies led the RSA onto the road of
steady deterioration in her stature in the international community.
In the same year, the
ROC's ruling Kuomintang (Nationalist Party; KMT), led by Generalissimo
Chiang Kai-
shek, were on the verge of being defeated in a raging civil war by the Chinese
Communist Party's (CCP) People's Liberation Army (PLA), under the leadership of Mao
Tse-tung.
Half of mainland China was under CCP control, and one year later the KMT
government and its army were compelled to relocate from the mainland to the island of
Taiwan.38
The year 1998 has been chosen as the cut-off point of this study because it
was from January 1st, 1998 that the RSA switched diplomatic recognition from the ROC
to the PRC and that a new phase in ROC-RSA relations emerged.
The structure of this study comprises
an introduction,
a body of six chapters,
a
conclusion and an epilogue.
The present chapter (the introduction)
considers
the historiography
on ROC-RSA
relations, explains the aim and scope of the thesis, as well as the approach
methodology of the research.
and
Lastly, this chapter also reviews the early history of the
island of Taiwan and its relations with the Chinese mainland.
Chapter II analyses the historical background of ROC-RSA
relations (1948-1971), the
basic differences in the domestic and external milieus, as well as the most significant
events that occurred in the two countries during the period 1948 to 1971, prior to the
establishment
commonality,
of full diplomatic ties between the ROC and the RSA in 1976.
The
similarity and differences of the two interacting states, as well as their
reluctance to embrace one another before 1971 are also examined in this chapter.
Chapter III focuses on the historical developments of the forging of ROC-RSA
and diplomatic ties during 1971-1994.
political
It also considers the nature of the ROC-RSA
diplomatic relations, as well as the divergence of national interests and the limits of the
diplomatic alignment of the two countries' attempts to break out of isolation.
Chapter
IV is an in-depth study of the development
financial
ties
(1948-1998),
including
bilateral
of ROC-RSA
relations
in the
economic
spheres
and
of trade,
technology, investment, tourism, fishing, banking, loans, development aid, technical cooperation, and air and sea links.
Chapter V explores the myth of nuclear co-operation
(1976-1990)
countries. The motivation, achievements and setbacks are assessed.
between the two
Chapter VI deals with other aspects of ROC-RSA
the bilateral
military co-operation,
academic,
relations (1948-1998),
sport and socio-cultural
between the ROC and the RSA. The implementation,
in particular
interchanges
results and impact of these co-
operative agreements on the ROC-RSA bilateral relations are appraised in this chapter.
Chapter VII focuses on the final phase of ROC-RSA diplomatic links from 1994 to 1998.
This includes the severance of diplomatic relations; the continuance
of substantive
relations; an examination of the reactions of the respective governments,
people and
press of the ROC and the RSA; the repercussions
of the ending of ROC-RSA
diplomatic
as well as the cross-Straits
ties on the future of ROC-RSA
relations between the PRC and the ROC.
relations;
Hong Kong's reversion to the PRC and the
implications of this hand-over in regard to ROC-RSA relations is also examined, as the
Hong
Kong
factor
was
an
important
driving
motive
behind
the
South
African
government's switch of recognition to the PRC.39
Chapter VIII is comprised of a conclusion and an epilogue.
The conclusion assesses
the eventuality of the RSA's normalisation of relations with the PRC and the limits of the
ROC's "cheque-book diplomacy".4o The epilogue examines the adoption of pragmatic
diplomacy by the two governments to maintain bilateral substantive relations and the
p~ospects of the future relations between the ROC and the RSA.
To many South African and Western scholars, the complicated
issues of ROC-RSA
relations and the "Two Chinas" problem are an unpenetrable
puzzle, just like the
inscrutable ancient Chinese culture. This is because most of the published work in this
field
has relied
documents,
heavily
statements,
on overt sources
such as general
policy pronouncements,
literature,
speeches,
official figures, and media reports.
Much of the contents of these sources are intended for the consumption of the general
public
or for
smokescreen.
propaganda
purposes.
The
real
substance
is hidden
under
a
The important part involves concealed and invisible factors, such as
hidden decisions and actions, intelligence operations, behind the scene negotiations
and tacit understandings,
as well as the role-players'
basic motives, their values,
ideology, long-term goals, interests, world view and historical perceptions.
These covert
factors are sometimes more important than overt factors. But because of sensitivity and
security considerations, the relevant governments tend to hide these covert factors from
the public.
Hence, the visible and quantifiable empirical data are only the tip of the
iceberg.
Therefore,
empirical
the approach
adopted
in this dissertation
is to avoid following
model and using merely overt sources, quantifiable
Instead the author will also use available
quantifiable and non-observable
a rigid
and empirical
data.
covert sources and non-empirical,
non-
data, as well as information in respect of clandestine
activities, secret diplomacy, mutual betrayal and even psychological tactics to analyse
what were the real happenings during the years under discussion.41 Covert sources
include role-players' personal recollections, unpublished diplomatic documents, minutes
of secret meetings and interviews.
Other primary sources and references are drawn
from mainly English and Chinese sources, and translations of Afrikaans sources have
also been utilised.
Firstly, as a senior career diplomat in the ROC foreign
responsibilities,
arduous
workload,
and frequent
continuity of this research project very difficult.
service,42 the demanding
diplomatic
transfers
made
the
Official duties and state affairs often
disrupted the collection of primary sources, the arrangement of the academic framework
and even the writing of the dissertation.43
Secondly, some of the covert sources and intelligence
information
that the author
obtained in his diplomatic service in regard to this thesis are extremely sensitive and
cannot be made public.
Some of this information is still barred from publication by the
related governments
discussed
due to the 50 year embargo, and some of the political leaders
are still in power.
The exposure
of certain
situations,
sources
and
clandestine dealings will inevitably result in political controversy and diplomatic friction.
Therefore certain valuable information and sources have been omitted in this study, so
as to avoid this arising.44
Thirdly, the inability of the author to understand the Afrikaans language has to a certain
extent, constrained the availability of information published in Afrikaans, although the
author has acquired the most relevant sources in translations, where possible.
1.5
HISTORICAL
BACKGROUND-THE
SEPARATION
OF
THE
CHINESE
MAINLAND AND TAIWAN
The ROC, commonly known as Taiwan, has probably never been comprehensively
understood in a balanced and objective manner by the international community, nor by
many people in the RSA.
As history does not develop in a vacuum,
in order to
understand the ROC, there is a need to first understand the unique history of the island
of Taiwan and its bittersweet relations with the Chinese mainland.
Taiwan's indigenous people are proto-Malayan aborigines, belonging to the MalayanPolynesian family of Indonesia.45 Although Chinese settlement in Taiwan dates back to
the 12th century, large-scale Chinese migration to the island only began during the 17th
century.46 Towards the end of the 16th century, Portuguese navigators sailed around
the coast of Taiwan and named the island "lIha Formosa" which means "beautiful
island.,,47
Formosa (the Chinese called the island "Taiwan")
Chinese imperial administration
did not come under
during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).
In 1623, the
Dutch East India Company took over the island, and from 1624 to 1662, the Dutch ruled
the southern part of the island,48 while the Spanish occupied the northern part for some
time.
In 1644, Manchu tribesmen invaded China, overthrew the Ming dynasty, and
established the Ching dynasty (1644-1912).
A Ming loyalist, Cheng Ch'eng-kung (also
known as Koxinga) invaded Taiwan and ousted the Dutch in 1662.
Cheng and his
successors set up their own autonomous government and ruled Taiwan between 1662
and 1683.
However, Cheng's government surrendered
to the Ching dynasty when
faced with an imminent invasion by the Ching navy in 1683. Taiwan was then formally
incorporated by the Ching Empire.49
Before 1683, the rulers of mainland China had by and large ignored Taiwan and
Chinese contact with Taiwan was minimal.5o The rule of the Ching dynasty over Taiwan
was short-lived and resisted by the Taiwanese population.
contend with sixty-eight Taiwanese
The Ching dynasty had to
popular uprisings during 1683-1894.51 In 1895,
Japan defeated China in the Sino-Japanese
war, and Taiwan was ceded to Japan.
Japan ruled Taiwan for fifty years until the Japanese were defeated by the Allies at the
end of World War II.
In 1945, the Allies returned Taiwan to the Kuomintang
Nationalist government led by Chiang Kai-shek.52
or
On the Chinese mainland, the Ching dynasty was overthrown in 1912 and Asia's first
democracy,
the ROC, was established
leadership of Sun Vat-sen.
by the Kuomintang
at Nanking
under the
Chiang Kai-shek, the then commander-in-chief
Kuomintang army, succeeded Sun Yat-sen in the late 1920s.
of the
In the early 1930s, while
Chiang was in power, the Chinese civil war began. The Chinese Communist Party
(CCP) was established in 1921.53
In 1931, led by Mao Tse-tung (also spelt Mao
Zedong), the CCP began its armed rebellion and established its own government (the
so-called "Chinese Soviet Republic") in Juichin, Kiangsi province.54 As the Kuomintang
government
and its forces were preoccupied
with repelling the Japanese
invasion
during 1937-1945, the CCP was able to expand its influence and territory.55 At the end
of World War II, civil war between the Kuomintang and the CCP once again broke out
on the Chinese mainland in 1945. Following defeat by the CCP in early 1949, Chiang
Kai-shek and his Kuomintang government relocated from mainland China to Taiwan.
Chiang's retreat to Taiwan and his struggle against the odds to recover the mainland
parallel Koxinga's resistance to the Manchus.
In October 1949, the CCP established
the People's Republic of China (PRC) at Beijing.56
In brief, as a result of the Chinese civil war, China has been divided into two contending
political entities since 1949: these are the People's Republic of China (PRC) on the
mainland (seated in Beijing, formerly called Peking), and the Republic of China (ROC),
which relocated its seat of government from the Chinese mainland to Taiwan (seated in
Taipei).
Both the ROC and the PRC exist simultaneously
Straight with different political systems.
on each side of the Taiwan
The ROC, a democracy,
jurisdiction over Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other islets.
party communist state; has control over the Chinese mainland.
maintains territorial
The PRC, a oneAlthough the PRC
government claims to represent the whole of China, including Taiwan, and insists that
the ROC should be treated as part of China without the status of a state, each
government has effective jurisdiction over its respective territory.
both sides claim to be sovereign
independent
In international affairs,
states, neither being subject to the
other.57
Under Chiang and his successors' rule, martial law was imposed on Taiwan for the next
forty years.
people's
Nevertheless,
quest for political
the Chiang's martial law could not stop the Taiwanese
freedom
and democracy.
In 1986, the
Progressive Party (DPP), which is composed of mostly non-mainlanders,
Democratic
was formed.58
The DPP was in the forefront of the democratic movement in the 1980s.
In his final
years, the ROC's former president, Chiang Ching-kuo (the eldest son of Chiang Kaishek), instituted some domestic political reforms during the 1980s. Upon the foundation
laid by the Chiangs, the ROC was able to move rapidly towards democracy.
From
1987, as the restrictions of the emergency decree were lifted, the ROC's citizens are
allowed to visit the Chinese mainland.
In 1988, Lee Teng-hui succeeded Chiang Ching-
kuo after Chiang's death. Lee was formally elected president by the National Assembly
in 1990. Lee Teng-hui, a Taiwan-born leader, continued his predecessor's
policies of
li~eralisation and the reformation of the ROC's ossified political system and made great
contributions to greatly deepen the democratisation
process.
59
Under the Chiangs, the
ROC government claimed to be the sole legitimate government of the whole of China.
Despite the imposition of martial law, the Chiangs allowed local elections for county
magistrates,
members.
city mayors, provincial assembly members and county and city council
Supplementary elections for the members of the three parliamentary bodies
- the Legislative Yuan, the National Assembly and the Control Yuan - were also held
regularly in the ROC.6o
However, because the ROC government was not in effective control over the mainland,
before 1987 it was asserted that wholesale general elections and presidential elections
by direct popular vote were impossible, since the election could only be held in Taiwan,
~nd not on mainland China as well. In 1991, Lee formally renounced the ROC's claim to
be the only legitimate government
of China and repealed the so-called Temporary
Provisions Effective During the Period of Mobilization for Suppression of the Communist
Rebellion.
By doing so, the ROC government intended to end the state of hostility and
peacefully resolve the differences between the two sides of the Taiwan Straight.
The
PRC has not responded in good faith and has consistently refused to renounce the use
of force against the ROC.
Lee's renouncement
was a significant turning point, and
paved the way for further political reform and the adoption of a more flexible foreign
policy, as well as general elections for MPs and the first direct popular election of the
ROC's President in March 1996.
democracy.61
It was
under
In many ways, Lee was the architect of the ROC's
Lee's
presidency
(1988-2000),
that the
ROC was
transformed from a one-party state to a full democracy and free country. As of 1996,
there were 82 different political parties registered in the ROC.62 The Kuomintang, the
DPP, the People First Party and the New Party are the major political parties. Freedom
of speech and the freedom of the press are fully respected, and no subject is off-limits.
It was also under Lee's presidency that Taiwanization and Taiwan's identity emerged as
the main focus of the ROC's politics.63 In March 2000, the ROC's democratic process
reached its peak with the election of Chen Shui-bian from the DPP as president.
On
May 20th, 2000, Lee transferred power peacefully to Chen. Chen's inauguration marks
the completion of the ROC's democratisation.64
In contrast to the ROC's remarkable stable economic development and political reforms,
the Chinese mainland under the PRC government has gone through three decades of
turbulent upheaval and revolutionary turmoil prior to 1978. These decades witnessed
the land reform and socialist transformation
(1958-1959),
natural
disasters
(1949-1957),
in 1959-1961
the Great Leap Forward
and the Great
Proletarian
Cultural
Revolution (1966-1976).65 These socialist experiments greatly horrified the Taiwanese
people and cost the PRC three decades of national development.
The differences
between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits widened during 1949-1978.
As the ROC
was isolated internationally, its government chose liberalisation and democratisation
a course of action to solicit international support.
as
Although the mainland started to
embark upon economic reforms in 1979, the PRC's former paramount
leader, Deng
Xiaoping, and his successor, Jiang Zemin, chose to "stick with the socialist road" and
suppress "bourgeois liberalisation" in the face of political liberalisation and ideological
tightening.66 The brutal crushing of the pro-democracy protests in Beijing's Tiananmen
Square in June 1989, and the PRC's recent suppression of various religious groups,
jocluding the Tibetan Buddhists, Xinjang's Muslims and members of the Falun Gong
spiritual movement, are the hallmarks of Beijing's anti-liberalisation crackdown.67 The
Tiananmen Square killings had "demonstrated the limits to his [Deng's] political courage
and vision by moving in the opposite direction.,,68 The Taiwanese people's "mainland
fever" and their aspirations to reunify were totally shattered by the brutality of the June
69
~th, 1989 Tiananman Square crackdown.
The above historical
development
shows clearly that long-standing
animosity
and
political divergences are existent in Taiwan-Mainland
relations, and that the assertion
that Taiwan has always been an integral part of China is a myth, not a fact.70 Taiwan's
complex history reflects that although Taiwan was incorporated with mainland China for
short periods at different times (1683-1894
and 1945-1948), for far greater periods,
Taiwan has been separate from the Chinese mainland polity.
It was only during the
period 1885-1895 and in the years immediately after the end of World War II that
Taiwan was a province of China.71 John Bryan Starr, a Yale scholar, rightly affirms that
"at all other times, Taiwan has been largely independent to the control of a mainland
Chinese government.,,72 It is evident that Taiwan is not part of the PRC governed by
Beijing. The ROC is effectively an independent sovereign state, and unlike the PRC, it
73
is a vibrant multi-party democracy. Politically, the ROC and the PRC are drifting apart.
Many scholars are of a similar opinion. Weiqun Gu, a Harvard-trained
Chinese scholar,
considers China after the end of World War II as one of the "divided nations", similar to
Germany, Vietnam and Korea.74 Michael Yahuda, a Reader at the University of London
School of Economics and Political Science, also indicates that "Taiwan is a de facto
independent and sovereign Chinese state that is neither unified with the mainland, nor a
separate state."75
John Daniel, a professor at the University
of Durban-Westville,
concludes that "there is no real historical validity to the mainland's claim that Taiwan is
an inalienable part of China and always has been.,,76 Daniel further points out that, as
the majority of the ROC's residents were born in Taiwan, not in mainland China, "they
see themselves first and foremost as citizens of Taiwan.,,77 However, culturally and
ethnically the ROC's citizens are still Chinese.
Daniel points out that "they are Chinese,
yes, in the same way as South Africa's Indians are still Indians, but that does not make
them feel or yearn to be citizens of India.,,78
The two sides' political cultures and the prevalent values of their respective societies
are also different.
(1806-1873)
The well-known Victorian writer and philosopher,
pointed
out that due to its intolerance
John Stuart Mill
of the spirit of liberty and
individuality, the Chinese culture had become despotic and stationary.79
This view
r~flects the Taiwanese perspective of the PRC. The PRC government is seen as an
authoritarian, brutal and oppressive regime.
From this point of view, Chinese history is
perceived as "a sad chronicle of advance and decline recurring again and again" and
mainland China is once again "caught in the vicious circle of its stagnant history.,,8D The
animosity of the majority of native-born Taiwanese people to the Chinese communist
regime is reflected by the following remarks made by the ROC former President, Lee
Teng-hui:
What did the Communist
continent
revolution accomplish?
out of stagnation
It did not bring the
or free the people of stifling, oppressive
tradition;
Economic
what it did do was resurrect
production
"hegemony"
appears to have increased
and imperialism.
under the "socialist
market economy," but the thinking behind it has not changed.
Mainland
China's economy may be growing, but political reform has not progressed
at all. The situation in the mainland now leads me to believe that Taiwan
is the one to provide a model for all China in the future.81
hi
addition to their aversion to the PRC's despotism and its suppression
of political
freedom, the Taiwanese feel repugnance towards Beijing's frequent intimidation and
threat
of an armed
international
invasion
community's
of Taiwan,
the PRC's coercive
unfair treatment of the ROC.
diplomacy
and the
A statement made by Lee
mirrored this antipathy and revealed "the pathos of being born Taiwanese.,,82 He was
saddened
by the fact that "for centuries
opportunity to govern themselves;
the people of Taiwan were denied the
[and] no matter how hard they might strive, their
homeland was not their own. ,,83 Lee's remarks reflect the feelings of the majority of the
ROC's people.
Most Taiwanese are unhappy with the ROC's diplomatic isolation as
well as the manner in which the ROC has been victimised in the international political
arena.
An official at the ROC's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) stated: "We have
been unfairly treated by the world. We are not the IRA or the PLO, but are regarded as
untouchables.,,84 Many Taiwanese are upset that San Marino is a member of the United
Nations, while the ROC, an economic giant, is not. 85
The ROC former Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Chang, expressed similar sentiments
while addressing the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy of the
European Parliament at Brussels, Belgium, on May 27th, 1997. Chang commented that
it had taken more than 25 years for the ROC government to be given an important
international forum such as the European Parliament to have the ROC's voice heard, to
r~lay the ROC's views and to tell the ROC's side of the story. Chang stated:
It is sad to point out that our freedom of speech as a sovereign state, has
long been deprived of from almost all international
organisations
since
1971, the year we were forced out of the UN, simply because of mainland
China's untrue position that there is but one China on earth, which is the
People's Republic of China, and that the Republic of China on Taiwan is
one of their provinces.
The sheer existence of one able, prosperous,
vigorous and democratic government called the Republic of China, has
been for nearly a quarter-century, veiled in [the] thick political fog of world
politics.
The truth about my country, and the truth about my people have
all been flagrantly
government
distorted and badly twisted.
as a sovereign
state
have
And the rights of my
subsequently
been
brutally
neglected, ignored and even totally denied in the world affairs arena for
decades.86
As a result of this, there is a great deal of residual bitterness and distrust amongst the
Taiwanese towards mainland China. The two sides of the Taiwan Straight have had no
official contact since 1949; however private exchanges have grown steadily since 1987,
particularly in the aspects of culture, science, education, visits and business.
There is
also a strong determination for the Taiwanese to control their own destiny and maintain
their very existence.8?
The ROC's relations with the RSA is the story of the ROC's long
struggle to devise a diplomatic
strategy to reduce
its economic
vulnerability
and
dependence on the USA for its national security, and to ensure sovereign control over
its own existence.88
There are two ways to transliterate Chinese individual names and places into English:
the older "Wade-Giles" system and the "pinyin" (phonetic spelling) system.
In the ROC,
the "Wade-Giles" method is still mostly used. This is the system that has been used for
more than a century by Western scholars and the media in the past. For example, the
name of the former leader of the CCP is spelt "Mao Tse-tung" according to the "WadeGiles" system, but "Mao Zedong" according to the "pinyin" system.
A second example
II6'1C\ \""10 ':2
b \5~"8"80~3
is the name of the ROC former President Chiang, which is spelt "Chiang Ching-kuo" and
"Jiang Jingguo" according to the two systems, respectively.
"Wade-Giles"
method, the former paramount
Similarly, according to the
leader of the PRC is known as "Teng
Hsiao-ping", not "Deng Xiaoping".
In mainland China, the PRC uses the "pinyin" system, e.g. "Beijing", not "Peking"; "Mao
Zedong",
not
"Mao
Tse-tung";
"Guomindang", not "Kuomintang".
"Deng
Xiaoping",
not
"Teng
Hsiao-ping";
and
This system has become the internationally favoured
method of transliterating Chinese into Roman characters, and the "Wade-Giles" system
has been gradually phased out. Although the spelling of the two systems differs, the
original Chinese characters
and the pronunciation
of these terms are basically the
s·ame. However, the ROC uses the traditional regular Chinese characters, and the PRC
has adopted a simplified form of Chinese characters.
This means that the Chinese
characters used in the ROC and the PRC are now written differently.
As the author was born and bred in Taiwan, he has opted to follow neither system
consistently in this thesis, but rather to use what seems to him to be the most familiar
spelling to Western readers; e.g. "Mao Tse-tung", not "Mao Zedong"; "Chiang Kai-shek",
not "Jiang Jiehshih";
"Guomindang";
"Chiang
Ching-kuo",
not "Jiang Jingguo";
"Beijing", not "Peking"; and "Taipei", not "Taibei".
"Kuomintang",
not
To put it simply, a
combination of the "Wade-Giles" and the "pinyin" systems has been used throughout
the thesis.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
The most relevant paper pertaining to the bilateral relations between the Republic of China (ROC)
and the Republic of South Africa (RSA) is the official document prepared by the RSA's Department of
Foreign Affairs, entitled "Background paper for discussion with Foreign Minister John Chang of the
Republic of China on January 1997". This paper analyses mainly the ROC's negotiating strategy, the
RSA's interests, what the RSA could offer the ROC, and what would the ROC like to secure in the
RSA. This paper never touches upon the historical evolution of ROC-RSA relations, nor was it
published.
The notable academic works are D. Geldenhuys' Isolated States' A Comparative Analysis and his
article "The Politics of South Africa's China Switch" in Issues & Studies, Vol.33, No.7, July 1997; C.
Alden, ·Solving South Africa's Chinese Puzzle: Democratic Foreign Policy Making and the 'Two
Chinas' Question", in the South African Institute of International Affairs' (SAIIA) South African Journal
of International Affairs, Vol.5, No.2, Winter 1998; and the unpublished MA thesis written by M. J.
Davies, entitled "South Africa's Relations with the PRC and the ROC 1949 to 1995: The Question of
Diplomatic Recognition." None of these studies overlap this thesis.
C.F.J. Muller (ed.), Five Hundred Years: A History of South Africa, p.19.
The Chinese community in South Africa numbered around 20,000 people in 1996, which constituted
0.04% of the RSA's total population. See M. Yap & D. L. Man, Colour, Confusion and Concessions:
The History of the Chinese in South Africa, p.1 of the Introduction.
D.F.S. Fourie, ·South Africa and the East", in A. J. Venter (ed.), Foreign policy Issues in a Democratic
South Africa, p.153.
See the SAIIA Research Group, South Africa and the Two Chinas Dilemma; as well as W.
Breytenbach, "The Chinese Dilemma: Dual Recognition is the Ultimate Solution", in The South
African Journal of International Affairs, Vol.2, No.1, Summer 1994.
See G. Mbeki, The Struggle for Liberation in South Africa' A Short History; I. Liebenberg (ed.), Ibe
Long March' The Story of the Struggle for Liberation in South Africa; R. Kasrils, Anned and
Dangerous; and J. Siovo, The Unfinished Autobiography.
See B. D. Larkin, China and Africa; A. Ogunsanwo, China's policy in Africa, 1958-1971; W.
Pfeifenberger, "The South African Policy of the People's Republic of China" in Journal for
Contemporary History, Vol.6, No.1, JUly 1981, pp.1-11; C. Maritz, ·Pretoria's Reaction to the Role of
Moscow and Peking in Southern Africa" in Journal of Modem African Studies, Vol.25, No.2, 1987,
pp.321-344; and the Ph.D. thesis presented to the Rand Afrikaans University in 1976 by D. S.
Prinsloo entitled "China's Foreign Policy and Southern Africa, 1949-1973:
See P. Vale's paper entitled ·South Africa and Taiwan - Pariahs, International Redemption and
Global Change: The paper was presented at a conference in Taipei organised by the Democratic
Progressive Party (DPP) in 1993 called "Taiwan's Expanding Role in the International Arena: Entering
into the United Nations." This 19-page paper focuses mainly on both the practical and ideological
issues concerning the pariah status of the RSA and the ROC. Also see D. Geldenhuys' Isolated
States; K. van Wyk, "Elite Perceptions of South Africa's International Options", in International Affairs
Bulletin, Vol.11, No.3, 1987, pp.51-76; R. E Harkavy, "The Pariah State Syndrome", in Qrbis, Vol.21,
No.3, Fall 1977, pp.627-631.
D. Geldenhuys, Isolated States; South Africa and the China Question' A Case for Dual Recognition,
March 1995; and "The Politics of South Africa's 'China Switch'" in Issues & Studies, Vol.33, No.7, July
1997, pp. 93-131.
Ibid.
Ibid.
See M. J. Davies, South Africa and TaiwaO" Managing the Post-Diplomatic Relationship, East Asia
Project (EAP), International Relational Department, University of the Wltswaterstrand, November
1998; G. Mills & W. Mabena, "One China, Two Nations - Chen's Dilemma", in The Sowetan, May 19th,
2000; W. Mabena, "A New Chapter in Cross-Straits Relations" in SAIIA's South African yearbook of
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
32.
33.
34.
35.
36.
37.
38.
39.
40.
International Affairs 200011, pp.377-383; C. Alden, "China and South Africa: The Dawn of a New
Relationshipftin SAIIA's South African Yearbook of International Affairs 1998/9, pp.89-91; C. Alden &
G. Shelton, Cross-Straits Relations: A Study of Chinese Interaction Across Political and Economic
Barriers; and G. Shelton, "China's Africa Policy and South Africa: Building New Economic
Partnerships", in SAIIA's South African Yearbook of International Affairs 2000/1, pp.385-392..
See G. Mills, "Sowing Investment" in Business Africa, October 2000, pp.75-77; M. Glinzer, "Not a
Zero-sum Game: SA, Taiwan and Chinaft, in the SAIIA's Intelligence Update, 24/2000, pp.1-3; the
SAIIA Research Group, South Africa and the Two Chinas Dilemma; and M. J. Davies, South Africa's
Relations with the PRC and the ROC 1949 to 1995: The Question of Diplomatic Recognition, MA
thesis submitted to the University of the Wrtwaterstrand, October 1995.
J. Pickles & J. Woods, "Taiwanese Investment in South Africa", in African Affairs, Vol.88, No.353,
October 1989, pp.515-529.
Ibid., p.528.
Personal interviews, held on March 18th, 1996, with Mr Paulos Ngcobo, COSATU Regional Secretary
in KwaZulu-Natal, and Mr Jabu Ngcobo, General Secretary of SACTWU.
D. Geldenhuys, "The Politics of South Africa's 'China Switch'ft in Issues & Studies, Vo1.33,No.7, July
1997, pp. 93-131; and C. Alden, "SOlving South Africa's Chinese Puzzle: Democratic Foreign Policy
Making and the 'Two Chinas' Question", in SAIIA's South African Journal of International Affairs,
Vol.5, No.2, Winter 1998, pp.80-93.
P. L. Copping, South Africa-Republic of China Trade Barriers and Export Incentives, MBA thesis,
University of the Wltswaterstrand, 1984.
M. J. Davies, South Africa and Taiwan' Managing the Post-Diplomatic Relationship, pp.1-13.
Davies' thesis neither explores ROC-RSA relations during 1995-1998, nor provides a detailed
examination of the historical forces leading to the RSA's severance of diplomatic ties with the ROC.
See the SAIIA Research Group, South Africa and the Two Chinas Dilemma.
G. Ie Pere & A. van Nieuwkerk, "Making Foreign Policy in South Africa", in P. Nel & P. J. McGowan
(eds.), Power, Wealth and Global Order An International Relations Textbook for Africa, pp.196-215.
See the SAIIA Research Group, South Africa and the Two Chinas Dilemma.
R. Suttner, "Dilemmas of South African Foreign Policy: the Question of Chinaft, in South Africa and
the Two Chinas Dilemma, p.4.
W. Breytenbach, "The Chinese Dilemma: Dual Recognition is the Ultimate Solutionft, in The South
African Journal of International Affairs, Vo1.2,No.1, Summer 1994.
Harkavy, "The Pariah State Syndrome", pp.627-631.
Geldenhuys, Isolated States, p.669.
H. Kobayasi, "The Economic Development of Pacific Rim Countries and Southern Africaft, in Ibe
South African Journal of International Affairs, Vo1.2,No.1, Summer 1994, pp.40-43.
Wen-jen Hu, The Strategic Significance of the Republic of China on Taiwan, Ph.D. thesis, University
of Pretoria, 1988, p.351.
Ibid.
G. St.J. Barclay, "Strategy of Despair: South Africa and the Alignment of the Alienated, 1974-82", in
Journal for Contempora[y Hislo[y, Vol.7, No.2, December 1982, pp.2-5.
Ibid., pp.2-5, 10.
Harkavy, "The Pariah State Syndrome", pp.644-645.
The official documents from the archives of the former Embassy of the Republic of China (from
January 1998 named the "Taipei Liaison Office in the RSA") and the RSA's Department of Foreign
Affairs are simultaneously utilised to present a relative objective historical account of the period under
stUdy (1948-1998).
The government of the Republic of China (ROC) did not recognise the four independent homelands,
Le. Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and CiskeL
D. Posel, The Making of Apartheid, 1948-1961, pp.1-5.
P. Johnson, Modem Times, p.446.
Geldenhuys, "The Politics of South Africa's 'China Switch'ft in Issues & Studies, Vol.33, No.7, July
1997, p.115.
Le Pere & van Nieuwkerk, "Making Foreign Policy in South Africa", in P. Nel & P.J. McGowan (eds.),
power, wealth and Global Order, p.213.
41.
42.
43.
44.
45.
46.
47.
48.
49.
50.
51.
52.
53.
54.
55.
56.
57.
58.
59.
60.
61.
62.
63.
64.
65.
66.
67.
68.
69.
70.
Part of the covert sources used in this thesis include interviews with the relevant ambassadors,
officials, leader of organisations, such as COSATU, SACTWA and the SACP, as well as their
personal revelations of confidential information and the two governments' unpublished minutes of
various internal meetings.
The author was Charge d'Affaires of the ROC diplomatic missions in Grenada and St. Lucia, ConsulGeneral and Dean of Consular Corps in Durban, RSA and the Deputy Chief of Mission in South Africa.
He was appointed as the ROC Ambassador to the Republic of the Marshall Islands with effect from
March 1611\ 2001, and took up his Ambassadorial post as from June 511\ 2001.
As a highly competent diplomat, the author was transferred frequently to different places to implement
the ROC's foreign policy: South Africa (1981-1984), Swaziland (1984-1989), Grenada (1989-1990),
St. Lucia (1990-1992), Taipei (1992-1994), Durban (1994-1998), Pretoria (1998-2001) and the
Marshall Islands (2001 to date). As a result of this, the writing of the thesis was disrupted from time
to time, and as the thesis took a long time in completing, the political situation changed during the
process of this study.
In order to avoid diplomatic controversy and legal implications, the details of the ROC's "chequebook
diplomacy", sensitive behind-the-scene dealings between certain political leaders and related
governments, and allegations of a RSA-Israel nuclear connection, as well as the details of the RSA's
destruction of its six nuclear devises, are deleted from this thesis.
The Republic of China Yearbook. 1996, p.53.
Ibid., pp.55-56.
Ibid., p.54.
Ibid.
Ibid., p.57.
C. Attix, "Between the devil and the deep blue sea: are Taiwan's trading partner's implying
recognition of Taiwanese statehood?" in California Western International Law Journal, Vol.25, 1995,
p.359.
Ibid., pp.359-360.
Ibid., p.361.
The ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), The Republic of China
on Taiwan and the United
Nations, August 1995, p.3.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid., p.5.
Republic of China Yearbook 1996, P.99.
RepUblic of China Yearbook 1997, pp.68-69.
Ibid., pp.102-103.
See Lee Teng-hui, The Road to Democracy, p.10. Lee continued to focus his efforts for democracy
during the 1990s.
Republic of China Yearbook 1997, p.99.
J. B. Starr, Understanding China, p.276. Also see Lee Teng-hui, The Road to Democracy, pp.51-52.
S. Breslin, "China's response to democratization in Taiwan" in Global Dialogue, September 2000,
VoI.5.2, p.27.
See M. Seldon (ed.), The people'S Republic of China' A Documentary History of Revolutionary
Change, pp.95-111.
Deng Xiaoping's remarks made at the CCP Central Politburo Standing Committee meeting on June
16th, 1989 and its enlarged meeting on June 19th, 1989, while he met with the CCP's third generation
leadership, including Jiang Zernin and Li Peng. See A. J. Nathan & P. Links (eds.), The TIananmen
Papers, pp.428, 432.
See Newsweek, July 10th, 2000, pp.26-41 (Dreams as big as the West) and pp.41-42 (Trouble in
'Turkestan': Beijing's crackdown on the Uighurs of Xinjiang); and The Star, March 19th, 2001, p.4
(Falun Gong fire victim dies).
Starr, Understanding China, p.286.
Chong-pin Lin, "Beijing and Taipei: dialects in post-Tiananmen interactions" in David Shambaugh
(ed.), Greater China' The Next Superpower? p.119.
Starr, Understanding China, p.267.
71.
72.
73.
74.
75.
76.
77.
78.
79.
80.
81.
82.
83.
84.
85.
86.
87.
88.
Ibid.
Ibid.
See Newsweek, July 10th, 2000, p.43 (Getting to 'One China': the G8 should urge Taiwan and Beijing
to resume talks about their most sensitive issue).
See Weiqun Gu, Conflicts of Divided Nations' The Case of China and Korea, p.1.
M. Yahuda, "The foreign relations of Greater China" in D. Shambaugh (ed.), Greater China: The Next
Superpower?, p.35.
J. Daniel, "Discussant", in SAIIA (ed.), South Africa and the Two Chinas Dilemma, p.17.
Ibid.
Ibid.
J. S. Mill, "On Liberty", collected in The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 1968, Vo1.2,pp.12721273.
Lee Teng-hui, The Road to Democracy, p.53.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
See The Economist, November 12th, 1994 (Defending Taiwan). Also see the ROC Ministry of Foreign
Affairs (hereinafter referred to as MOFA), The ROe--precious Jade' Selected Articles from the Wor1d
News Media on the Republic of China, July 1995, p.41.
Ibid.
J. Chang's speech, "We, the RepUblic of China on Taiwan, shall rise up again", delivered at the
European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium, on May 22nd, 1997, published in Hungdah Chiu (ed.),
Chinese Yearbook of International Law and Affairs, Vo1.15,1996-1997, pp.1-2.
Lee, The Road to Democracy, pp.51-52.
See the minutes of the 189th meeting of the Central Standing Committee of the Kuomintang, held at
Taipei, on October 22nd, 1980.
The year 1948 marked a watershed in the history of the ROC and the RSA in terms of
their internal historical development and external relations. It heralded not only the end of
the high-profile era for the national leaders of both the ROC and the RSA, but also the
beginning of a period of dramatic change in the domestic situation as well as the decline of
the international stature of both countries.
Before 1948, the then Union of South Africa was one of the most prestigious members of
the international
community.
Despite sporadic criticism levelled at the it over its
administration of South West Africa and the treatment of its Indian population, South Africa
enjoyed a highly respected international position and pursued normal interactions with
other countries. The Union of South Africa was one of three independent states in Africa
and the most economically developed country on the continent.
Commonwealth,
As a member of the
South Africa was fully integrated with the mainstream of international
s·ociety. She was also regarded as an important link of the Commonwealth
network in Africa. 1
defence
At the time, her internal racial policies rarely met any significant
challenge. Large parts of Africa and Asia were still under white colonial rule as it was the
last phase of European colonialism, and white domination over the non-white peoples was
generally the order of the day. The long practised policy of racial segregation and white
minority rule in South Africa seldom became a conspicuous focus of world condemnation.
South Africa's internal racial policy did not expand into an internationalised issue, as would
be the case in the second half of the twentieth century. As it was still in the era of the Pax
Britannica,
the British connection - notwithstanding Britain's criticism of South Africa's
domestic policies - was one of the beneficial factors for South Africa to facilitate its close
association with the Western powers, which in turn enhanced South Africa's international
standing.
Apart from its links with Britain, the pre-eminent role played by the Prime Minister of th~
Union of South Africa, Field Marshal Jan Smuts, and the Union's significant role in the
war effort of the Allies, also contributed to South Africa's esteemed position in the
international
community.
Smuts' personal charisma, his international
prestige and
active role in the Allies' defeat of the Axis powers certainly boosted South Africa's image
and international standing.
As a result, South Africa not only enjoyed unproportionate
international influence, but also played a leading role in important international activities
such as the formation of the League of Nations and the United Nations (UN).
Smuts'
prestige and international stature reached a pinnacle during his second term (19391945) as Prime Minister when he attended meetings of the War Cabinet in London.2
On the Chinese
manifested
mainland,
the development
a similar trend.
In the inter-war
of events
during
the same
years, the Kuomintang
period
(Nationalist)
government was considered one of the major Allied Powers as it played an important
role in resisting
government,
Japanese
Generalissimo
aggression
in Asia.
in the war years.
comparable to Smuts in terms of international stature.
war broke
of the Kuomintang
Chiang Kai-shek, was the Supreme Commander
Allied Forces of the China Theatre
Sino-Japanese
The leader
out -
of the
At the time, Chiang was
From the year 1937 - when the
until 1948, Chiang
stood
at the zenith
of his
international prestige and political power as he dominated a large and populous country.
At the height of his career, he attended the summit meeting of the leaders of the Allied
powers in Cairo in 1943 as one of the Big Four, together with Josef Stalin, Winston
Churchill and Franklin
D. Roosevelt.
He was heralded
as "the greatest
soldier-
statesman of our time on the Continent of Asia.,,3
However, in the wake of the Second World War, a gradual process of international
isolation set in for both the Kuomintang and the South African governments,
year 1948 became
an important
countries' international status.
turning
point for the deterioration
and the
of these two
After 1948, both countries were to face unprecedented
adversity with sweeping changes of the internal and external milieu. Both were heading
towards isolation and a decline of international
status; both were confronted with a
looming threat to national security; both were accused of illegitimate governance and
both suffered
the diminishing
international community.
due to fundamental
stature
of the respective
political
leaders
in the
The turn of the tide against these two countries was largely
changes in their external environment as well as their domestic
situations.
In the international environment, the end of the Second World War did not bring any
further grandeur and acclaim to Smuts or Chiang Kai-shek.
On the contrary, the end of
the war was actually "the concluding phase of one of the most historic and dramatic
developments of our time.,,4 The process of decolonisation was set to change the old
international political map. The post war era saw the swift dismantling, in the time-span of
s
one generation, of the Western colonial system which had developed over five centuries.
The decline of the Western European colonial powers was partly the consequence of the
unleashing of powerful nationalism, a sense of national awakening and anti-colonialism
unseen before among the colonised Asian and African peoples.
Pan-Africanism, which
gave a sense of solidarity and sentiment of a common group heritage to the black people
of African origin, was one of the said new forces to unite African people for liberation and
decolonisation.
The large scale prolonged war had also exhausted and weakened the
European colonial powers, especially Britain, which survived the war, but was in a much
vyeaker position compared to the pre-war era.6 As a result of the decline of the old
European system, a brand new post-war world order emerged to replace that which
existed before the war. Decolonisation and self-determination became an internationally
accepted norm.
Consequently, the process of decolonisation
produced many newly-
independent countries which were to emerge in Africa, Asia and other Third World areas.
The composition of the Third World community and that of international organisations also
changed.
The old European-centred
world order was replaced by a new bi-polar
international system of Cold War. The pivot of world power was thus shifted from Western
Europe to the United States of America (USA) and the Soviet Union (USSR).6
Furthermore, in the post-war era an increasing number of people in the West, except
Spain and Portugal, gradually took a more progressive view on their colonies.
felt that colonialism was morally indefensible and financially too costly.
It was
Most people in
Western Europe were concerned about the reconstruction. social welfare and economic
lot at home, rather than the vanity of maintaining
money.
Many conservative
governments,
remote colonies with taxpayers'
including that of Churchill, were brought
down. There was a general swing to the left in Western European politics. This can be
seen from the election victory won by the British Labour Party in 1945, as well as the
rise of Christian
Socialist
Parties in West Germany,
Italy, and France and strong
Communist parties in France and Italy.?
The various changes impacted directly on South Africa's international position and foreign
relations. For example, Churchill's defeat by the Labour Party at the election on July 25th,
1945 was an unexpected blow to South Africa's post-war foreign relations.
The new
Labour government, obsessed with home problems and Britain's financial plight was more
inclined to relinquish the British colonies towards self-government rather than defend the
white settlers or retain the British Empire at great cost. The leader of the Labour Party,
Clement Attlee, did not maintain such a cordial friendship with the leader of South Africa
as that which had existed between Churchill and Smuts. The former Director-General of
t~e Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Africa (RSA), Brand Fourie,
recalled:
Na die beeindiging van die oorlog het dinge in Londen vinnig verander.
Die geallieerde regerings wat daar gevestig is, is terug na hulle eie lande
en tot die buitewereld se verbasing verloor Mnr. Churchill die algemene
verkiesing in Brittanje in Junie 1945.
politieke figure met wie Suid-Afrika,
Geleidelik verdwyn die leidende
deur generaal Smuts, sulke goeie
verhoudings gehandhaaf het. Daar heers 'n nuwe atmosfeer en prioriteite
verander geweldig. Vinniger as verwag begin die nuwe wereldorganisasie
sy vlerke toets en sy eie invloedsfeer
uitbrei.
Intussen het die ou
Volkebond homself ontbind.8
In addition to the decline of the Western colonial powers, the upsurge of African and
Asian nationalism, the shift of world power, decolonisation and the changes of Western
political leaders with which South Africa maintained close relations, there were other
factors
that emerged
in the aftermath
of the Second World War which
unfavourable bearing on South Africa's foreign relations.
was the rise of the new post-war international
racial equality.
had an
The first and foremost factor
notion of universal human rights and
This new norm which favoured black majority rule was in direct conflict
with South Africa's domestic order erected on white domination and racial inequality.
From the standpoint of Deon Geldenhuys, an authoritative scholar on South Africa's
diplomacy of isolation at the Rand Afrikaans University in Johannesburg,
this was the
main cause of South Africa's
morality that
created an inhospitable
isolation: "a new post-war international
external environment
discrimination and domination.
for a domestic
order built on racial
JIg
The founding of the UN in 1945 added further momentum to the international concern
with human rights.
From its very inception, the UN has been "acutely conscious of its
obligation to promote the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.Jl10
The General
Assembly of the UN at its very first session unanimously adopted Resolution 103(1) on
November 19th, 1946 to call on all of the governments
and responsible authorities to
conform both to the letter and the spirit of the Charter of the UN.11 It was during this first
session of the UN General Assembly
that South Africa stood condemned
for its
domestic racial policies, and in particular about its mistreatment of its Indian population
and its administration of South West Africa.
This was the beginning of South Africa's
friction with the UN, and these two issues later developed
into the prelude of the
international outcry against South Africa. With the establishment of the UN Commission
on Human Rights in 1947, chaired by Mrs Eleanor
Roosevelt, a bill of rights was drafted.
Roosevelt,
wife of President
With the subsequent adoption of the Universal
Declaration
of Human Rights on December
10th, 1948, the UN had become the
embodiment of the lofty ideals of human rights. Human rights were sanctified as one of
the important post-war codes of ethics and moral yardsticks
conduct of a sovereign member state.
used to measure the
Most members of the UN, in which the Afro-
Asian-Arab and Communist bloc formed a majority, tended to use the UN platform as an
international forum to chastise and condemn South Africa's racial policies and white
minority rule.
In this regard, as the former Secretary-General
of the UN, Boutros
Boutros Ghali, had indicated that it not only played a central role in assisting South
Africa to transform into a non-racial democracy, but also "provided a forum for the
liberation movements and undertook an international campaign against apartheid.,,12
The Cold War gave the Afro-Asian
states a unique
opportunity
of "playing
the
Communist bloc off against the West.,,13 In order to win the support of the Afro-Asian
nations in the rivalry for world leadership,
supported the African liberation movements.
colonialism and white racism.
both the USA and the USSR openly
Both superpowers
strongly denounced
The ideology of the anti-colonial
revolutionaries
was
publicly endorsed, and the emerging Afro-Asian countries, due to common interests,
soon grouped
policies.
into blocs with collective
organisations
co-ordinating
their external
These countries, particularly the African states, formed the backbone of the
Third World.
Uncommitted as they were, Afro-Asian countries were to make full use of
the situation of rivalry between the two competing
superpowers
and to wield great
bargaining influence quite out of proportion to their real strength.
The above adverse factors converged to contribute to the deterioration of South Africa's
external environment
and the change of the world situation.
These unfavourable
external changes were further compounded by the rise of an ever-growing
hostile Afro-Asian
countries,
which were either granted
onwards or on the threshold of self-government.
independence
number of
from 1947
Among these newly-independent
countries, the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947 had a direct impact on South
Africa due to South Africa's large population of Indian descendants.
Asian nations were also to attain their independence.
Many other Afro-
South Africa's racial policies,
particularly the ill treatment of South African Indians, were frequently raised by India and
other newly-independent
countries in the various international forums.
The problem of
South Africa's racial policies thus became the focal point of the international community,
highlighting
majority.
the injustice
meted out to South Africa's
Indian population
This political problem would not go away automatically
logjam was done away with completely.
until the political
The rising tide of liberation, colonial revolution
and internal non-white opposition was turning against the established
continent of Africa and Asia.
Africa's dominance.14
and black
order on the
These changes posed great challenges to white South
It was against this background that the National Party (NP) of OF Malan was elected by
the South African white voters to take over the government of Smuts in the general
election of May 26th, 1948.
The election of the NP underlined the rise of Afrikaner
nationalism and the determination
of the whites to maintain South Africa as a white
country in the face of a black majority challenge.
After 1949, the newly-elected
NP
government was determined to curb the trends towards inter-racial integration and to
regulate African urbanisation.
At a time when the outside world was heading towards
decolonisation and the abolition of racial discrimination,
passage in the opposite direction.
apartheid
policies
in political,
South Africa was navigating a
A series of statutes was enacted to implement
residential,
social and cultural
spheres.
Although
apartheid (literally 'Apartness') was an old practice which could be traced back to South
Africa's earlier historY,15 the codification, legalisation and systematic implementation
blatant racial discrimination
and rigid segregation
regarded as offensive to the conscience of mankind.
oppression, injustice and immorality.
of
on the basis of race was widely
Apartheid was often equated with
In Mandela's words, "Apartheid is the embodiment
of the racialism, repression and inhumanity of all previous white supremacist regimes.,,16
In his Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela stated that "it represented the codification in one
oppressive system of all the laws and regulations that had kept Africans in an inferior
position for centuries.,,17 At a time when human rights and non-racism were the moral
norm, the implementation of apartheid policies was out of tune with the rest of the world.
·
The parting of the ways with the rest of the world was the beginning of South Africa's
isolation in the international community.
On the home front,
unprecedented
South Africa's
white
government
was also confronted
serious challenges and rising African nationalism.
with
The government's
embarkation upon the enacting of political/social engineering of apartheid policies was
met with
increasingly
supremacy
the
escalation
of black
resistance.
South
dissatisfied with the racial discrimination,
became more militant.
Africa's
'non-whites'
and black resistance to white
Black trade unions re-emerged
and the major
political organisation, the African National Congress (ANC), was revitalised.
1948 onwards, the ANC began moving away from its relatively
resistance to militant mass action.
were
As from
peaceful nature of
From 1949 to 1952, the ANC Youth League under
the leadership of Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu, guided the ANC to
"a more radical and revolutionary path" .18
This was reflected by the adoption of the Youth League's Programme of Action at the
ANC annual conference in Bloemfontein in 1949. The Programme of Action called for
boycotts, strikes, stay-aways from work, protest demonstrations
and other forms of
mass action to "strike at racial oppression.,,19 The mass action further developed into
the Defiance Campaign in the 1950s to resist the unjust apartheid laws. The resistance
of the black nationalist movements intensified, while the NP chose to legalise and codify
the apartheid system. The demands of the ANC were basically one man, one vote. to
eradicate race discrimination
in all its forms and to build South Africa as a unitary,
democratic and non-racial state.20 As the black population in South Africa outnumbered
the white population, this was tantamount to black majority rule. Therefore, the South
A!rican government refused to submit to black demands and outside dictation and, on
the contrary, it decided to defend the survival and the status quo of white dominance at
all costs and against world opinion. The consequence was direct confrontation between
the South African government and the black nationalist movements in the decades of
the 1950s and 1960s.
In short, South Africa had entered a period of changing relations with the outside world
in the wake of the NP's assumption of power in 1948.
Between the 1950s and the
beginning
of the 1970s, South Africa gradually fell into the abyss of international
isolation.
To analyse the root causes of the RSA's isolation, there are three different
perspectives.
The first school of thought is led by Gerrit Olivier, a well-known South
African scholar of international relations.
He is of the opinion that the major cause of
South Africa's isolation was largely due to the refusal of the South African government
to adapt its internal policies to overseas
demands [for black majority rUle].21 But
according to Deon Geldenhuys, apartheid was the real inimical factor to South Africa's
normal internal and external relations.
Geldenhuys
observed that "apartheid
[had]
developed into the world's number one moral issue, uniting the international community
in a way few other issues [could)."
He further pointed out that "apartheid [had] made
South Africa the world's moral sitting duck at which virtually all governments, regardless
of their own moral virtues, [felt] obliged to fire criticism". 22
The third school of thought was propounded
by Colin Legum, the former Associate
Editor of The Observer (London) and an outstanding
South African born journalist
specialising on international sanctions against South Africa.
He regarded international
moral protest against the racial segregation policy as the main cause of South Africa's
isolation in the world community.
country
which
practised
racism,
He indicated that South Africa was not the only
nor the only oppressive regime in the world.23
Nevertheless, from his point of view, "its offence in the eyes of [the] world community
[was] that it [was] the only one which [had] institutionalised
racism, and which [sought]
to maintain the status quo by an undemocratic form of government that exclude[d] the
majority of its population from any kind of participation in the central Parliament where
all its laws are made.,,24
institutionalized
discrimination
Legum pointed out that, to make matters worse, "this
against black people exist[ed] on the African continent
itself.,,25 Therefore, "the moral protest against apartheid [had] been the major reason
why South Africa [had been] ostracised as a pariah state, a skunk among nations.,,26
The apartheid policies thus became the major stumbling block of South Africa's normal
foreign relations with the rest of the world, including the ROC at the time.
In the meantime, the tidal waves of civil war between the Kuomintang government army
and the Chinese Communist forces raging in mainland China after the end of the
Second World War was turning against the Kuomintang government
by 1948.
With
newly acquired Japanese arms, handed to the Chinese Communists by Soviet troops
which had declared war against Japan near the end of Second World War,27 the
Chinese Communist forces, in January 1948, seized the vast industrial heartland of
Manchuria and launched an all-out general offensive in other parts of China.
The Kuomintang government troops, under the leadership of Generalissimo Chiang KaiShek, suffered a series of defeats on the battlefields of Manchuria and North China.
The Kuomintang's military debacles were so alarming that Chiang Kai-shek conceded in
his diary:
On all fronts, our troops have met with reverses.
Yulin in Shensi
and Yungcheng in Shansi have been under siege for some time,
yet we have no reserves to reinforce these beleaguered
The loss of Shihchiachuang
towns.
on the 12th [of November, 1947] has
dealt a serious blow to the morale of both the troops and the
civilian population
in North China....
This is indeed the most
critical moment for the country.28
~he setback of the Kuomintang government troops on the battlefield of the post-World
War II civil war in China was exacerbated by the mismanagement
of the economy and
alienation
by the Kuomintang
government
of public support. 29
The currency
reform initiated
in 1948 was a disastrous failure and inflation got out of control.
In
Shanghai, the major commercial centre of mainland China, the price of rice (the staple
food for the Chinese) increased from 300 Chinese dollars per picul (133 pounds) in the
morning of November 8th, 1948 to 1000 at noon and 1800 by the dusk of that day. 30
Between August 19th and November 8th, 1948, commodity prices escalated twenty
times.31 In six months, prices rocketed 85000 times.32 Starvation, corruption. hoarding
and profiteering were widespread
in many areas.
Despite the efforts made by the
Kuomintang government to enforce requisitioning of grain at bayonet-point, as reported
by the American Consul-General in Mukden, the economic situation was chaotic.33 The
Hyper-inflation became uncontrollable and industrial production virtually stopped.
By December 1948, all Manchuria and most of North China had been seized by the
Chinese Communists.
Tientsin fell in January
Beijing) surrendered to the Chinese Communists.
1949 and Peking (presently
called
In the same month, the Chinese civil
war had culminated in the great battle of Hsuchow with 300 000 casualties of Chiang's
elite troops.34 In April 1949, the Chinese Communist forces crossed the Yangtze River
and took the then capital of the Kuomintang government, Nanking.
On May 6th, 1949,
Chiang Kai-Shek left Shanghai for Taiwan with a view to using Taiwan as a base to
continue his anti-Communist
campaign
in alliance with the neighbouring
Southeast
Asian countries, such as the Philippines and South Korea, to "combine their resources
to fight the Communist menace.,,35 On May 25th, 1949, Shanghai, the most important
commercial metropolis, was taken by the Chinese Communist forces virtually without a
fight.
Prior to his arrival in Taiwan, Chiang had deployed a force of 300 000 troops in
Taiwan with the support of a few gunboats and some planes.
During the period from
July to October 1949, although Chiang did pay a few short visits to the remaining
Kuomintang-controlled
cities such as Canton and Chungking
in Southeast China to
explore possibilities of a last stand against the advancement of the Communists,36 the
process of Chinese Civil War was drawing to its conclusion.
On September 21St, 1949,
the victorious Chinese Communist leader, Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong), declared in
Peking (Beijing) that "at present, several million troops of the field armies of the
People's
Liberation
Army
(PLA)
are already
striking
Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Sichuan and Xinjiang.'m
at areas
close
to Taiwan,
On October 1st, 1949, Canton
had been lost and the Chinese Communists had almost completed the conquest of the
Chinese mainland.
On October 1st, 1949, Mao proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China
(PRC) at Peking (Beijing)
and declared
to the international
government is the sole legal government representing
community
that "this
all the people of the People's
Republic of China.,,38 In his official proclamation, Mao stated that the PRC government
was willing to establish diplomatic relations with any foreign government that was willing
to observe the principles of equality, mutual benefit, and mutual respect of territorial
integrity and sovereignty.39
By the end of 1949, Communist control extended over
almost all of mainland China.
Having lost control over mainland China to the Chinese Communists,
compelled
to relocate
approximately
the Kuomintang
government
Chiang was
and its army with a total of
two million people (both soldiers and civilians) from mainland China to
the island of Taiwan in December 1949.
occupy the island.
However, they were not the first people to
Before the influx of newly arrived migrants from the Chinese
mainland, there was a population of 6.59 million native Taiwanese already living on the
island.40 Among the native population, some 160 000 were proto-Malayan indigenous
aborigines,41 and the remaining majority were native-born Taiwanese originating from
the Chinese coastal provinces of Fukien (about 75% of the population) and Guangdong
(Kwantung) (about 20% of the population).
The latter group is known as the Hakka.
The name Hakka means "Guest People" (Settlers).
This term was given by the natives
to distinguish these settlers from the local Cantonese and other natives.
The Hakka
people had originally migrated from North China to South China, especially Kwangtung
qnd Fukien provinces, during 1127-1279, when Inner Asian tribesmen invaded North
China.
After the Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864),
many Hakka migrated from South
China to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Sabah, Sarawak, and
even Jamaica.
They speak a dialect of the ancient
Chinese
language, but the
pronunciation is different from the modern Chinese Mandarin and Cantonese.42
Ethnically, the majority of native Taiwanese do not have striking differences from the
new immigrants from mainland China. However, in terms of language, culture, history,
education, colonial background,
duration of settlement,
development
level and self-
perceived identity, there are great differences between them. In the aspect of language,
the said two native dialects commonly spoken in Taiwan, namely Fukien and Hakka, are
quite distinct from Mandarin, the common language of mainland China. Due to a period
of Japanese
rule in Taiwan (1895-1945),
many older Taiwanese,
including former
President Lee Teng-hui, still speak Japanese.
Taiwanese culture is strongly influenced
by Japan and the West.
elites are Christians,
A few Taiwanese
not Buddhists or
Confucianists.43
Unlike the Chinese mainland, Taiwan had been successively
colonised
by colonial
powers including the Dutch (in the south of Taiwan) and the Spaniards (in the north of
Taiwan) from 1624 till 1662.
At the end of Dutch colonial rule, the Ming Dynasty of
mainland China was overthrown
dynasty.
by the Manchu troops who established
the Ch'ing
One of the Ming loyalists, Cheng Ch'eng-kung (also known as Koxinga), son
of a famous Chinese pirate Cheng Chih-Iung and his Japanese mistress, repelled the
Dutch in 1662 and set up his own de facto government on Taiwan until 1683. When his
grandson was defeated by the Ch'ing dynasty of the Manchus in 1683, Taiwan was
brought under the rule of mainland China. But the official provincial status of Taiwan as
one of China's provinces only commenced in 1885. From 1895 until 1945 the Japanese
ruled Taiwan and tried to develop Taiwan as a showcase of modern economic growth
so as to serve as a stepping stone for Japan's southward aggression.44
this background,
Taiwan's
economic development
and infrastructure
As a result of
were relatively
more advanced and modernised compared with those of the Chinese mainland.45
contrast, the effective Chinese mainland government's
1894, and from 1945 to 1949 was comparatively
long-time separation
By
rule over Taiwan from 1885 to
short-lived.
Colonial heritage and
from the Chinese mother polity led Taiwan to differ from the
Chinese mainland in many ways.
The influx of large numbers of immigrants from the Chinese mainland into the small
island of Taiwan stoked acute tension between the native-born
Chinese
mainlanders.
Being separated
islanders
and the
from China for a long time, the native
Taiwanese had very little respect for their new Chinese rulers. The tension was further
aggravated by the prevalent corruption brought about by the new rulers.
assigned by the Kuomintang
The officials
government to take over Taiwan from Japan after the
Second World War were mostly brutal and oppressive.46 The native Taiwanese were
shocked by the corrupt Chinese bureaucratic
system, the lack of discipline
of the
Kuomintang government troops, the squatting of filthy mainland Chinese soldiers in the
railway stations
of the island and their often blatant lootings of privately owned
properties and commodities.47 Before moving its seat from mainland China to Taiwan,
the Kuomintang government troops and Chiang's cohorts, in particular the Kuomintang
Governor
islanders
Chen Vi, "had prepared their entry two years earlier by terrorising
into submission.,,48
Taiwanese
riots broke out on February
th
28
,
the
1947
throughout the island, and the Kuomintang army massacred 5000 to 20 000 native
Taiwanese elites.49 Those who survived the massacre either went into exile or went
underground to organise political opposition.
This historical '2-28-lncident'
had lasting
negative effects on the future relations between the native Taiwanese islanders and the
so-called "mainlanders", including the descendants of Chiang Kai-shek's followers from
the Chinese mainland.50
After the brutal suppression of the Taiwanese rioting, Chiang relocated his government
from the Chinese mainland to Taiwan in December 1949.
He officially resumed his
presidency in Taipei in March 1950 after his tentative stepping down as the President of
China at the beginning of 1949. Under the rule of the Kuomintang government, Taiwan
had once again been separated from its parent body politic, the Chinese mainland, by
the consequences of the Chinese civil war. However, despite taking refuge in Taiwan,
Chiang Kai-shek and his Kuomintang government never declared the establishment of
the "Republic of Taiwan."
He still called the political order in Taiwan, the "Republic of
China" (ROC) or the "ROC on Taiwan." The Kuomintang was the ruling party of Taiwan
for 51 years from 1949 until March 18th, 2000 when Chen Shui-bian, a native son of a
Taiwanese peasant and former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Mayor of Taipei,
won the presidential election.
Therefore, from 1949 onwards, China was divided into the Republic of China (ROC) on
Taiwan, under the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek, and the People's Republic of China
(PRC) on the Chinese mainland, under the leadership of Mao Tse-Tung, each claiming
to be the sole legitimate government
of the whole China.
However, the two rival
governments agreed that there is only "one China" and that Taiwan is part of China;
both sides were opposed to the independence
of Taiwan which is a DPP platform.
51
The DPP, formed on September 28th, 1986 by the Taiwanese elites, is opposed to the
eventual reunification of Taiwan with the Chinese mainland.
The DPP's goal is to seek
Taiwan's independent status as a sovereign state, not as part of China, or as a province
of China under Chinese domination.52
In order to differentiate between the period of the Chinese republic prior to 1949 on
mainland China and the period of the ROC on the island of Taiwan after 1949 (from
1949 to date), the former is referred to in this thesis as the "Kuomintang government"
and the latter as the "ROC".
The different reference does not change the fact that the
Republic of China was founded on January 1st, 1912 on the Chinese mainland, and that
Chiang Kai-shek relocated the government of the Republic of China and its troops from
mainland China to Taiwan in 1949. The purpose is solely for a clear historical overview
which has nothing to do with the politics of the present cross-Straits relations.
In the initial stage of the Kuomintang government's withdrawal to Taiwan, the situation
on Taiwan and its offshore islands was very precarious and uncertain.
In addition to the
internal Taiwanese opposition, the Chinese Communists were prepared to launch an
all-out invasion against the ROC and the offshore island of Kinmen (Quemoy) during
1949-1950.
As the Chinese communist forces were gathered across the Taiwan Straits
for an invasion, the USA government
anticipated a final communist
eventual crumble of the Kuomintang government.
victory and the
Nevertheless, with the outbreak of
the Korean War in June 1950, the USA government decided to protect Taiwan against
Chinese
Communist
attack.
This decision
diplomatic situation in the Taiwan Straits.
dramatically
the military and
The USA Seventh Fleet was ordered to
cruise along the Taiwan Straits, and military/economic
from the 1950s.
changed
aid was provided to the ROC
In 1954 the ROC-USA Mutual Defence Treaty was concluded.
The
USA then regarded the ROC as an important ally in the global strategy of containing
communism and a bulwark in the international Cold War against communist expansion.
As the ROC was under the protection of the American military shield, the ROC situation
began to stabilise from the 1950s.
The strong USA support accorded to the ROC for
her position in the world community had enabled the ROC to enjoy a period of relative
stability and to conduct her normal diplomatic activities in the international arena in the
1.950s and 1960s.53
The relative stability in the decades of the 1950s and 1960s also allowed the ROC
ruling party Kuomintang to reform itself. The ROC leadership seemed to have learned
the lessons of its failures on the mainland.
Dismayed by the fall of the Chinese
~ainland
Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang
into the hands of the Communists,
Ching-kuo started to focus on two main tasks in the 1950s and 1960s: firstly the security
of Taiwan and its offshore islands, and, secondly, the recognition of the Kuomintang
government as the legitimate government of the entire Chinese people.54
To achieve the first objective, the ROC government staged a combination of ruthless
security measures and various reforms at home.
The Kuomintang purged its corrupt
elements and cleaned up its act on Taiwan in the 1950s.
A relatively competent civil
service was put in place to implement development plans, and an effective fighting force
was created to defend the ROC. In order to consolidate its minority rule and to prevent
Communist
subversion
Kuomintang government
Taiwan for thirty-seven
and the political
association
of the native
imposed martial law and subsequent
islanders,
'Emergency
the
Rule' on
years until July 1987 when political liberalisation commenced.
From 1949 to 1987, the ROC was virtually a one-party state.
Most of the key posts in
the Kuomintang and the ROC government were held by the Chinese mainlanders who
fled from the Chinese mainland to the island. Until the 1970s, Taiwanese only held one
ministerial post in the entire cabinet - the Interior Ministry. Even the Provincial governor
was a mainlander.
The formation of an opposition party was banned, and the freedom
of press and freedom of speech were restricted.55
Ouring this period, Chiang and his followers deluded themselves
into the false belief
that their sojourn on Taiwan would be temporary, and that one day the ROC would
recover
mainland
China.
They
disseminated
the fiction
that
representatives who fled to Taiwan were representing all of China.
the
Kuomintang
They decreed that
until China was unified, no new national election should take place. They also justified
the Kuomintang's authoritarian rule by insisting that the ROC government was the sole
legitimate government of the whole of China.56
Nevertheless, although the Kuomintang regime was authoritarian
in nature, it did hold
regular local elections and tolerated limited expression of Taiwanese opposition to the
Kuomintang through the mechanism of popular elections for local public officials, so
long as this did not pose a real threat to the Kuomintang's dominance.
benign tolerance of the persistent anti-Kuomintang
Apart from the
sentiments and the co-opting of the
Taiwanese population by means of local elections and the admission of Taiwanese to
the Kuomintang membership, access to education and the economy was equal for the
native Taiwanese and the mainlanders in the ROC.
Asian economic
development,
On the subject of the ROC and
Gustav Ranis, a former Frank Altschul
Professor of
International Economics at Yale University, wrote over 100 theoretical and policy related
articles.
The Kuomintang
government's
egalitarian
policy and equal examination
system, in Ranis's opinion, was one of the three important elements
success of the ROC.
These three elements were: (1) the initial organic nationalism
(fear of mainland China); (2) the belief of secularism;
(meritocracy).57
of the initial
Equal opportunity
(3) the practice of egalitarianism
and equal access, especially
education,
with a
competitive examination system, had provided a chance of upliftment to the Taiwanese
people.
The foundation of social mobility and political stability was thus securely laid
down. John K. Fairbank, formerly one of the greatest American Sinologists at Harvard
University, endorsed Ranis's arguments.
Fairbank indicated that the cleansing of the
Kuomintang and the solid education of the Taiwanese population were the two most
important factors for the remarkable success of the ROC's national development in the
forthcoming years.58 Hung-mao Tien, a well-known former professor of political science
at the University of Wisconsin and the Chief Advisor of the national policy of the ROC
government, and the present ROC Foreign Minister, stated that the ROC polity prior to
1987 was basically "a modernizing authoritarian regime with strong characteristics of a
one-party pluralistic system in transition towards a dominant-party
political science terms, Ranis agrees with Tien's assessment.
system".59 In pure
Nevertheless,
Ranis
emphasises that if judging from the point of participation by people in decision-making,
the ROC was a fairly democratic state.60
Economically,
the ROC accomplished
great economic success during the period of
1951-1987 through three phases of development.
development
(1950-1955),
emphasis
hyperinflation
and the development
was
In the first phase of economic
placed
on
of import substitution
land
reform,
industries.
controlling
The approach
adopted by the ROC government was "growth with equity", "growth with stability" and
"developing agriculture by means of industry and fostering industry with agriculture.,,61
With an abundant
economic
planning,
skilled
political
labour force,
stability,
decent
tame trade
work
ethics,
unions
correct
government
and a sound
economic
foundation in its agriculture, the ROC economy soon moved beyond its first phase of
economic development. 62
From 1956 to 1972, the ROC government embarked upon a strategy of export-oriented
growth.
In this second phase of economic development, the ROC government adopted
various measures to support the labour-intensive
foreign trade.
industries
to expand export and
These measures were reflected in the enactment of a comprehensive
nineteen point Economic and Financial Reform and the Statute for Encouragement
of
Investment introduced in 1960 to liberalise trade, to reform the tax system, to provide
tax-exemption, investment incentives, tax reduction and rebates, and favourable interest
rates.63 To attract foreign investment to Taiwan, the ROC government established a
number of Export Processing Zones (EPZs). These EPZs offer various incentives such
as tax holidays and waiving of red tape to the investors.
The aforementioned
export-oriented
economic boom for the ROC
growth brought about an unprecedented
from 1962 to 1971.
policy of
During this period, industrial output reached 17.3 percent per
annum, and per capita income more than doubled from 1965 to 1972.64
However, by the mid-1970s, the ROC economy experienced difficulties in the face of
rising oil prices and the replication of the labour intensive manufacturing
other countries in Asia.
the ROC industry.
To overcome these challenges, there was a need to upgrade
From 1973 onward, the ROC economy transcended
phase of economic development,
intensive industry.
high-tech
industry by
with the promotion of high-technology
to the third
and capital-
Ten major construction projects were launched in 1972.
industrial park, which was modelled
on Silicon Valley
Hsinchu
in California,
was
established in 1980. The electronics, machinery and communications
sectors were the
leading industries of the new phase of the ROC economic development.65
The ramification of the ROC's economic development in 1950s-1970s on the ROC-RSA
bilateral relations was obvious.
During the first phase of its economic development
() 950-1955),
out with the seeming
the ROC "started
import-substitution
Communists
phase.,,66
of the 1950s,
inward-orientated,
as the Chinese
increased control of mainland China, the adjacent market of mainland
China became inaccessible
consequences
In the early years
inevitable
to the ROC.
Separated from China and Japan by the
of war, the island of Taiwan was dependent
upon its own limited
resources for survival. The influx of a large population from mainland China into Taiwan
had put a greater strain on rice and other agricultural production.
It was therefore
necessary for the island to support, not only a provincial government, but also a national
government, a large army as well as the refugee population from mainland China. The
priority goal of the ROC government during this period was to concentrate on internal
consolidation,
emphasising
agricultural
growth
and
the
development
of
import
substitution industries to produce basic consumer goods for the domestic market.
The
ROC government "kept the domestic economy protected while becoming competitive to
the outside first, and then later, and only gradually, reduced domestic protection.,,67 At
this stage, foreign trade and, in particular, trade with South Africa did not weigh much in
terms of the ROC government's priority. The bilateral relation with South Africa was still
not important as far as the ROC government was concerned.
From 1949 to 1971, the
ROC was basically struggling for existence and preoccupied with internal consolidation
and economic development. 68
Basking in a false mirage of security and support from the USA, the Kuomintang
government's
Communism
national
policy in the twenty years after 1950 was based on anti-
and the recovery of mainland China.
During this period, despite the
anomalous situation and the absurdity from the outside world's point of view, Chiang
Kai-shek still steadfastly claimed the ROC's sovereignty over mainland China until his
death at the age of eighty-seven on April 5th, 1975. To Chiang, the issue of sovereignty
was not negotiable.
He was constantly envisaging the eventual recovery of mainland
China and the restoration of his seat of power in Nanking.
The paramount goal of the
ROC's domestic and foreign policies at the time was to realise Chiang's dream. Shortly
after his retreat to Taiwan, Chiang pronounced
on March 1st, 1950 that his basic
national policy was to "consolidate the base on Taiwan in preparation for the eventual
recovery of the mainland.,,69 To him and his followers, Taiwan was not a country but a
temporary military base to be used to recover mainland China.
Chiang further elaborated
On August 14th, 1950,
his national policy of anti-Communism
and recovery of
mainland China in a speech by stating:
To build a prosperous Taiwan is a basic pre-condition for the success of
our anti-Communist
and anti-Russian
campaign.
No changes on the
international scene, nothing the Communists may do, can prevent us from
trying to recover the mainland and overthrow the totalitarian Communist
tyranny.70
Even two years before his death in his 1973 New Year Day Message to the nation,
Chiang still clung to the hope that only by destroying the evils of Communism, then "we
[Chiang and his followers]
can actually return to our ancestral
burial grounds and
nourish and irrigate anew the fragrant soil of our place of existence and growth"71
In order to achieve Chiang's national policy of anti-Communism
and the recovery of
mainland China, the primary objective of the ROC's foreign policy during the period of
1949-1971 was formulated to centre around the formation of an anti-Communist
alliance
with democratic countries and to solicit the support of the newly-independent Afro-Asian
countries to maintain the ROC's seat in the United Nations.72
This period of
approximately
two decades was called "the Stage of Consolidation"
in the history of
ROC's diplomatic development. 73 The focus of the ROC's diplomatic activities was to
strengthen relations with the USA and the East-Asian anti-Communist
countries, such
as South Korea and the Philippines, to prevent the PRC from entering into the UN as
well as to keep diplomatic relations with other countries.
The ROC was particularly
concerned with Afro-Asian states, to prevent them switching sides to recognise the PRC
as the sole legitimate government of the whole of China.74
Chiang described the PRC as "the Maoist rebel regime" and "traitors and bandits.,,7s
The ROC still considered itself the sole legitimate government of all China.
During the
years from 1949 to 1971, the China seat in the UN was still occupied by the ROC.
However, this claim was strongly challenged by the PRC, which in turn was supported
by the Soviet Union and the Communist-bloc
countries, to oust the ROC from the UN.
Both sides viewed the seat in the UN as an important symbol of legitimacy.
~etween
the
PRC
and
the
ROC
for
legitimacy
was
thus
fought
The rivalry
around
the
representation of China in the UN. Since 1950, the issue of China's representation had
been brought to the General Assembly for debate annually, until 1971 when the ROC
was compelled to vacate its seat for the PRC to take over.76
In this context, from 1949 to 1971, the ROC fought a crucial diplomatic battle against
the PRC at the UN for the representation of China. The newly-independent
Afro-Asian
states, in particular the African countries, became very important to the ROC.
period saw the high tide of the decolonisation
of African countries, particularly in the
1960s when more than 17 African states obtained independence.
numbers of independent
African
This
With the increasing
states during the 1950s and 1960s, the African
countries constituted the largest block of votes at the UN.
In 1961, there were 29
African countries at the UN, 33 in 1962 and in 1971, the figure rose to 43 out of a total
of 128 member states. As each of these newly-independent
African states was entitled
to a vote at the UN - and they tended to stand united on the issues concerning Africa there was a need for the ROC government to obtain the largest block of black African
votes to safeguard the ROC's seat in the UN and thus to distance itself from white
South Africa.
In the period 1949-1971,
the ROC government therefore preoccupied
itself with strengthening its relations with the newly-independent
black African countries,
instead of association with white South Africa. The ROC government dedicated itself to
enhance its image in the newly-independent
countries of Africa.
Whenever there were
independence celebrations, special envoys were dispatched to attend the celebrations
and to visit the neighbouring nations.
the independence
countries.
celebration
In 1960, the ROC's special envoy participated in
of Cameroon
and then visited
nine other African
In the 1960s, the ROC made strenuous endeavours in sending an average
of eight delegations
per year to 26 African countries to negotiate aid projects and
v"arious assistance schemes in exchange for these countries' political support.77
By
1963, the ROC had established diplomatic ties with 15 of the 33 newly-independent
African states.78 The ROC's inroads into the African continent at the time were made in
the more moderate states, particularly those former French colonies with no left-wing
opposition groups or liberation movements, such as Congo (Brazzaville), Chad, Gabon,
Ivory Coast, Malagasy, Senegal, Togo and Upper Volta.
The more radical African
countries, such as the members of the Casablanca Group which was formed by the
more radically-inclined
former French colonies such as Guinea and Mali and some of
the Arab North African
countries,
and some English-speaking
countries
including
Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia, opted to recognised the PRC.79
During the same period, the PRC also managed to establish diplomatic relations with
fifteen African states so as to compete with the ROC in gaining the diplomatic support of
the African states in the UN.8o The rivalry of the two Chinas in the African continent was
so intense that "at the height of its offensive (1964-65), the PRC initiated a major
campaign to secure African recognition
relations with the African states."81
and support almost indiscriminately
The newly-independent
seeking
countries of Africa thus
became an important
diplomatic
battle-field
for "a continuation
of the four-decade
struggle between Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Tse-tung.,,82 Apart from the rivalry of the
two Chinas for diplomatic recognition and support, the PRC's entry into Africa was also
partially due to "its dual objectives of opposing the Soviet Union and the United States,
and of creating a new force.,,83 To strengthen the Sino-African
relations, the PRC
launched a sustained drive from all fronts: diplomatic and clandestine; conventional and
unconventional;
political, economic, social and cultural.
.
To counter the PRC's strong thrust into Africa and also to win the support of the AfroAsian states to enable the ROC to retain its seat in the UN, the ROC initiated the
International
Technical Co-operation Programmes (previously known as Operation
Vanguard) in 1959.84 The architect of this Operation Vanguard was Hsi-kun Yang (also
known as H.K. Yang) who worked at the UN headquarters
before 1959.
in New York for 11 years
He was later promoted to the ROC's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
(1966-1979) and served as Ambassador
of the ROC to the RSA (1979-1989).
The
initial area of focus of Operation Vanguard was Africa, but this programme was later
extended
to the developing
rendered
to Africa
of other regions.
The technical
by the ROC during the 1960s was initially
agricultural
development.
handicrafts,
industry,
construction
countries
Subsequently,
animal
husbandry,
were added to the programme.
International Co-operation
fisheries,
vocational
concentrated
aquaculture,
training,
assistance
on
horticulture,
engineering
and
In 1971, at the height of the ROC's
Programme, 28 technical missions were dispatched to the
countries in Africa.
In the same year, there were 68 countries which maintained full
diplomatic ties with the ROC in contrast to 53 countries which recognised the PRC.85
Among those countries which recognised the ROC, the majority were Afro-Asian states
and Latin American countries.
As the composition of the ROC's diplomatic ties heavily
tilted towards the Afro-Asian
states, the success of the ROC's diplomatic battle for
r~presentation
nations.86
in the UN largely depended on these newly-independent
Third World
E;ven during the second phase of its economic development
(1956-1972),
ROC
the
opted
for
an
export-oriented
strategy
to promote
export
when the
of various
manufactured goods produced by labour-intensive industries, the ROC relied heavily on
the USA for economic aid (until 1965) and as an export market destination.
The USA
and Japan were the ROC's major economic partners and sources of foreign investment.
In 1971, exports
to the USA amounted
to USA$8.592
USA$48.412 million worth of goods exported to Africa.
billion
were only USA$2.06 million.88
to
The whole of Africa constituted
a mere 2.1 % out of an annual aggregate of USA$20.6039 billion.8?
not listed as one of the ROC's major trading partners.
in comparison
South Africa was
Exports to South Africa in 1971
In terms of the direction of the ROC's foreign trade,
North America (41 %), Asia (31.7%), Europe (10.7%) and the Middle East (7.7%) were
the major trading markets.89 The importance of the ROC's relation with the Middle East
was mainly due to the ROC's diplomatic links with several Arab countries, including
Saudi Arabia and these Arab countries' supply of oil to the ROC.
From the above
breakdown, it clearly shows that trade links with Africa, including South Africa, were
relatively unimportant for the ROC's foreign trade during the 1950s to 1970s. The ROC
was overly dependent
on the USA for its national security, diplomatic
support and
economic market in the said decades.9o
Because the Afro-Asian states were vociferously opposed to South Africa's apartheid
policies, the ROC was not in a position to develop full diplomatic relations with South
Africa before the 1970s.
Its priority at this stage was to avoid offending the Afro-Asian
states and to safeguard its position in the UN. In a subsequent confidential document,
the MOFA of the ROC frankly admitted that the above consideration
was the main
obstacle to forming closer links with South Africa prior to 1971.91
This revelation explains why before 1971 the ROC - while it was still holding its seat in
the UN as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council and consistently
participating
in various activities of the specialised
agencies
of the UN and inter-
governmental
organisations - was reluctant to develop full diplomatic ties with South
Africa for nearly two decades.
The ROC obviously took recognisance of the inevitability
that its growing links with South Africa would surely alienate its friendly relations with
Black Africa and jeopardise its seat in the UN.
Moreover, to establish alignment with
South Africa might also endanger the ROC's relations with Saudi Arabia and other Arab
countries in the Middle East, which supplied vital oil to the ROC for its economy.92
It was with these considerations in mind that the ROC was against South Africa's racial
policies and repeatedly voted at the UN in favour of sanctions to be imposed against
South Africa during the period 1948-1971.
For more than twenty years, the ROC was
unwilling to be associated with South Africa, or form close links with South Africa.93
When the issue of the treatment of Indian population in the Union of South Africa was
raised at the UN in 1946 by the Indian delegation,
the Chinese delegate not only
supported the position of India, but also attacked South Africa's racial policies.94 During
the 1946 session of the UN General Assembly, the Chinese delegate strongly criticised
the Union's treatment of Indians in South Africa by proclaiming that the question of
human
rights is fundamental and that the Union's laws were discriminatory in
character.95 He found it difficult to understand South Africa's contention that the
segregation of races was not a violation of human rights.
He further pointed out that
there were several thousand Chinese nationals in South Africa who were classified as
Asiatic
also subject to the 1946 Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian
Representation BilI.96 Therefore, on behalf of the Kuomintang government, the Chinese
delegate
and
were
expressed
the hope that the South African government could find a
satisfactory settlement.97 A similar stance was reiterated by the ROC representative to
the UN in the 1950s and 1960s.
The ROC delegates routinely voted in favour of the
dismantling of apartheid and sided with the Afro-Asian· states. 98 Although the respective
delegates of South Africa to the UN, such as GP Jooste, Eric Louw and Hilgard Muller,
often cited Article 2(7) of the UN Charter - outside interference in its domestic racial
policies - to argue South Africa's case against the UN, the representative of the ROC,
which was one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. nevertheless
saw things in a different light. Following the Sharpeville massacre on March 21 st, 1960,
the ROC representative
reacted
by supporting
the establishment
of the Special
Committee Against Apartheid, voting in favour of the adoption of General Assembly's
resolution 1761 (XVII) of November 6th, 1962.
Furthermore, the ROC delegate also
vehemently condemned the South African government with the following remarks:
What
has
made
objectionable
racial
discrimination
in
South
Africa
particularly
is that unlike other societies where efforts are directed to
rooting out such a phenomenon, South Africa has made it an instrument of
national and official policy. It is all too clear that South Africa is moving in
a collision course with African nationalism, and as time passes by, the
chances for a compromise solution are dwindling.
It is not too late for the
government of South Africa to face up to the realities of the situation and
reverse a policy which is so glaringly out of step with the progress of
mankind towards larger freedom, and so clearly contrary to its highest
self-interest.
99
In addition to the ROC government's international political considerations, South Africa's
racially-based discrimination against the Chinese in South Africa was another stumbling
block to the development
of diplomatic relations with South Africa at the time.
Chinese had encountered
racial discrimination
The
in South Africa long before the 1948
electoral victory of the NP. From the early eighteenth century, the small number of free
Chinese (as opposed to convicts or indentured labourers) in the Cape were classified as
'free blacks' along with those of African or Asian descent.1oo Toward the end of the
nineteenth
segregate
century,
Asians
the two Boer Republics
in separate
areas.
enacted
the first state legislation
The Zuid-Afrikaanse
Republiek
to
(Transvaal)
introduced Volksraad Law NO.3 of 1885 stipulating that "persons belonging to one of the
native races of Asia" were prohibited from being "owners of fixed property in the
Republic.,,101 One year later, this clause was amended to allow Asians to own land, but
only in "such streets, wards and locations as the government for purpose of sanitation
shall assign to them to live in.,,102 In 1891, the Orange Free State passed legislation to
forbid "Arabier, Chinees, Koelie of andere Aziatische kleurling" to settle in its territory.103
By the turn of the twentieth century, the free Chinese community, which numbered
merely 1000, was still subjected to the restrictions of discriminatory
racial legislation
introduced to curb the influx of Indians, and the community was adversely affected by
the 'anti-Indianism'
prevalent among the white community throughout South Africa.
Anti-Indianism became anti-Asianism.
104
Therefore, the Chinese were regarded as part of
the 'Asian menace' and suffered segregationist legislation.105
Even though the imperial
Chinese government presented petitions to the British Secretary of State in 1902 and
1903, objecting to the structural racial discrimination, the discriminatory
stringent restrictions remained unchanged in the pre-1980s period.
and blatant racial discrimination
legislation and
Legal segregation
had profound implications for the Chinese community
and negative effects on Sino-South African relations prior to the 1970s.
This was
evident from the fact that the during the 1920s and 1930s, the main task of the Chinese
Consul-General
in Johannesburg
was to try to resolve this sticky issue.
During the
1950s, 1960s and 1970s, Chinese nationals in South Africa were still strictly restrained
in trade,
education,
hospitalisation.
public transport,
property
rights, freedom
of movement
and
Throughout the 1960s, Chinese were not allowed to participate in sport
competitions, refused employment, turned away from white enclosures at turf clubs and
denied hospital treatment.10B
It was impossible for a Chinese national to get a meal at a
hotel in Durban, and no white hairdresser would cut the hair of a Chinese.10g
During the
said period, even the ROC Consul-General and his diplomatic staff were not allowed to
have a cup of tea or a simple lunch in Pretoria's restaurants.
out of restaurants
110
and they were often humiliated.
They were twice chased
This kind of discriminatory
treatment alienated the support of the ROC general public for developing closer links
with South Africa.
The native-born Taiwanese
intellectuals were disgusted with the
racial policies of South Africa even more, because of the similar pain of political
deprivation that they had suffered at the hands of mainlanders.
was perceived as one of the most oppressive government
s.ome Taiwanese
scholars
were opposed
between the ROC and the RSA.111
The NP government
in the world.
to the establishment
Therefore,
of diplomatic
links
Due to the combination
of factors discussed above, the ROC's relations with South
Africa were not particularly close until after 1971. During the period 1948 to 1975, the
ROC merely maintained
a low-level consular
relationship
with South Africa.
The
consular relations between South Africa and China dated back to the imperial Ch'ing
dynasty
when the first Chinese
Johannesburg
Consul-General,
Lew Yuk Un, was assigned
in May 1905 to look after the interests of the 63695 Chinese labourers
contracted to work on the Witwaterstrand gold mines.112
did not send any reciprocal representation
appointment
to
of an honorary
South African
Although the Transvaal colony
to China at the time, there was a brief
Trade
Commissioner
in Shanghai
on
mainland China in 1937, but this was terminated in 1942 when the Japanese army
invaded China.
The Chinese consular position was vacant from 1910 to 1919 as a
result of the repatriation of the Chinese miners in 1910 and the outburst of the 1911
revolution in China which overthrew the imperial Ch'ing dynasty.
government maintained its Consulate-General
The Kuomintang
in Johannesburg since 1920, throughout
the Second World War, the civil war period of the 1940s, and even after its retreat to
Taiwan in 1949.113
The RSA also had many of its own reasons to keep its distance from the ROC
throughout this period. Although the NP government had been in power for more than
two decades by the end of 1960s, as a Eurocentric society, South Africa was still closely
linked to the West through economic links, cultural heritage, security/defence
family/personal
contact and other common interests.
The white population was inclined
to identify themselves with Western interests and shared Western values.
realm of international
needs,
relations, the NP government
found it necessary
Western powers, such as Britain and the USA, for diplomatic support.
Even in the
to rely on
Therefore, the
links with the West were far more important than the relations with the Far East.
The fear of the NP that large numbers of Chinese would migrate to South Africa to
complicate
the issue of Asians in the country was another important reason for the
South African government to be hesitant to forge diplomatic links with the ROC. At the
time when the NP government was attempting to erect the legal framework for apartheid
~nd to implement segregationist policies, a series of apartheid laws were introduced to
prevent rapid African urbanisation
and to stem the trends towards racial integration.
The most notable apartheid laws were the 1949 Prohibition of Mixed Marriage Act, 1950
Population
Registration
Act, the 1950 Group Areas Act, the 1953 Reservation
Separate Amenities Act, 1954 Black Resettlement
of
Act, and the 1957 Extension of
University Education Act. In the aspect of South African domestic politics, the non-white
racial issue, including the question of the treatment of the people of Indo-Pakistani
origin in South Africa, was the most difficult issue to resolve.114
On his return from the Prime Ministers' conference held at London in 1949, the Prime
Minister of the Union of South Africa, OF Malan, debriefed the House of Assembly
indicating that the only subject discussed at the conference was the problem of India.115
The white paranoia of Asiatic competition was heightened to such an extent that the
then Minister of the Interior, TE Donges, was pressured by some white Members of
Parliament, such as JR Sullivan of Berea, Durban, to restrict the entry of Indians and
other Asians into South Africa.
prevent
"the
illegal
entry
Donges acceded to the demand by taking measures to
into
the
Union
of the
persons
who
immigrants.,,116 The said restrictions were also applied to the Chinese.
are
prohibited
For thirty years,
from 1953, less than 100 Chinese were admitted to reside in South Africa.117 During
this period, the official policy of the South African government was "the strengthening of
the European population
by immigration
of desirable
persons.,,118
It is clear from
Donges's statement that the so-called "desirable persons" actually implied "Europeans".
The immigration programme stipulated that "immigrants be limited as far as possible to
elements which can be assimilated
by the South African people and who by their
presence would not lower either the material standard of living or the moral level of the
European population.,,119 This was the policy that had been followed since the NP came
into power. However, the NP government not only took steps to reduce the numbers of
English-speaking
immigrants, but also formulated an official policy to control the entry of
Asians, so as to protect the political power of the Afrikaners and also to find a solution
for the 'Asian problem'.
In 1953, Malan officially proclaimed that the protection of the
indigenous people of Africa against penetration by the people of Asia was one of the
five main aims of his long- advocated
African
Charter.
The reason why Malan
highlighted the protection of Africans against Asian domination was due to the fear that
Asians,
and
population.120
in particular
Indians,
might
flood
Africa
with
an enormous
Asian
As a result of the NP's paranoia of foreign immigrants, the number of
immigrants which came from the United Kingdom to South Africa had decreased from
71.6% in 1948 to 65.3% in 1949, and 47% in 1950. Interactions between the ROC and
South Africa were also affected.121
In the economic sphere, from the end of the Second World War to 1974, the RSA
entered an era of rapid economic progress and continued prosperity.
South Africa's
traditional mining sector, agricultural infrastructure, and even its manufacturing industry,
experienced an unparalleled boom. During this period, South Africa's real GDP grew at
an average rate of 4.9% per annum, and its average annual growth rate peaked at 7.8%
in the years of 1971-1974.
Many of these new enterprises were run by supporters of
the NP. However, despite South Africa's traditional European economic links, and tariff
protection of the local industries, goods manufactured by Japan were being offered in
South Africa at half the price and were ready for immediate delivery from Japan.122
As
a result, there was a grave concern expressed by both industrialists and the press with
regard to trade competition and the importation of cheap goods from Japan and the Far
East.123 The prevailing fear was that as these cheap goods were manufactured by Far
Eastern countries with a much lower standard of living than that of the average South
African, to allow wholesale imports from Japan and the Far East could in the long run
have a disastrous impact on the country.
Louw,
was
happening.124
requested
by many
The then Minister of Economic Affairs, EH
Members
of
Parliament
to
prevent
this
from
The emergence of a phase of economic growth during the period of
1948-1974 gave confidence to the South African government and diminished the need
to diversify its economy and to develop closer links with the ROC. The discrimination
against cheap products from the Far East made it even more difficult for the South
African government to venture into expanding relations with the East Asian countries,
including the ROC.
With regard to national security, both South Africa and the ROC were anti-Communist,
and both were faced with the threat of communism and the looming challenge from their
own majority people internally.
Both were minority ruled countries: in South Africa, the
white minority ruled over the black majority, but in the ROC, a minority of Chinese
mainlanders
dominated
the native-born Taiwanese
majority - albeit that these two
ethnic groups are of Chinese origin and they have no colour distinction.
For South
Africa, however, its Communist threat was mainly from the Soviet Union and the South
African Communist Party (SACP) in alliance with the ANC. For the ROC, its Communist
threat was mainly from the PRC, which is the most populous country in the world (with a
population of 1,2 billion), with nuclear power, and from 1971 onwards, one of the "Big
Five" in the UN Security Council.
anti-Communist
stance.
Ideologically, both governments
adopted a strong
South Africa's concern about national security with regard to
the PRC was focused on two broad issues: in the first instance, the PRC had provided
training and assistance
Africanist
Congress
to the black liberation
movements,
in particular
the Pan-
(PAC), one of the more radical South African black nationalist
groups, compared to the ANC which was mainly assisted by the Soviet Union; secondly,
in the Southern Africa arena, the PRC chose to support UNITA (Uniao Nacional para a
Independencia Total de Angola),
ZANU (Zimbabwe African National Union), and the
construction of the Tan-Zam Railway to compete with the Soviet Union's support for the
MPLA (Movimento
Popular
de Liberlacao
de Angola),
ZAPU
(Zimbabwe
African
People's Union) and the use of the Soviet Navy in shipping supplies into Angola.
In
order to stem the Communist infiltration and the insurgence of the African nationalists,
South Africa made an effort to build an anti-Communist cordon across the sub-continent
from Angola through Botswana, Rhodesia, Malawi to Mozambique
in the 1960s.
By
doing so, it was hoped that South Africa's national security could be ensured and the
Western nations would accept and support South Africa.
125
In order to meet the challenges posed by the PRC, during the 1950s-1960s,
the ROC's
national security primarily depended on the support of the USA and other major powers,
as well as the retention of its seat in the UN Security Council.
the two most important objectives
Therefore, these were
of the ROC's foreign policy from 1949 to 1971.
E:xternally, there was no immediate threat to the ROC's national security, so long as the
ROC was under the protection of the Cold War security alliance designed by the USA to
contain the Communist bloc and the ROC's legitimacy in UN was secure. To pacify the
local Taiwanese's internal dissatisfaction, the ROC would have to develop its economy
and create wealth for its majority people as fast as possible.
Thus the ROC regarded
South Africa as of little importance during the 1950s-1960s.
On the whole, before
1971, the ROC attached more importance to the newly-independent
than South Africa.
black African states
This situation would change only after the ROC lost its seat in the
UN Security Council in 1971.126
As a result of the above-mentioned
factors,
South Africa was not keen to have
diplomatic ties with the ROC during the period of 1948-1974.
In Charles Dickens's
words, "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times ... it was the spring of hope, it
was the winter of despair."127
To the white South Africans, this was the best of times
and the spring of hope as the economy of South Africa entered into a phase of
continued
growth and progress.
government,
The NP not only consolidated
but also overcame the storms of the Sharpeville
through its apartheid policies.
The white-controlled
its hold on the
tragedy and pushed
sanctuary cordon of Mozambique,
Angola and Rhodesia were still holding out against the escalating onslaught of black
guerrillas
on the last white citadels
in the African
continent,
while the threat of
international sanctions was still in the process of gathering momentum as the major
Western
powers were reluctant
to implement
against South Africa for their own self-interest.
and self-assurance.
comprehensive
economic
sanctions
This was a period of white confidence
The South African government became so confident that it began
to make adjustments to the trend toward the decolonisation of Africa by launching major
diplomatic initiatives of dialogue and an outward-looking
policy in the late 1960s and
early 1970s.
There was no need for South Africa to look to the Far East during this
period.
In sum, from 1948 to 1971, both the ROC and the RSA were reluctant to develop full
diplomatic ties with each other.
As a result of the reluctance to embrace one another,
relations between the ROC and the RSA were merely maintained at the relatively low level
of consular links for more than two decades. During this period, bilateral relations between
the two countries were not very close.
Both countries were preoccupied with their
respective internal and external priorities. The great cultural divide, geographical distance
and South Africa's apartheid policy, as well as its colonial connections with the West,
further contributed to the mutual lack of interest in expanding relations with the other side.
Therefore,
while South Africa directed
its attention
to the West and the African
continent, not much historical interaction and contact between South Africa and the
ROC was recorded prior to 1971.
From 1948 to 1967, no permanent South African
representative or Consul was dispatched to the ROC, except a Trade Commission was
opened by South Africa in Hong Kong in 1962 and it was subsequently converted to a
Consulate-General
in 1967.128
oriented economic
boom and commercial
In the same year, as the ROC experienced an exportinterests with the ROC increased,
South
Africa established a Consulate in Taipei. Three years later, it was upgraded to the level
of Consulate-General,
which at times assumed some diplomatic functions.
to 1976, ROC-RRSA
relations were basically on a consular level.
During 1967
It was only in 1976
that the two countries started to exchange ambassadors and strengthen their ties.
However, it is interesting to note that after the division of China in 1949, the RSA
continued to recognise the ROC on Taiwan in line with USA's policy. While the ROC
was still a member of the UN before 1971, South Africa consistently voted for the ROC
to keep its seat in the UN each time the issue was put to a vote. The support granted
by South Africa to the ROC was due to the common anti-Communist stance of the two
governments.
129
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
32.
33.
34.
35.
36.
37.
38.
39.
40.
41.
42.
43.
G. Mills & S. Baynham, "South African Foreign policy, 1945-1990" in G. Mills (ed.) From Pariah to
Participant: South Africa's Evolving Foreign Relations, 1990-1994, p.13.
Ibid.
B. Crozier, The Man Who Lost China: The First Full Biography of Chiang Kai-shek, p.7.
D. W. Wainhouse, Remnants of Empire: The United Nations and the End of Colonialism, p.1.
Ibid.
Johnson, Modern Times, p.369; H. Kissinger, Diplomacy, p.426.
See FA van Jaarsveld, From Van Riebeck to Vorster, 1652-1974, p.447;
B. Fourie, Buitelandse Woelinge Om Suid-Afrika: 1939-1985, p.37.
Geldenhuys, Isolated States, p.112.
The United Nations (UN), The United Nations and Apartheid, 1948-1994, p.8.
Ibid., p.9.
Ibid., p.5.
FA Van Jaarsveld, From Van Riebeeck to Vorster, 1652-1974, p.374.
Ibid., pp.401-405.
C.F.J. Muller, (ed.), Five Hundred Years: A History of South Africa, p.481.
N. Mandela, "Mandela's Call" in Nelson Mandela: The Struggle is My Life, p.190.
Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, p.127.
Ibid., p.132.
Ibid., p.130.
African National Congress (ANC) , "The Freedom Charter", in ANC Speaks: Documents and Statements
of the African National Congress, 1955-1976, pp.12-15.
G. Olivier, "South African Foreign Policy", in D. Worrall (ed.) South African Government and Politics,
pp.290-291.
. Geldenhuys, Isolated States, p.113.
C. Legum, "The International Protest" in G. M. Carter & P. O'Meara (eds.), International Politics in
Southern Africa, p.223.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
K. Furuya, Chiang Kai-shek: His Life and Times, Abridged English Edition by Chun-ming Chang, pp.873874.
Quoted in Furuya, Chiang Kai-shek p.894.
J. K. Fairbank, China: A New History, pp.331-334.
Johnson, Modern Times, p.446.
Ibid.
Fairbank, ibid., p.334.
Johnson, ibid., p.445.
Furuya, Chiang Kai-shek, p.898.
Ibid. p.905.
Ibid.
M. Y.M. Kau & J. K. Leung (eds.), The Writings of Mao Zedong, 1949-1976, Vol. I, pp.3-4.
Ibid., p.11.
Ibid.
N. S. Ginsburg, The Economic Resources and Development of Formosa, p.2.
Ibid.
The Republic of China Yearbook, 1996, p.32.
See Lee Teng-hui, The Road to Democracy. pp.35-41; The Republic of China Yearbook, 1997, pp.474476. As of 1995, there are 422,000 Protestants and 304,000 Roman Catholic believers. The total
number of Christians is around 726,000 persons. The former ROC President, Lee Teng-hui and many
DPP members are Christians, as is the author and his family.
44.
45.
46.
47.
48.
49.
SO.
51.
52.
53.
54.
55.
56.
57.
58.
59.
60.
61.
62.
63.
64.
65.
66.
67.
68.
69.
70.
71.
72.
73.
74.
75.
76.
77.
78.
79.
80.
81.
82.
83.
number of Christians is around 726,000 persons. The former ROC President, Lee Teng-hui and many
DPP members are Christians, as is the author and his family.
Hung Chien-chao,A Histo!)' of Taiwan, pp.23Q-231.
Fairbank,China, p.339.
W. Blum, The CIA A Forgotten Histo!)" US Global InterventionsSince World War II, p.17. Also see
Peng Ming-min,A Taste of Freedom, pp.51-56.
Peng, ibid, p.SO.
Blum, ibid., p.17.
Ibid. Estimates of the Taiwanese elites and students which were killed by the mainland Chinese troops
range from several thousands to twenty thousand. The exact numbers is not certain. J.K. Fairbank's
estimate is around 8000 to 10,000. But the real numbers could be higher than Fairbank's estimation
because many Taiwanese were simply taken away by the Chinese troops and disappeared. Therefore,
the ROC former president, Lee Teng-hui estimated that "there were probably no less than 30,000
victims-, The Road to Democracy, p.36.
The incident of February 28th, 1947 left a lingering legacy of suspicion and distrust between the
Taiwanese islanders and the descendents of the Chinese mainlanders. The former mostly prefer the
·status quo- (separation or independence) while the latter are mostly inclined to ·unification- with
mainlandChina. These are the two opposingdynamic forces of the ROC political arena.
MOFA, Zi X
'ff •• ; f1
IUI{WiW Zi X fi i& (White Paper. Foreign Relations and Diplomatic
Administration),December 1992, p.38.
The Republic of China Yearbook 1997, p.102.
Yu San Wang (ed.), Foreign policy of the Republicof China on Taiwan, pp.3,5,7.
Crozier, ibid., p.351.
Hung-maoTien, ·Social Change and Political Developmentin Taiwan- in H. Feldman, M. Y.M. Kau & I. J.
Kim (eds.),Taiwan in a Time of Transition, p.12.
MOFA, White Paper, p.38.
G. Ranis, ''Taiwan as a Classic Model of Asian Development Success" in African Development
Lessonsfrom Asia, p.29
Fairbank,China, pp.339-340.
Hung-maoTien, The Great Transition' political and Social Change in the RepUblicof China, pp. 12-13.
Ranis, ibid., p.34.
S. W.Y. Kuo, Economic policies' The Taiwan Experience, 1945-1995,p.23.
Ibid.; also see The Republic of China Yearbook 1997, pp.68, 343.
Ibid., pp.57-61.
Tien, The Great Transition, p.20.
Kuo, Economic Policies, pp.155-156.
Ranis, ibid., p.29.
Ibid., p.31.
Wang (ed.), Foreign policy ofthe ROC on Taiwan, p.2.
Furuya,Chiang Kai-shek, p.913.
Ibid., p.914.
Chiang Kai-shek, "New Year Day Message, 1973" in Chinese-EnglishCurrent Documents, 1973-74, p.18.
MOFA, White Paper, p.26.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Chiang Kai-shek, "New Year Day Message, 1973", ibid., p.16.
Wang (ed.), Foreign Policy of the ROC on Taiwan, p.4.
Liang-tsaiWei, Peking Versus Taipei in Africa, 196Q-1978,Asia and World Institute, Monograph Series,
No.25, pp.29, 307.
G. T.Yu, ·Chinese Rivalry in Africa-, in Race, Vol.5, No.4, April 1964, p.37.
Ibid., pp.37, 41-42.
Ibid., p.37.
Ibid.
Ibid., p.35; also see L. M.S. Slawecki, ''The Two Chinas in Africa- in Foreign Affairs, No.2, January 1963,
pp.398-399.
Ibid., pp.38-41.
m
n
84.
85.
86.
87.
88.
89.
90.
91.
92.
93.
94.
95.
96.
97.
98.
99.
100.
101.
102.
103.
104.
105.
106.
107.
108.
109.
110.
111.
112.
113.
114.
115.
116.
117.
118.
119.
120.
121.
122.
123.
124.
MOFA, White Paper, p.26.
Tien, ibid., p.221.
Bih-jaw Lin, "The Republic of China and Africa: A Case of Positive Adaptation", in Yu San Wang (ed.)
Foreign PolicY of the Republic of China on Taiwan, p.149.
The ROC Council for Economic Planning and Development, Taiwan Statistical Data Book, 1996, p.194.
The ROC Customs Statistics of Foreign Trade, p.188.
1986 Foreign Trade Development of the Republic Of China, p.22.
Ibid.
Unpublished MOFA's internal document entitled The Briefing on the Republic of South Africa, p.9.
Hsiang Shih-kuei, 21x/J~
(A Diplomat's Memoir), pp.69-70.
The Dept of African Affairs of the MOFA, ROC, Briefing on the RSA, p.9.
The Union of South Africa, White Paper of the principal Documents Relating to the Consideration by the
United Nations General Assembly Of the Statement of the Government of the Union of South Africa and
the Statement of the Government of India Regarding the Treatment of Indians in the Union of South
Atrica 1946, No. A-48, p.30.
Ibid., p.41.
Ibid., p.49.
Ibid.
Ibid., p.45. Also see 1962 Report on the UN Proceedings, p.46.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (hereinafter referred to as DFA) of the Republic of South Africa,
\NMe Papec Reports on the Proceeding in the Security Council and at the Eighteenth Session of the
General Assembly of the United Nations on Questions Affecting South Atrica, 1963, p.19.
K. L. Harris, "Accepting the Group, but Not the Area: The South African Chinese and the Group Areas
Ad", in The South African Historical Journal, No.40, May 1999, p.180.
Ibid., p.182.
Ibid., pp.182-183.
Ibid., p.183.
Ibid., p.181.
Ibid.
Ibid., p.183.
Ibid., p.184.
Yap & Man, Colour Confusion and Concessions, pp.357-360.
Ibid. 273-274.
Interview with the former Consul-General Lo Ming-yuan of the ROC in Johannesburg as cited in Yap &
Man (ed.), ibid., p.356.
See V. H. Li (ed.), The Future of Taiwan: A Difference of Opinion, p.48.
See Yap & Man, Colour, Confusion and Concessions, p.417; and P. Richardson, Chinese Mine Labour in
the Transvaal, p.37; Also see CFJ Muller (ed.), Five Hundred Years, p.365. The three authors record the
total number of Chinese labourers slightly differently: Yap estimates "more than 60000 Chinese
labourers", Richardson 63695, and Muller 62200. This is possibly due to the fad that, as white miners
strongly objeded to the importation of Chinese labourers, the first batch of of Chinese left the Transvaal
in 1907 and the last in 1910.
Yap & Man, Colour Confusion and Concessions, p.417
Muller, (ed.) Five Hundred Years, pp.371-372, 457-460.
Union of South Africa, Debates of the House of Assembly (hereinafter referred to as "Hansard'1, 1949,
Vol. 68, col. 5551.
Ibid., col. 6672.
Yap & Man, Colour, Confusion and Concessions, p.419.
Hansard, May 21st-June 22nd, 1951, vol. 75, col. 3968.
Ibid.
Hansard, August 11th, 1953, col. 1327.
Hansard, June 21st, 1951, Vol. 75, co!. 3973.
Hansard, February 26th, 1950., Vol. 70, co!. 1027.
Hansard, March 24th, 1950, Vol. 71, col. 3681
Ibid. Vol. 70, Co1.1027.
125.
126.
127.
128.
129.
J. Barber & J. Barratt, SQuth Africa's FQreign PQlicY: The Search fQr Status and Secudty, 1945-1988,
pp.175-177.
6ih-jaw Lin, "The RepUblic Qf China and Africa: A Case Qf PQsitive AdaptiQn" in Yu Sang Wang (ed.)
FQreign PQlicYQBhe Republic Qf China Qn Taiwan, pp.149, 153
C. Dickens, A Tale Qf TWQCities, p.21.
D.F. FQune, "SQuth Africa and the East" in A. J. Venter, (ed.), FQreign PQlicY Issues In a DemQcratic
SQuth Africa, p.149.
DFA, Report Qn Proceedings at the Twenty-Sixth General Assembly Qf the UN' Qn QuestiQns Affecting
SQuth Africa 1971, pp.8-12.
THE EVOLUTION
OF CORDIAL
POLITICAL-DIPLOMATIC
LINKS BETWEEN
THE
ROC AND THE RSA, 1971-1994
This chapter presents a historical account of the development of ROC-RSA
diplomatic links during the period 1971-1994.
political-
To survey the evolution of the interstate
relations between the two countries, the first section of this chapter explores the historical
background and the main factors which drew the two remote countries to engage in cordial
interactions.
The second section reviews how ROC-RSA
political and diplomatic ties
developed and examines the nature of interstate relations between the ROC and the RSA
during this period.
Finally, the effects and impact of ROC-RSA
political and diplomatic
relations on the domestic, economic and political developments of the respective countries
are assessed.
The development of a close relationship between the ROC and the RSA began in the
1970s, culminated in the 1980s, and then declined from 1990 when the NP government
under the leadership of President F.W. de Klerk embarked upon a new political course.
The turning point of ROC-RSA bilateral relations was the year 1971, although the actual
commencement of diplomatic relations between the two countries was from 1976. If we
take the year 1971 as the starting point of the ROC-RSA alignment, which lasted until
April 1994 when the new democratic South Africa emerged miraculously, the overall
history of the close ROC-RSA ties during these years can be broadly divided into two
historical phases.
The first phase, from 1971 to 1989, witnessed the gradual expansion of co-operative
ties.
During these two decades, the ROC and the RSA opted to expand friendly
exchanges and co-operation between the two countries in various fields in lieu of the
previous reluctance to embrace each other.
In the time span of this phase, the two
countries enjoyed a relationship
of cordial ties which were based on mutual need,
sincere friendship and complementary co-operation.
This period was a phase of forging
close links between the ROC and the RSA.
The second phase, from 1990 to 1994, was a period of transition from alignment to
uncertainty.
After the unbanning of the ANC in February 1990, and the subsequent
dismantling of apartheid legislation, the RSA was gradually returning to the international
fold.
While South Africa began to shake off the enforced isolation and to reintegrate
with the mainstream of the world community, it was inevitable that the ROC-RSA
developed
during
r~integration.
the
decades
of isolation,
Under the circumstances,
should
make
way
for
into a period of uncertainty
announcement
international
from 1990 onwards, the interstate relations
between the ROC and the RSA entered into a stage of transition,
degenerated
ties
which further
after 1994 and finally culminated
in the
made by President Nelson Mandela on November 2yth, 1996 to sever
the ROC-RSA diplomatic relations with effect from the end of 1997.
The reasons for the formation of close links between the ROC and RSA were manifold.
The development
of the close ties was not simply a result of the shared increasing
diplomatic isolation of the two countries as many scholars have expounded.1
The
increasing isolation was merely one of the factors which led the two countries to forge
closer ties both politically and economically
through the 1970s and the 1980s.
To
understand the historical evolution of the relations between the ROC and the RSA,
there is a need to review other important contributing factors during the period 19711989.
The first and foremost factor was the removal of the ROC from the UN in 1971. Freed
from the annual diplomatic battle for the China seat at the UN, the ROC did not need
the African
votes any more.
Therefore,
the African
countries
became
relatively
unimportant in comparison with the RSA which was the strongest state economically
and militarily in the sub-continent south of the Sahara. This gave the ROC the freedom
and opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations with the RSA for the benefit of economic
development, trade and the supply of minerals.
The ROC former Deputy Minister of
Foreign Affairs, Chien-jen Chen, gave the following brief explanation:
After the ROC was ousted from the UN, the political consideration that by
associating with the RSA, its apartheid policies might lead the ROC to
offend other black African countries was removed, and the ROC's foreign
policy towards the RSA was less influenced by factors of political stance.
Therefore, we established ambassadorial-level
The second factor was the change of American
relations with the RSA. 2
policy towards
the ROC.
The
foundation of the ROC's security status and legitimacy was built on American support.
As soon as American
backing was downgraded,
the future of the ROC became
L:ncertain and it needed to form closer association with other isolated countries such as
South Africa for various purposes.
The ousting of the ROC from the UN was largely as
a result of the changes of American policy towards the ROC.3 The fate of the ROC, a
small state, is basically dependent upon the distribution of power within the international
system, which is shaped, by major powers like the USA.
The survival of the ROC, as explained in Chapter II, was mainly reliant on the USA's
support. The full support of the USA, which was given to the ROC after the outbreak of
the Korean War in June 1950, lasted for two decades.
From the 1950s to the 1960s,
when the USA was facing a concerted Soviet-PRC Communist
challenge, the USA
considered the ROC as an important part of the littoral islands extending from the
Aleutians through the Philippine Archipelago to contain Communist expansion.
Hence,
a defence treaty was concluded between the USA and the ROC in 1954 under the
Eisenhower administration, and the two countries maintained close ties and military cooperation.
During the Vietnam War, Ching Chuan Kang Air Base in the middle of
Taiwan was used by USA military cargo jets as a way station to provide military supplies
to the USA troops in Vietnam.
Intelligence listening posts and aircraft repair facilities
were established in the ROC to assist American military activities.4
In direct contrast to ROC-USA alliance, the PRC had signed a treaty of alliance with the
USSR in February
1950 and a PRC-USSR
defence
assistance
agreement
was
concluded in October 1957. The PRC considered the USSR as its primary source for
political support and military aid in the 1950s and at the beginning of the 1960s.
However, PRC-USSR relations turned sour in the latter part of the 1960s. Apart from
the ideological differences of the two major communist countries, the split was partly
due to Mao's
revolutionary
independent
strategy,
self-reliant
Mao intended
strategy.5
development
to induce
the leader
Khrushchev, to assist the PRC to become a nuclear power.
In line with
of the
USSR,
his
Nikita
However, Khrushchev was
reluctant to help Mao, unless the PRC allowed Soviet military forces to establish nuclear
bases in mainland China. Mao refused to accept the Soviet's demands, and instead he
pursued an independent nuclear programme.6
In the aspect of economic and political
development, Mao also discarded the Soviet economic/political
unprecedented
gigantic social engineering of the so-called "Great Leap Forward" from
September-October
transformed
produce
model and initiated the
country
was
into "people's communes" which were expected to be self-sufficient
and
steel.
1957 to July 1959.
The
Soviet-trained
At its zenith,
steel engineers
were
the whole
redeployed
The economy and steel industry were in a mess.7
agriculture.
to work
in
From 1957 for nearly
twenty years until Mao's death in 1976, Mao inflicted great disasters
on Chinese
society, in particular during the period of "the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution"
(1965-1969).
Liberation
Mao's eleven million Red Guards, with the support of the People's
Army
governmental
(PLA),
hierarchy.
had virtually
destroyed
Chinese
culture
and the
PRC's
The violent excesses of Mao's Cultural Revolution were so
serious that the ten years from 1966 to 1976 were widely perceived
as "the lost
decade."s The history of the PRC, from its founding in 1949 until the death of Mao in
1976, underwent "a series of jolts and internal struggles."g
The Sino-Soviet
strain was, in part, attributable
to Mao's adventurism.
This was
reflected by Mao's military intervention in the Korean War (1950-1953) and his ordering
of a heavy bombardment of Quemoy and Matsu, the islands of fortified outposts under
the control of the ROC military forces, in July 1958. Khrushchev was alarmed by Mao's
adventurism, and Mao was deeply disappointed by the lack of support from the Soviet
Union in his failed "liberation" of Taiwan, the ROC.10 Khrushchev regarded Mao as "a
madman who would wreck his country and blow up the world if he had means.,,11 The
troubled Sino-Soviet relations were further exacerbated by historical border disputes which
culminated in armed clashes in April 1969 over the disputed islands in the Ussuri River in
Manchuria.
While the Sino-Soviet hostility was deepening, a dramatic change in the relationship
between the USA and the PRC was about to take place.
diplomatic non-recognition
The USA foreign policy of
of the PRC, which lasted for nearly two decades from the
1-950sto the 1960s, was soon to be replaced by a policy of normalisation of relations with
the PRC. As the USA was bogged down in the Vietnam War, President Richard Nixon,
after winning a narrow presidential electoral victory in 1969, was keen to seek the cooperation of the PRC on a negotiated settlement in the Vietnam conflict.
The PRC not
only provided vital military supply, economic aid and diplomatic support to North Vietnam,
qut also wielded considerable influence over the insurgent forces such as the Viet Cong
forces, Pathet Lao and Cambodian communists in South-East Asia.12 To achieve a facesaving disengagement in Vietnam, there was a need for the USA to establish relations
with the PRC.
Furthermore,
there was growing
international
acceptance
of the fact that, as the
Chinese Communists government has been in long-term effective de facto control of
mainland China since 1949, it was the PRC on the mainland, and not the ROC on
Taiwan, which was the legitimate government
of China.
There was also a growing
awareness in the world community that with its enormous size, population and military
power, the PRC was an important country in the international political system.
While
the PRC was gradually recognised as an important power, the PRC began to readjust
its foreign
policy.
After the period of Sino-Soviet
isolationism and identification
alliance
in the 1950s and its
with the third world in the 1960s, the PRC adopted a
pragmatic approach since the 1970s to improve its image and to seek modernisation so
as to form a global coalition against perceived Soviet expansionism.13 Beijing's new
approach and its open door policy led many non-communist
countries to normalise
relations with the PRC forfeiting diplomatic relations with the ROC.
The change of international perception of the PRC was coupled with the emergence of
the great power triangle of the USA, the USSR, and the PRC. Following the occurrence
of an open schism between the PRC and the USSR, the new strategic balance of power
of the post-war world had shifted.
The previous bi-polar system was changed into a
pattern of triangular relations. Among the great power triad, the USA viewed the USSR
as the major threat, and the PRC a lesser enemy.
To exploit the intensifying Sino-
Soviet rivalry, the Nixon administration contemplated playing the "China card", so as to
prevent the USSR from achieving its global hegemony.14 It was the above-mentioned
strategic tactics that led the USA to formulate the policy of normalisation
of relations
with the PRC and to co-opt Beijing from 1970 onwards.
In 1971, the USA made a complete change in its China policy.
to normalise
relations.
relations
with the PRC and to phase out the USA-ROC
th
On July 15
Nixon was determined
,
1971, an announcement
diplomatic
was made by the White House that
Henry Kissinger, the then Assistant for National Security Affairs and later the Secretary
of State of the USA, had made a secret trip to Beijing from July 9th to 11th, 1971 to have
talks with Chou En-Iai, the then Premier of the PRC. Thereafter, Nixon decided to pay a
state visit to the PRC in February, 1972.15
The decision of the Nixon administration to play the "China Card", or rather "equilibrium"
as Kissinger named it,16 had enormous repercussions on the international relations of
the ROC and the retaining of its seat in the UN. The change of the USA policy towards
the PRC and the China initiative were construed by many smaller countries in the world
community as the imminent dumping of the ROC and the diminishing of the ROC's
importance.
The ROC's claim to represent
China was viewed as fiction of anti-
Communist ideology and the USA treated the ROC as dispensable.
change of USA policy towards the ROC, the USA government's
"immediately
replaced by a nearly unquenchable
As a result of the
"Taiwan fever" was
yearning of senior officials to visit
Beijing on suddenly essential business.,,17
In the face of such a major shift in the USA's China policy, the ROC leadership,
however, still stubbornly adhered to its "One China" policy and rejected the proposals
for "du'al representation"
made by the USA. This would have admitted the PRC to the
UN, while the ROC would still have been allowed to remain in the General Assembly of
the UN as a separate member in a similar situation to West and East Germany in the
past.
Nevertheless, the then Ambassador of the ROC to the USA, James Shen, was
instructed by the ROC government to call on Kissinger on July 1, 1971 before his secret
trip to Beijing to lodge "an extensive objection to the State Department plan for "dual
representation",
which would have attempted
expelling Taiwan,,,ls
to admit Beijing to the UN without
However, despite the upholding of the facade of the "one-China"
policy, the ROC government
had, after the passing away of the mainland Chinese
leaders on Taiwan, already modified this rigid official stance in terms of its de facto
practices behind the official facade.
But the PRC still insisted that there was "but one
China" and that "Taiwan is part of China.,,19
The shift of the USA's policy towards the PRC together with the rigid stance of the ROC
leadership eventually led to the latter's loss of international recognition at the UN. As
the annual debate at the UN on the issue of the representation of China approached in
1971, the timing of the debate coincided with Kissinger's
second trip to Beijing in
October 1971 to make arrangements for Nixon's forthcoming visit to the PRC. The USA
government's
declared policy of normalising
relations with the PRC had effectively
swayed the outcome of the debate in the UN General Assembly and its subsequent
voting.
It became apparent to other countries that the USA was eager to embrace the
PRC. The USA's new advocacy of the PRC's admission into the UN, but preserving the
ROC's seat in the form of "dual representation"
further increased the PRC's support.
However, both the PRC and the ROC flatly rejected the American proposal of "dual
representation".
The then Premier of the PRC, Chou En-Iai, confirmed with Kissinger
during his visit to Beijing that the PRC would not accept "dual representation"
in any
form, and Chou indicated that "the PRC had existed for a long time without membership
in the UN and could wait a while longer.,,2o The leader of the ROC, Chiang Kai-shek,
also rejected the formula of "dual representation".
instruction to his Ambassador
Consequently,
This was evident from Chiang's
to lodge a protest to the USA as described
above.
it became increasingly clear to many countries which were anxious to
establish relations with Beijing that the formula of "dual representation" proposed by the
USA was no solution to the problem of China.
Many countries also recognised the inevitability of the PRC's admission into the UN. As
the most populous country in the world and a great power in terms of its size and its
military strength, so long as the PRC's was not in the UN, the universality of the UN
international representation was not complete.
There was a common belief that it might
be possible to delay the PRC's entry into the UN for a year or two, but there was no way
to keep the PRC out of the UN forever.
Therefore, many countries saw fit to jump on
the bandwagon and to extract some political advantage from supporting the admission
of the PRC into the UN.
The end result of the voting at the twenty-sixth session of the UN General Assembly on
October 26th, 1971 was that the American draft resolution was defeated and the draft
resolution
no. 2758
(XXVI) put forward
by Albania,
Algeria,
Cuba, Iraq, Zambia,
Tanzania, Pakistan, Romania and other pro-PRC countries to expel the ROC and to
admit the PRC into the UN was adopted by 76 votes in favour to 35 against, with 17
abstentions.21 The above-mentioned UN resolution no. 2758 (XXVI) stipulated that the
UN would recognise the representatives
of the government of the PRC as "the only
lawful representative of China to the United Nations and that the People's Republic of
China is' one of the five permanent members of the Security Council.... and to expel
forthwith the representatives
of Chiang Kai-shek from the place which they unlawfully
occup[ied] at the United Nations and in all the organisations related to it.,,22 Knowing
that the proceedings
had taken an irreversible
course against the ROC, the ROC
delegation withdrew from the UN General Assembly before the adoption of the Albanian
draft resolution which was passed by the UN General Assembly
th
on October 25
,
1"971.23
Nonetheless, it is worth noting that during the crucial voting on the representation
of
China, the South African delegation voted in favour of the American proposal of "dual
representation" and against the expulsion of the ROC from the UN.24 The main reason
for the RSA's support for the ROC was explained by the Department of Foreign Affairs
of the RSA as follows:
From our point of view, however, we can derive no comfort from Beijing's
presence in the United Nations.
There is little doubt that she and the
Soviet Union will try to outdo each other in currying favour with the
Africans
and since she is already
extremists
hostile
hand in glove with some of the
on the African continent, who also happen to be our most
adversaries,
namely
Tanzania
and Zambia,
it requires
little
imagination to be able to forecast the role which she will be playing in
matters concerning us in the United Nations.25
The withdrawal of the ROC delegation in October 1971 from the UN General Assembly
marked the end of the ROC's participation in the UN. The loss of the ROC's seat in the
UN also resulted in the further deprival of membership in all UN Specialized Agencies
and affiliated organisations.
ten
international
governmental
Economic
The ROC was successively forced to withdraw from all but
governmental
organisations,
Council
(APEC),
Criminal Police Organization
organisations.
Among
the Asian Development
ten
international
Bank (ADB), the Asian-Pacific
the Pacific Basin Economic
(INTERPOL),
these
the International
Council,
the International
Union for Publication of
Customs Tariffs, the Permanent Court for Arbitration and the General Agreement on
Trade and Tariffs (GAIT)
are or were of relative importance.
Hence, the only avenue
available to the ROC was to encourage its citizens to join the 781 non-governmental
international
organisations,
including the International
Olympic Committee,
so as to
expand
interaction
international
with the outside world?6 As a result of the deprivation
of its
legitimacy, the ROC had entered a historical period of unprecedented
isolation in terms of its participation in international governmental
organisations
since
1971.
In terms of bilateral diplomacy, following the ousting from the UN, the ROC's diplomatic
isolation also deepened rapidly.
th
from the UN on October 25
,
During the two months from the ROC's withdrawal
1971 to the end of 1971, there were five countries
(Belgium, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Lebanon) which severed diplomatic relations with the
ROC.27
If we take the whole of 1971 into account, 12 nations derecognised the ROC
in that year alone.
In the wake of Nixon's visit to the PRC in February 1972, the
situation deteriorated further, as another 15 countries switched diplomatic recognition to
the PRC.28
It was estimated that 45 percent of those countries which had diplomatic
relations with the ROC prior to 1971 had switched ties to the PRC during the period
1971-1973.
In the years after 1972, the ROC was further buffeted by a series of
diplomatic setbacks.
In the five year span from 1972 to 1977, 34 countries forsook the
ROC to establish diplomatic ties with the PRC.29
By the end of 1977, there were only
23 countries which maintained full diplomatic links with the ROC compared to a total of
68 states which had diplomatic missions in Taipei at the peak of the ROC's foreign
relations in 1970.30 Further serious diplomatic adversity ensued in 1979 when the USA
terminated its diplomatic relations with the ROC and recognised the PRC instead. From
1979 to 1992, an additional 10 states abandoned the ROC for the PRC. By the end of
1992, a total of 49 countries
diplomatic/political
had switched
recognition
to Beijing.31
The ROC's
isolation was acute, although it still registered 29 diplomatic ties by
the end of 1992.
The most serious blow to the ROC was the breaking of diplomatic relations with the
USA, its only protector and principal trading partner.
Following Nixon's trip to Beijing in
late February, 1972 and the signing of the Shanghai Communique
on February 27th,
1972, the then USA president, Jimmy Carter, made an announcement
on December
15th, 1978 to the effect that from January 1st, 1979, the USA would switch recognition
from the ROC to the PRC and terminate the 1954 ROC-USA Mutual Defense Treaty.
Despite the legislation of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) enacted by the USA Congress
in March 1979 to regularise the essential ROC-USA relations, a de facto moratorium of
arms sales was imposed on the ROC by successive administrations
of the USA. This
moratorium was further put into a formal joint USA-PRC Communique signed on August
17th, 1982. In accordance with this Communique, the USA was to gradually reduce its
sales of arms to the ROC, leading over a period of time to a final settlement of this
issue.
It was only after the loss of diplomatic recognition of the major countries in the world
community that the ROC government
realised the mistake it had made before the
1970s.
During this period, the ROC government had persisted with the "one China"
policy.
Those nations that chose to recognise the PRC were deemed to be unfriendly
and the bilateral diplomatic relations were severed by the ROC.
The leaders of the
ROC also flatly rejected the "dual recognition" proposal. This non-compromising
stance
and ideologically rigid diplomacy had a negative effect on the foreign relations of the
ROC. Many scholars believe that if the ROC had adopted a more flexible approach to
contend with the PRC in the international arena, it would have been possible for the
ROC to avoid diplomatic isolation.32
But it was too late for the ROC to alter its policy
when 120 nations had switched sides.
By that time, the ROC's only alternative was to
innovate a new mechanism to interact with the major powers and to formulate a more
realistic and unorthodox diplomacy.
During the years 1971-1992, although the ROC recouped diplomatic recognition from
19 countries including the RSA, these were mainly micro states in the Caribbean and
the South Pacific.
Other countries that continued to recognise the ROC were mostly
relatively poor developing countries in Latin America and on the African continent.
33
(For a complete list of the ROC's diplomatic networks see Table 1). Most of the major
powers, such as the USA, Britain, France, Germany, Canada and Japan, had replaced
the lost conventional
relations.
diplomatic
They established
links with the ROC with unofficial
representative
offices or quasi-embassies
or semi-official
in Taipei, and
vice
versa,
to handle
the bilateral
technological and consular exchanges.
political,
trade,
economic,
financial,
cultural,
(For the details of the ROC's unofficial networks
see Table 2). In the ROC official circle, the euphemism for these informal ties is called
"substantive
relations".34
It is through
the devising
of an unorthodox
system of
interaction with other states that the ROC is currently able to succeed in maintaining,
and even expanding, trade and various other ties with more than 92 countries
worldwide.35 Since this dissertation is mainly concerned with the evolution of ROCRSA bilateral relations, the details of the ROC's external relations will be left to other
scholars for further research.
In a nutshell, the PRC managed to unseat the ROC from the UN and imposed enforced
diplomatic/political
isolation on the ROC in the world arena after 1971.
PRC failed to cut off the ROC's
"substantive
However, the
relations" with the outside world.
ROC was flexible enough to find its own way for international
The
survival and to look
beyond its traditional allies for friendly partners elsewhere.
The third factor contributing to the ROC's forging of closer ties with South Africa was the
ROC's deep sense of betrayal by the USA, as well as the need for national security and
national survival.
The people and the government of the ROC were both disillusioned
and angered with the American policy of normalisation with the PRC. For the people of
Taiwan, they were deeply shocked to learn of the announcement
Communique
which was issued by the USA and the PRC on February 28th, 1972,
Beijing and Taipei time (but February 27 Washington
announcement
28
"
time).36
The timing of the
might have been just a coincidence, or sheer ignorance on the part of
the USA government of Taiwan's history.
th
of the Shanghai
However, it was on the date of "February
of 1947 that the mainland Chinese (Kuomintang) troops massacred 5000 to 20 000
native Taiwanese elite during the so-called "February 28th Uprising,m.
The Taiwanese
could never forget this historical wound which had not yet been properly healed.
The
choice of the date for making such a major policy announcement was like putting salt
onto the historical wound.
Moreover, for the Taiwanese islanders, the USA declaration
of "one China" and Taiwan as part of China rang the death knell of their long-cherished
hopes for the sovereignty or self-determination
of Taiwan.
The Taiwanese people felt
that they had been stabbed twice in the back by their American ally. The first letdown
was in 1947, when the Kuomintang's mainland Chinese troops killed the Taiwanese and
the islanders reeled under the Kuomintang's authoritarian rule.
Taiwanese
people to win their right to self-determination,
Instead of helping the
the USA supported
Kuomintang for strategic reasons and said nothing, while the Taiwanese
suppressed by the Kuomintang.38
the
elite were
Second, Kissinger and Nixon's visit to the PRC and
Carter's subsequent establishment of diplomatic relations with the PRC, were seen by
the people of Taiwan as an act of abandonment.39
They generally felt let down by the
USA.
The government of the ROC also felt betrayed by what they perceived of as an old ally.
The ROC leadership was deeply annoyed by the American government's apparent lack
of concern for the sentiments of the ROC government.
The then ROC President Chiang
Ching-kuo, the eldest son of Chiang Kai-shek, was informed of the USA's normalisation
of relations with the PRC by being roused from his sleep at 2 a.m. on December 15th,
1978.
The announcement
was made in the middle of an important national election
which was subsequently suspended by Chiang Ching-kuo.4o
A few months later, when
Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter's Adviser on National Security, visited Beijing in May 1979,
he entered the PRC on the same day that the then ROC president, Chiang Ching-kuo,
had been inaugurated president in Taipei one year previously.41 These events were not
necessarily intended to deliberately hurt the ethos of the ROC's leadership or to reflect
American special support for the PRC. Nevertheless, the sentiments of the government
and people of the ROC were deeply offended by the American government's
lack of
concern for the ROC's psyche and dignity.
Deeply affronted by the abrupt change of American policy, the question of national
security, national survival and national prestige became the guiding principles of the
ROC's foreign policy. As both the ROC and the RSA were anti-Communist and both felt
they had been abandoned by the Western democracies,
the two countries shared a
common interest of banding together to devise
a strategy of security against their
perceived enemies.
In the absence of American protection and knowing that American arms sales to the
ROC would be discontinued in the long run, the ROC government
was determined to
avoid its past mistakes of being used as a bargaining chip by the great powers and a
passive party serving American strategic interests.
The ROC leaders were keen to
initiate a new strategy to safeguard the ROC's own destiny.
For the sake of survival,
both the ROC and South Africa needed to ensure their national security and to quest for
international
status and the legitimacy
of their relevant
The most
governments.
important dimension of national security for a state is national defence.
As regards
national defence, by 1975, the ROC's fighters and naval equipment were ageing.42
ROC military was in need of advanced
military armaments and self-sufficient technology
to counter the Chinese Communists' threat during the 1970s to the 1980s.43
riot to provoke the PRC, the Carter administration
advanced
The
In order
was reluctant to sell the more
weapons and military products to the ROC.44 Therefore, the ROC was eager
to implement military co-operation with the RSA.
The fourth factor contributing to the ROC's forging of closer links with the RSA from the
1"970s onwards was the economic need.
complementary.
Despite its racial problems, South Africa was the leading industrial
country in the southern African region.
manufacturing
The economies of the two countries were
South Africa is rich in natural resources, but its
sector was not as competitive as that of the ROC.
The ROC needed
access to South Africa's markets as well as its maize, wood pulp, coal, gold, basic
metals and minerals, including uranium, to develop the ROC's economy.
hand, the RSA needed the capital, expertise,
particular its extensive
massive
and investments
and diversified manufacturing
On the other
from the ROC, in
industries, to create jobs for its
unemployed black population.
This mutual economic need coincided with the high tide of the relocation of Taiwanese
industries to overseas
areas.
By the 1970s, the labour costs and land prices for
industry in the ROC were rising.
Following the gradual political, economic, social and
cultural changes which took place in Taiwan, after the death of Chiang Kai-shek in
1975, a continuing process of modernisation and democratisation began to unfold in the
ROC.
Taiwan was rapidly becoming
a pluralistic
society.
An organised
political
opposition movement had been formed in 1979. The ROC was in transition from a oneparty state towards
international
a democracy.
isolation,
pressures
While the ROC was struggling
were
exerted
on the
with growing
ROC government
by the
Taiwanese people to accelerate the pace of domestic political reform so that the ROC's
status in the world and internal demographic composition
reflected.
could be more realistically
The increasing international isolation and deteriorating diplomatic prospects
had not only eroded the fictitious claim of the ROC's legitimacy
as the sovereign
government of China, but also endangered its existence as a country.
were compounded
These problems
by labour shortages, militant independent trade unions, strikes for
higher wages, the appreciation of the Taiwanese currency (the NT$) during the 1980s
and the emergence of strong foreign competition from Hong Kong, South Korea and
other
Newly-Industrializing
Countries
exports of clothing and footwear.
markets,
particularly
in
The ROC could no longer base its economy on
exporting low cost, low value-added
industries.
(NICs) for overseas
consumer goods produced
by labour-intensive
To salvage its economy, it became necessary for the ROC to move beyond
labour-intensive export-led economic growth and to embark upon the transition to a new
phase of economic development
focusing on the promotion of high-technology
and
capital-intensive industries from the mid-1970s to the 1980s.45
Consequently,
many Taiwanese manufacturers
in labour-intensive
industries chose to
move their assembly lines to the Chinese mainland and other parts of the South East
and the East Asian regions to maintain their international competitiveness.
Some saw
an advantage to relocate their factories and equipment to South Africa particularly the
homeland regions.
The investments of the Taiwanese entrepreneurs
in South Africa
were largely due to their economic needs, which had nothing to do with South Africa's
politics. They were attracted by the abundance of unskilled cheap labour, the incentives
of an industrial decentralisation
scheme, the unpolluted living environment
and good
educational system in South Africa.46
The fifth factor, which played a role in bringing these two countries together, was the
mutual interest in nuclear collaboration.
Both the ROC and the RSA were trying to
develop independent nuclear energy production in the 1970s and the 1980s.47
There
were for example aspects of mutual interest in terms of the refining of uranium for
nuclear fuel.
hydropower
As the ROC lacked sufficient energy resources,
coal and natural gas reserves
and its own limited
could not meet the increasing
energy
consumption, the ROC needed to import a large quantity of oil from the Middle East for
power generation.48
But the cost of oil had suddenly quadrupled in the first oil crisis of
1973. The ROC was hard hit by the oil price hike, which spanned the years to 1976.49
In view of the dramatic change of the American policy towards the ROC, it was feared
that the USA might impose a nuclear fuel embargo on the ROC, if it intended not to
subordinate itself to American political dictation.
Therefore, there was a need for the
ROC to proceed with its nuclear power programme and to collaborate with the RSA for
an assured supply of uranium, so as to stockpile nuclear fuel for its future demands.
50
As for the RSA, it required the ROC's nuclear expertise, equipment and financing of the
project. 51
The sixth factor, was the importance of the RSA's strategic location, it's relatively large
landspan and long coastline with abundance of fishery opportunities,
together with its
fairly advanced agriculture, veterinary research and the various scientific and technical
developments.
Left with less than 30 poor minor diplomatic
allies, the ROC was
desperately searching for formal ties with some medium-sized countries with abundant
resources and a certain degree of influence and standing in the international community
so as to enhance
its claim that the ROC is a formally
acknowledged international status.
desirable partner.
Co-operation
recognised
state with
Based on these criteria, South Africa qualified as a
in the fields of transport links, fisheries, agriculture,
medical services, science, loans and technical transfers between the two countries, thus
became some aspects of the basis of ROC-RSA
both party's self-interests.
association which was beneficial to
52
For the ROC's diplomatic
operations
in the region of southern
Africa, the RSA's
geographic location was of special importance to the ROC. The RSA is the hub of the
region of southern Africa and as it shares common boundaries with Botswana, Lesotho,
Swaziland (BLS countries), Mozambique,
Zimbabwe (Rhodesia)
and Namibia (South
West Africa), it was regarded by Taipei as a springboard and a centre of logistical
support for its diplomatic operations in the region. This was particularly necessary when
the ROC was still maintaining full diplomatic ties with the BLS countries in the 1970s,
because Lesotho and Swaziland are enclaves within the RSA.
These three countries
are members of the South African customs union and they are economically dependent
on the RSA. Despite the lack of direct diplomatic representation between the RSA and
the BLS countries before the 1990s, the RSA still retained some influence over these
countries.
countries
To consolidate
the ROC's diplomatic
relations with these neighbouring
and to utilise the RSA as the stepping
stone in the region, the ROC
government saw the necessity of establishing diplomatic links with the RSA.53
It was mainly the above-mentioned
five factors which induced the ROC government to
expand diplomatic
ties with the RSA from the 1970s.
government
and economic
As for the
of the RSA, Pretoria also regarded the ROC as the springboard
diplomatic operations in East Asia.
of its
Before 1992, the ROC was the only Asian country
that maintained full diplomatic relations with the RSA, along with the three South African
consular missions in Hong Kong, Japan, and Australia. As the international sanctions
against the RSA were intensified, the position of the ROC and the ROC-RSA
became even more important to Pretoria.
Ever since the establishment
relations
of diplomatic
relations with the ROC, the RSA has attempted to use Taiwan as "a bridgehead for
Pretoria to expand its contact and collect information about the Far East."54
3.3
EVENTS WHICH LED TO THE RSA'S CHANGE OF POLICY TOWARDS THE
ROC
While we saw a dramatic change in the ROC's foreign policy pertaining to the RSA, a
combination
of events also led the white dominated
attitude towards the ROC after 1971.
RSA government
to change its
For South Africa, the period of the 1970s
witnessed the shattering of white confidence
by unexpected
domestic and external
setbacks.
In the external setting, South Africa's search for Western alliance and support proved
futile.
In 1961, South Africa had withdrawn from the British Commonwealth
other international organisations in the ensuing years.
The white-controlled
and many
cordon of
security in the southern African region was broken by the Portuguese withdrawal from
Mozambique
and Angola
as a result of the 1974 coup.
The independence
Mozambique
and Angola
in 1975 came as a bitter shock to the white minority
government.
As soon as Mozambique obtained its independence,
Samora Machel's
Marxist government began to provide assistance to African nationalist guerrillas.
Smith's Rhodesia was on the brink of crumbling.
to the border of South West Africa.
South Africa's doorstep.
debacle.
of
Ian
The civil war in Angola was spreading
The tide of African liberation was rolling towards
The South African intervention in Angola turned out to be a
The regional balance of power was thus shifted, and the presence of Cuban
t~oops complicated these regional conflicts. The entire external buffer zone was almost
lost.
South Africa stood isolated on the continent of Africa.
Prime Minister,
B.J. Vorster's
"detente"
The then South African
initiative was short-lived
and the external
security threats to the RSA's white rule were intensified.55
In the domestic setting, following the collapse of Portuguese
colonial rule and the
regional upheaval, militant black youths were motivated to challenge white dominance
in 1976 starting
in Soweto
and then across
the country.
The
South
African
government's harsh repression of the black revolts during the uprising of 1976 and the
death of Steve Biko in September 1977 had not only stoked violent opposition, but also
led to the intensification of international pressures against South Africa. After 1975, the
withdrawal of the European colonial powers had increased the RSA's conflicts with its
African neighbours.
These confrontations,
in particular the intervention
in Angola,
added extra elements of friction between the RSA and the international community.
As
a result, South Africa became more isolated.56
Meanwhile,
the
domestic
international
relations and the development of her economy during the 1970s.
suppression
of black opposition
imposed on the RSA.
political
unrest
provoked
had
also
exacerbated
calls for more stringent
South
Africa's
sanctions
The
to be
The advocates of sanctions organised various campaigns to
mobilise support and a wide range of international organisations passed resolutions to
enforce sanctions against South Africa. A case in point was an embargo on oil supplies
to South Africa, which was adopted by the Arab OPEC (Organization
of Petroleum
Exporting Countries) states in 1973 at the request of the OAU in spite of the objection of
the Shah of Iran.
A growing number of countries were in the process of imposing
sanctions or restrictions on air links and exports of high technology goods, such as
computers to South Africa, and/or on selected imports from South Africa, particularly of
Kruger rands, iron, steel, coal, uranium, agricultural products and textiles.
cited perception
of South Africa's
as an economic
powerhouse
The often-
and her strategic
importance faded away. The RSA was no longer regarded as vital to the West.
was widespread
abhorrence
of apartheid among the Western
countries,
There
and world
opinion was shifting towards the imposition of sanctions on the RSA. 57
The South African economy was also affected by the political upheaval.
investor
confidence
was
undermined
and a second
wave
of capital
Foreign
flight
and
disinvestment (the first had been after the 1960 Sharpeville shootings) was sparked off
by the serious 1976-1977 black uprisings.
As foreign investment was declining, the
RSA was increasingly relying on foreign loans. The troubled economy was aggravated
by the falling gold prices, which fell to USA$275 an ounce in mid-1979.58
South
Africa's
economy
was
dragged
into
a
recession
from
1974
As a result,
to
1978.
Consequently, in the ten years after 1974, South Africa's average economic growth rate
dropped from 5.5% per annum in 1960-74 to 1.9% in 1974-1984.59 South Africa could
no longer rely on its traditional Western allies to provide credit, investment,
military
equipment and technology - access to these essential ingredients for national survival
was mostly restricted.6o
In sharp contrast to the RSA's situation, the ROC's work ethic, its political stability and
the effective policies by the ROC government had enabled the ROC to accomplish the
tremendous achievement of industrialisation within the three decades from the 1950s to
the 1970s.
The main financial source of investments was largely domestic savings,
rather than USA aid.
savings.61
By 1965, 86% of finance for investment was from domestic
From the 1970s onwards, the ROC has already become a capital exporting
country and one of the economic "tigers" of East Asia.
The Pacific Rim had suddenly
become an "economic giant" with a huge transfer of entrepreneurs
and investments
emanating mainly from East Asia to various areas.62
As the ROC had gradually become a creditor nation, this made it look quite attractive to
the RSA, despite the great cultural divide and geographic distance between the two
countries.
international
In order to preserve its national security and to survive all perils in a hostile
environment,
there was a need for South Africa to search for fellow
isolated states, such as Israel and the ROC, for the needed mutual advantages
diplomatic
and economic
alignments,
trade, investment,
technical
co-operation
of
and
mutual benefits of other relevant joint projects. To this end, both the ROC and the RSA
were prepared to readjust their traditional foreign policies of reluctance to embrace each
other and to sail into uncharted waters after 1971.63
The evolution of the ROC's political-diplomatic
relationship with the RSA, as indicated at
the beginning of this chapter, may be broadly divided into two phases: the earlier phase
(1971-1989) of the forging of close co-operative ties; and the more recent period of
transition
(1990-1994)
from alignment
to uncertainty
which
eventually
led to the
severance of diplomatic links at the end of 1997. The earlier phase, however, can be
further subdivided into two distinct stages. The first stage (1971-1975) saw the gradual
warming of ROC-RSA
relations and the start of the exchange of visits made. by high-
ranking officials and cabinet ministers to the respective countries to pave the way for the
strengthening of bilateral relations.
The second stage (1976-1989) was characterised
by the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1976, the culmination of the state visits of the
heads of the government of the two countries in 1980 and the ensuing expansion of cooperative relations between the ROC and the RSA until the stepping down of P.W.
Botha as president.
During the initial stage of the evolution of the ROC-RSA
bilateral· relations, beginning
around 1970 and lasting for five years, the relevant governments dropped the more than
two decades' policies of reluctance and disassociation
improve the inter-state relationship.
own economic development,
and instead made an effort to
Recognising the importance of each other for their
both countries were inclined to upgrade the low-level
consular framework, so as to prepare for the formation of a wide range of alignments in
the 1980s.
A noticeable breakthrough in the ROC-RSA
relations occurred in 1970.
It was in this
year that the South African Consulate in Taipei, which was opened in 1967, was
upgraded to a Consulate-General.
After 1971, the bilateral relations between the two
countries became even stronger.
In 1973, apart from the Consulate-General
of the
ROC in Johannesburg, the ROC opened another Consulate in Cape Town to look after
its fishery interests in the Atlantic Ocean and to liaise with Parliament.
elevated to Consulate-General
The upgrading
This office was
seven years later.64
of the bilateral consular relations between th~ ROC and the RSA
facilitated the growth of ROC-RSA economic ties. To cope with the growing economic
relations,
the office of the ROC Commercial
Attache
was opened
by the ROC
government
in Johannesburg
in May 1974 to handle matters related to trade and
c-ommerce.55
In response to the expansion of bilateral trade, the South African government decided to
remove trade barriers. To this end, the then Consul-General of the RSA in Taipei, John
Kincaid, announced at the beginning of 1975 that in view of the tremendous increase in
the volume of trade, the RSA would remove tariff discrimination against imports from the
ROC, while the ROC would import more maize and iron ore from South Africa.55
after the announcement,
a trade agreement
countries on February 26th, 1975.57
was concluded
in Taipei
Soon
by the two
This agreement paved the way for regular annual
consultations between the Ministers for Economic Affairs of the two states and also for
t~e expansion of bilateral trade and economic relations.
was accorded to each country, and tariffs were reduced.
Most-favoured-nation
status
As a result of the bi-national
annual ministerial meeting, which was held in Taipei and Pretoria on alternate basis,
ROC-RSA economic relations were gradually strenghtened.58
As the ROC's trade with the RSA increased, the improved economic relations also led
to the strengthening
of closer political-diplomatic
including prevailing public perceptions.
ties and co-operation
in other fields,
Following the steadily expanding economic ties,
the exchange of visits of high-ranking officials and cabinet ministers between the two
countries also began to occur more frequently from 1975.
In 1975 alone, there were
three delegations of South African dignitaries who paid official visits to the ROC. They
were mainly the VIPs of the South African Parliament, cabinet ministers, and highranking officials in charge of trade and commerce
Speaker of the House of Assembly;
such as A. L. Schlebusch,
then
C.P. Mulder, then Minister of the Interior and
Information and G.J.J.F. Steyn, then Secretary of Commerce.
While the ROC-RSA
economic relations were deepening and the two countries' domestic views had been
prepared for the forthcoming closer association with the other isolated state, the two
governments considered that the time was ripe to establish full diplomatic links.59
However, ROC government feared that the development of close links between Taipei
and Pretoria would have a detrimental effect upon the ROC's cordial relations with the
Arab countries, in particular Saudi Arabia, which was the most important supplier of oil
to the ROC. A trade and aeronautics agreement was concluded with Saudi Arabia on
February 26th, 1975. In order to ensure the oil supply, the Arab countries needed to be
properly consulted before the ROC started to foster official cordial relations with the
RSA. 70
For the said purpose, the ROC government
assigned the then Deputy Minister of
Foreign Affairs and the chief architect of the ROC's Africa strategy, Yang Hsi-kung (also
known as H.K. Yang), to visit several Arab countries in the Middle East, including Saudi
Arabia and Jordan, in 1975 for consultation and understanding.71 Yang's visit to the
Middle East and South Africa in 1975 was a clear indication that the government of the
ROC had begun focusing its attention on forging relations with South Africa, while taking
precautionary
measures to prevent the forthcoming
ROC-RSA
diplomatic ties from
inhibiting the development of cordial relations with the Arab countries.
It was only after
the consultation with the Arab countries that Yang paid a visit to South Africa to discuss
the matters of common interests before the establishment
of ROC-RSA
diplomatic
relations in April 1976. During his visit to South Africa, the then RSA State President, N.
Diedericks, and Prime Minister B.J. Vorster received Yang.
strong anti-Communist
The common ground of a
ideology and aspirations for freedom had gradually led the two
sides to have an appreciation of the other.
Yang claimed that "South Africa and my
country are joined in the fight against communism.
We are in favour of free enterprise,
democracy and freedom.,,72
The establishment of diplomatic links was generally regarded as being in the common
interests of the two anti-Communist
countries.
The ROC was praised by a National
Party Member of Parliament as "one of the strongest anti-Communists
bastions in the
Free World", and "a natural trade partner for South Africa, because Taiwan needs our
raw materials while we in turn provide them with a market for selectively manufactured
goods.,,73
On April 26th, 1976, the two countries established formal diplomatic relations to foster
the bond of friendship and close co-operation.
1aipei respectively.
Embassies were opened in Pretoria and
The two countries exchanged ambassadors to foster the closeness
of their bilateral relationship.
The ambassadors
assigned by the two countries to
cement ROC-RSA ties during the period 1976-1998 are indicated in Table 3 and Table
4.
The ROC's decision to enter into full diplomatic relations with the RSA was primarily
attributed to the aforementioned
factors and its needs for trade, markets, resources,
economic development and national security.
It was never the intention of the ROC to
support the RSA's domestic racial policies. Non-interference was the policy of the ROC
government with regard to its relation with the RSA. The ROC's official stance was that
"We do not interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries" and "let the South
Africans find their own solution."74 In line with the non-interference
policy, prior to the
unbanning of the ANC and the PAC in 1990, the ROC never had any contact with the
ANC, the PAC and the SACp.75 By contrast, the PRC supported several black
liberation movements in southern Africa, including UNITA, ZANU and the PAC.76
In the wake of establishing diplomatic ties between the ROC and the RSA in 1976, the
second stage of bilateral relations was unfolding. A wide range of co-operation between
the two countries
began to take shape.
In addition to the 1975 Trade Agreement
between the government of the ROC and the government of the RSA, several other
agreements in various fields were concluded during the period of 1977-1979.
Among
these agreements, the Agreement Concerning the Exchange of Postal Parcels between
the Postal Administrations
of the ROC and the RSA was concluded on January 11th,
1977; the Agreement between the ROC and the RSA on Mutual Fishery Relations was
signed on February 26th, 1978; and the Agreement for Technical Co-operation between
the National
Standards
Bureau of Standards
became effective
of the ROC and the South African Bureau of
on November 10th, 1979.77 The conclusion of these
agreements provided the legal basis for the citizens of the two countries to have mutual
access to the other country's postal service, fisheries and the application for registration
of trade marks, licenses and patents in the foreign land.
relevant
entrepreneurs
to conduct
their
business
with
This in turn enabled the
ease
and
confidence
of
protection.
However, during 1976-1979, apart from expanding economic interactions and trade, the
forging of ROC-RSA diplomatic ties did not bring about any immediate dramatic political
alignment
between
the two countries.
Before 1979, contacts
between
executive
leaders, especially foreign policy formulators such as Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers
or Secretaries of Foreign Affairs, had not come about.
It was only after P.W. Botha's
assumption of power in 1978 that the formation of some kind of common front began to
gradually emerge. The real improvement of political-diplomatic
relations started in 1980
when the then ROC Premier, Sun Yun-suan, and the then RSA Prime Minister, P.W.
Botha (who later became the State President) exchanged visits.78
During Prime Minister B.J. Vorster's era (1966-1978),
the leaders of the governments of
the two countries were not very keen on visiting the capital of the other country.
The
then ROC President Chiang Kai-shek, who was in his late 80s, was too frail to visit
overseas.
As for his son, Chiang Ching-kuo, the then de facto ruler of the country, was
too busy consolidating his political power during 1971-1975 in his capacity as Premier of
the ROC.
He was also preoccupied with the challenge of the 1973 oil crisis and ten
major domestic infrastructure projects. Chiang Kai-shek died on April 5th, 1975 at the
age of 89.
He was constitutionally
succeeded by the then Vice-President,
Yen Chia-
kan. But Yen was only the nominal head of state. The real power was in the hands of
Premier Chiang Ching-kuo who was subsequently
elected President of the ROC in
March 1978. Sun Yun-suan, a distinguished engineer and former Minister of Economic
Affairs (1969-1978), was appointed by Chiang Chin-kuo as the Premier of the ROC in
1978. The appointment of Sun, a mainland-born technocrat, was intended to utilise his
economic expertise to expand the economic development of the ROC in the face of
diplomatic isolation.79
As for the RSA, the then Prime Minister B.J. Vorster's diplomatic concerns were mainly
focused on the issues of South Africa's immediate external environment
conflicts of Rhodesia,
such as the
South West Africa and Angola, and his well-known
detente
initiative with black African states further north. With respect to his foreign visits, except
his visits to black African states, Vorster only visited Europe, Uruguay and Israel.
Before the end of Vorster's tenure, none of South Africa's Prime Ministers had ever
visited the ROC, either in a private or an official capacity, although Vorster did accept
the ROC government's invitation and intended to pay an official visit to Taipei during the
period of October 14th_18th, 1978.80 However, Vorster was prevented from realising this
scheduled visit to the ROC because of his poor health (bronchitis) and the outbreak of
the "Information Scandal" in 1978.81 The exposure of this issue seriously damaged the
reputation and authority of Vorster and his close associates, in particular C.P. Mulder,
the then Minister of Information and leader of the National Party in the Transvaal, and
General H.J. van den Bergh, who was the head of the Bureau of State Security.
The
end result of this scandal was the rise of P.W. Botha, the then Minister of Defence, who
overtook
Mulder and obtained
the position
of the Prime Minister
of the RSA in
th
September 1978. Vorster became State President and eventually resigned on June 4
1979 to a political wilderness.
,
82
Following P.W. Botha's assumption of office as Prime Minister of the RSA in 1978,
ROC-RSA
bilateral linkages were visibly strengthened.
Efforts were made by the two
sides to befriend each other, and a series of measures were adopted to broaden mutual
relations.
High-level exchange of visits was accelerated.
The summit meetings of the
two countries were held in 1980. As a result of this consolidation process, most of the
co-operation agreements between the ROC and the RSA were completed during the
reign of P.W. Botha.
Therefore, it was the Vorster administration
formalised the ROC-RSA
that nurtured and
relations, but the flowering of the co-operation between the
two nations was in P.W. Botha's era. It was during Botha's term of office that the two
countries endeavoured to build a strong partnership and ROC-RSA
~n axis of substantial importance.
83
relations grew into
It should be noted that before being elected Prime Minister in 1978, Botha had served
as Minister of Defence for 12 years.
Therefore, it can be argued that South Africa's
increasingly deteriorating domestic and external situation, and his long-time experience
of defence, had led him to develop a belief in a "Communist threat" and Communistinspired "Total Onslaught" to overthrow white rule. He believed that South Africa faced
a
Communist-orchestrated
propaganda,
onslaught
and military fronts.84
in
political,
diplomatic,
social,
To counter the "Total Onslaught"
economic,
against South
Africa, the ''Total National Strategy" was formulated to fight the threat.8s
The military and security
government's
sectors were given a major role in the South African
policy-making.
The assignment
of General Magnus Malan from his
military post as Chief of the Army to the position of Minister of Defence reflected the
military's influence.
The State Security Council became the main decision-making
body. The South African Defence Force (SADF), the Department of Defence, the South
African
Police, particularly
intelligence
organisations
its paramilitary
units, and the various
such as the National
Intelligence
branches
Service,
of the
the Military
Intelligence Section and the Security Branch of the Police, played significant roles in
terms of expressing
its views and opinions in the formulation
of policies of security
concerns.86
The same was true of Chiang Ching-kuo's rule on the island of Taiwan.
As the eldest
son of Chiang Kai-shek and his heir apparent (his other son was adopted), Chiang
Ching-kuo
was given control
of the military
and security
agencies
of the ROC
government after its relocation to Taiwan in 1949. At the time of his arrival in Taiwan,
this Russian-educated
Chief of the ROC's Intelligence establishment
not only brutally
suppressed the Taiwanese elite, but also unleashed a white terror all over the island. In
1965, he became Minister of National Defence and in 1972, he was appointed Premier
(Prime Minister) by his father.
Communist),
In many ways, Chiang's experiences,
style of rule and political reform were similar to Botha's.
ideology (antiInterestingly
enough, Chiang also excelled at toughness and was ruthless in suppressing opposition
and Communist infiltration in his earlier years in Taiwan. As a result, he was called the
"Oppressor" by Hsu Hsin-liang, then former Chairman of the Democratic Progressive
Party (DPP), the main opposition party in the ROC.87
dogmatic and strongly anti-communist
Botha, also had a clear-cut,
view of the world.88
Chiang was the initiator of
the ROC's political reform, while Botha can be regarded as the forerunner of the RSA's
political reform.
In his later years in the 1980s, Chiang made some efforts to broaden
the ROC government's political base by bringing more native-born Taiwanese into the
ruling party, legislature and executive system, which were dominated by the Chinese
mainlanders.
ROC.
However, he had no intention of seeing majority Taiwanese rule in the
Throughout
his life, until his death in 1988, Chiang refused to recognise the
Chinese Communist regime or to negotiate with Beijing for the reunification with the
mainland.89
The main indicator of the forging of closer ROC-RSA ties was the exchange of visits of
~igh-ranking executives of the foreign ministries of the two countries which started to
take place in 1979.
The first significant visit of the head of the RSA's Department of
Foreign Affairs was made by Brand Fourie, the then Secretary for Foreign Affairs, in
October 1979.
At the time of his visit, Fourie was the head of the Department of
Foreign Affairs and he was a key figure in the formulation
of South African foreign
policy.
Fourie's visit served as a precursor of a series of more important visits to be made by
the Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers of the two nations from 1980 onwards.
As a
matter of fact, the visit paid by Fourie and his wife during October 1979 was in lieu of
RF. (Pik) Botha, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The invitation was extended to Pik
60tha in September 1979 by Ambassador H.K. Yang on behalf of the ROC government
while he paid a courtesy call to Pik Botha shortly after his assumption of duties as the
ROC's Ambassador
Rhodesian
to the RSA. 90
However,
Pik Botha was preoccupied
with the
conflicts and the intense diplomacy relating to the Rhodesian
situation.
Conscious of the inevitability of majority rule in Rhodesia, Pretoria was prepared to
separate its own fate from the fate of Ian Smith, the Prime Minister of Rhodesia, and to
stabilise the Rhodesian situation by supporting an internal settlement based on majority
rule, with the Rhodesian
Zimbabwe-Rhodesia.
whites retaining
a prominent
role in the government
of
To prevent the "extremists", in particular Robert Mugabe and the
ZANU, from taking over the black majority rule, the moderate black leaders such as
Bishop Muzorewa, Rev. Ndabiningi Sithole and a traditional ruler, Chief Chirau, were
recruited to participate in the internal settlement. Smith was therefore pressurised by
"the South African political, economic and military arm-twisting" to accept the formula of
the internal settlement.91
Pretoria also expected the ROC government
financial and various support to the Smith-Muzorewa government.
to provide
92
According to South African intelligence, if a general election was inevitable, the SmithMuzorewa interim government would win black majority support.93
wishful
thinking
was dashed.
The West did not accept
settlement and international recognition was withheld.
Nonetheless, this
the Rhodesian
From mid-to-late-1979,
internal
less than
a year before Zimbabwe's independence, the Smith and Muzorewa's regime, which was
backed by South Africa, was on the verge of collapse.
The entire Commonwealth
refused to recognise the Smith-Muzorewa
The international
government.
pressure,
based on an Anglo-USA plan, had been heightened to bring a black majority rule to
Zimbabwe.94 From a strategic point of view, Pretoria had no desire to see the Red Flags
flying in Rhodesia, South West Africa (SWA) and other neighbouring
countries.
This
would not only give impetus to South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), the
ANC and the PAC, but also brought a serious security threat to the RSA. In this regard,
Pik Botha stated clearly:
We believe that the next country to fall will be Botswana.
That will leave
right around us to the north, east, and south a stretch of land one
thousand
to one-and-a-half
thousand
miles wide, stretching
from the
Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, either under direct or indirect Communist
influence.
We have no illusions as to what this will mean for our survival,
and we are not going to sit back until it is too late to secure our survival.
95
In order to counter a prospective Communist-led
victory in southern Africa, Pik Botha
spent some time in September 1979 and again in October 1979 with Ambassador H.K.
Yang and the political Counsellor, Wei-jen Hu, in Pretoria to discuss the prospects of
ROC-RSA co-operation.96
On the first occasion, Pik Botha frankly indicated that as the current development of a
Rhodesian settlement was of critical importance to South Africa, he had to postpone his
visit until 1980.
Botha stated that he would either accompany
Prime Minister P.W.
Botha to visit the ROC in October 1980, or at another appropriate time.
But he was
hoping that the then ROC Premier, Sun, could lead a delegation to pay an official visit to
South Africa in February or March 1980 before P.W. Botha's visit to Taipei.
Both sides
agreed that in the face of common increasing international adversity, the two countries
should strengthen
their bilateral ties and deepen co-operation
in various aspects,
if}cluding the development of technology and military self-sufficiency, at a low profile.97
The two governments were however cautious as they did not want to draw the attention
of the world.
Despite the fact that the ROC was the most seriously isolated state in the
world in terms of formal diplomatic ties, it was neither willing to associate openly with
other "pariah states", nor willing to be identified with South Africa, Israel, Chile, or South
Korea as one of the members of a group of "Pariahs International".98 The reasons for
this was the important consideration
that as an island trading nation, the long-term
economic growth and trade with other countries were perceived to be more important
than the collective identification of the derogatory status of the "Pariah States".
For the
ROC, there was no need to embrace the RSA openly. After all, in spite of its diplomatic
isolation, the ROC was rarely smeared by colonialism
or racism, and its economic
success was amazing to many countries of the Third World.
In order to facilitate the
mutual co-operation, Pik Botha also assured Ambassador Yang that the South African
government would take measures to revise the relevant discriminatory laws against the
status of Chinese in South Africa.99
On the diplomatic front, Pik Botha revealed that the then Prime Minister of the Kingdom
of Swaziland was terminally ill with cancer, and that the South African government was
deeply alarmed by the intentions of the "crooks" of the Kingdom of Lesotho, namely
Leabua
Jonathan
and his foreign
minister, to bring in Cuban troops and other
Communists such as the North Koreans.10o This was contrary to the interests of the
RSA. The ROC government therefore was requested by Pik Botha to assist the RSA in
enhancing South Africa's relations with Swaziland and Lesotho and tried to persuade
the governments of these two countries to improve relationship with the RSA.101 If
these two countries could improve relations with South Africa and accept its overtures,
the RSA would, in turn, assist the ROC in re-establishing
Republic of Botswana which had switched
its recognition
diplomatic
ties with the
to the PRC in 1974.102
Although Lesotho, under Jonathan, was inclined to establish diplomatic contacts with
Communist countries, it maintained diplomatic links with the ROC until May 14th, 1983
when Lesotho severed its diplomatic links with the ROC.
against South Africa, Lesotho hosted a considerable
politically symbolic act of opposing
As Jonathan was politically
number of ANC refugees as a
South Africa's apartheid
policies.
Under such
circumstances, Lesotho did not have full diplomatic links with the RSA during the 1980s.
The relationship between Swaziland and the RSA was in a similar situation, although
the RSA did set up a "South African Trade Mission" in Mbabane,
the capital of
Swaziland. The ROC has always maintained very cordial and close diplomatic relations
with Swaziland since its independence
in 1968. The ROC government was willing to
~elp the RSA improve its relations with Lesotho and Swaziland.103
On a second occasion when Pik Botha and his wife, accompanied by Brand Fourie and
his wife, attended a dinner hosted by Ambassador Yang on October 6th, 1979 at his
residence, Pik Botha spoke graciously about the close relationship existing between the
two countries.
He referred to the efforts of the ROC government to overcome difficulties
resulting from world politics and Ambassador Yang's role as an instrument of the ROC
national policy.104 In a letter written by Pik Botha to Ambassador Yang in October 1979,
it was clear that there was a close rapport and cordial sentiments existing between
them.
"I had been looking forward with much enthusiasm and great expectation to a
visit to your country," wrote Botha.105
achievements.
He also held high respect for the ROC's
He made the following comments:
The contemporary history of the Republic of China bears testimony to the
ability of man under good leadership to transform adversity into prosperity.
The will of your people and their achievements in modern society are an
inspiration to nations who are burdened not only by physical but also
political adversity.106
Apart from the personal congeniality between the political elite of the two countries, the
cordiality of ROC-RSA friendship was also reflected in the warmth of the reception and
courtesy accorded to the Fouries by the ROC government during their visit to the ROC
in October 1979. The outcome of the Fouries' visit was fruitful.
During their stay in the
ROC, they met the then ROC Premier Sun Yun-suan, and held discussions with Y.S.
Tsiang, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs; Chen-hsing Yen, who was Acting Chairman
of Atomic Energy Council (AEC); Shien-siu Shu, then Chairman of National Science
Council (NSC), and other high ranking officials of the ROC.107 The Fouries also visited
the Nuclear power plants in Chin-Shan area of northern Taiwan, China External Trade
Development
Council
(CETRA)
in Taipei,
Kaohsiung City of southern Taiwan.10B
and China Ship-building
Corporation
in
Fourie and the aforesaid ROC leadership exchanged views on the world situation and
the Communist-orchestrated
(Tanzam)
railway.109
threats
in Rhodesia,
They also discussed
Mozambique,
SWA, and Tazara
issues of mutual interest including
co-
operation in the fields of science, trade, economy, military and nuclear energy.110 Fourie
was deeply impressed with the ROC's remarkable achievements
in various fields, and
he was "heartened by the extremely positive approach adopted by the government of
the Republic of China regarding the relations between our two countries
and the
expressed intentions of even closer co-operation between US.,,111At the end of his visit,
Fourie was awarded a medal by the ROC government for his contribution to cementing
closer bonds between the ROC and the RSA.112 However, notwithstanding the
increasing interest of the two countries in developing mutual co-operation, it should be
noted that historically there was no formal inter-state alliance or a security/military
which had ever been signed by the two governments.
officially
brought
up for discussion.113
According
pact
This subject had never been
to the ROC diplomatic
records,
although there were some informal talks and unofficial references made by a few South
African government officials before Fourie's departure pertaining to forming a new type
of "Fourth World" by the pariah states in addition to the First, Second and Third worlds,
the real interest of the two countries in pursuing this idea was actually diminishing by
the time of Fourie's arrival in Taipei.114
It was therefore a non-starter.
The main reason
for South Africa's lack of interest was said to be the sudden change of Iran's political
s.ituation which had shocked the leadership of the RSA. 115
Geographic distance was
also a great problem, and neither country could really safeguard or meet the need of the
national
security
relationship
of the other.
with the traditional
Each country
still considered
major powers as crucial.
its long-standing
But both countries were
determined to expand bilateral ties, so as to break out of isolation and to use the other
country as substitute for the traditional major trading partners.116
The highlight of ROC-RSA
bilateral ties was the exchange of official visits by the then
ROC Premier, Sun Yun-suan, and the then RSA Prime Minister, P.W. Botha, in 1980.
This was the real beginning of closer South African links with the ROC.
The visits
ushered in a new era in the expansion of economic, political, cultural and military ties
between the two countries.
Premier Sun and Mrs Sun, accompanied
by an entourage
of 31 delegates and 24
journalists from Taipei, paid an official visit to South Africa during March 1980. Among
Premier Sun's entourage were the then Minister without Portfolio, K.T. Lee (in charge of
science,
technology
Transportation
and
nuclear
and Communications,
Staff of the ROC military, Admiral
energy
development);
the
then
Minister
of
Chin-sheng Un; the then Chief of the General
Chang-chih
Soong; the then Vice Minister of
Economic Affairs, Yi-ting Wang; the then Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edward Y.
Kuan; the then Director-General of the government Information Office, James Soong;
and other high-ranking officials.117
The official visit made by Premier Sun and his delegation had far-reaching implications
for the ROC-RSA
bilateral diplomatic/political
following six important agreements
relations.
and one procurement
As a result of this visit, the
contract for uranium were
entered into and signed between the two governments:
(1)
Agreement
on
the
Co-operation
of
ROC-RSA
Defence
Industries
(Confidential).
(2)
Agreement
on the Reciprocity of granting Most Favoured Nation (MFA)
Status in respect of navigation and Shipping.
(3)
Aviation (Air Transport) Agreement
(4)
Agreement of the Reciprocal Exemption of the Income Tax on Aviation &
Navigation.
(5)
Agreement on the Co-operation of Science and Technology.
(6)
Exchange of Personnel between the National Science Council (NSC) of
the Executive
Yuan (e.g. Cabinet) of the ROC and the Council for
Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of the RSA.118
The above-mentioned
six agreements
of mutual co-operation
and granting of most
favoured nation status to each other had not only reduced tariffs and taxation, but also
laid the foundation
of ROC-RSA
co-operation
in the fields
of national
defence,
navigation, shipping, aviation, science, technology and economy.119
In addition to the aforesaid bilateral agreements and procurement contract, Premier Sun
and his entourage
also held discussions
with their South African counterparts
on
various matters of mutual interest during their visit. The first issue was about the status
of Chinese in South Africa. The South African government agreed that it would try to do
away with the chronic discrimination against the Chinese through the amendment of
legislation.12o But the South Africa side cautioned the ROC delegation that this matter
might
cause
complex
implications
regarding
population (implied Indian descendants)
the treatment
of the
RSA's
which numbered nearly one million.
Asian
It was
feared that if the Chinese were granted full constitutional rights as white South Africans,
other racial groups, particularly the Asians, would make similar demands.
Therefore,
there was a tacit understanding that since the Chinese population in South Africa was
relatively small, the South African government was willing to improve its treatment of the
qhinese by granting them "honorary white" status, so long as the Chinese understood
the complexity
of the racial situation
publicising this tacit agreement.121
the Taiwanese
immigrants
and the political
sensitivity
without
openly
As a result of this, the Chinese population, including
and investors
were consequently
treated
as "honorary
whites" from the 1980s onwards until 1994.122
However, although the South African government was prepared to give full rights to the
Chinese population in South Africa, it intended to ascertain the Chinese community's
views before implementing this tacit understanding.
In response to this unprecedented
overture, the Chinese community, nevertheless, was deeply divided.
the Chinese
community
had been part of the disadvantaged
Some felt that as
in South Africa for
generations, the Chinese should continue to side with the black majority rather than the
privileged white population.
Some feared that by accepting this overture, the loss might
turn out to be heavier than the gains.
For instance, it might alienate the black majority
and result in the necessity of Chinese young men serving in the South African armed
forces to fight in the war raging in southern Africa or other places.
Some felt that there
was nothing wrong with being granted the status of "honorary whites."
After further
consultations, it was decided later on that the small Chinese community in South Africa
would be granted partial rights to live and receive education in white areas on the basis
of the attainment of permits, but without full constitutional rights to vote or to take part in
the various elections.123
From the Chinese perspective, although the issue of rights of franchise for the Chinese
in South Africa was not completely
resolved, the improvement
South Africa was still a breakthrough
of Chinese status in
and an important achievement.
It not only
consolidated
government,
the support
of the South African
Chinese
community
to the ROC
but also made it possible for Taiwanese investors to emigrate to South
Africa, to live in white areas and invest in the black homelands and other areas in South
Africa. 124
The second issue that the two Prime Ministers discussed was the formation of the
"Fourth World".
The concept of forming a "Fourth World" by the pariah states such as
the RSA, the ROC, Israel, South Korea, Paraguay, Chile and Iran was brought up for
the first time by P.W. Botha during the second round of summit meetings of the two
heads of government held on March 11th, 1980 in Cape Town.125 P.W. Botha
expressed his view that deeply disillusioned
with Western vacillation and unjustified
hostility to South Africa, the RSA government was in favour of the formation of the
"Fourth World" by the medium-sized powers like South Africa, the ROC and the abovementioned countries to strengthen mutual co-operation, so as to break out of isolation
and to solicit the recognition and support for these states.126
The ideal situation would have been the participation of Iran in this group.
With Iran's
abundant oil, South Africa's mineral resources, Israel's technology in the arms industry,
and South Korea and the ROC's economic strength, the viability of the "Fourth World"
could not be underestimated.
Pik Botha further added that in October 1978, he had
mentioned this idea of alignment to the' Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi,
and the Shah supported the formation of the "Fourth World".127 Pik Botha regretted that
the RSA was unable to form the "Fourth World" before the fall of the Shah.128 During
the discussion,
Pik Botha asked Premier Sun whether any of the ROC's diplomatic
allies in the Far East, Africa and Latin America could really support this proposed
grouping.129 However, from the ROC standpoint, the founding of the "Fourth World"
was not viable.
Therefore,
the ROC preferred to expand ROC-RSA bilateral cooperation rather than form a collective pariah alignment organization.13o The reasons
were obvious. Despite the commonality of international isolation and the desire to break
out of international
constraints.
isolation,
each pariah state had its own agenda and different
For the ROC, it had no desire to embrace Iran. The post-Shah Iran was a
liability to the ROC's national interests. The Shah had been overthrown in January
1979 and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini assumed control. By November 1979, Iran's
relations with the USA had deteriorated to breaking point and the Iranian militants had
seized the USA embassy in Tehran and 50 Americans were held hostage. The downfall
of the Shah and the intense Iran-USA hostility made the alignment of the pariahs
inadvisable. Any attempt made by the ROC to enter into alignment with Iran would
definitely offend the ROC's security guarantor, viz. the USA, and the ROC's major oil
suppliers, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The move would surely jeopardise the ROC's most
important foreign relations. The ROC government feared that similar risks might impact
upon the ROC's friendly relations with the Arab countries if the ROC had close ties with
Israel.131
As for South Korea, Premier Sun frankly pointed out that as she was facing security
threats from mainland China and the Soviet Union, and there was no formidable
geographic barrier to prevent invasion from the north, South Korea had to rely on the
USA for protection.
Under these circumstances, South Korea sustained far greater
pressure from the USA in terms of foreign policy formulation.
As a result of this
constraint, Premier Sun deduced that South Korea was unlikely to provoke the Soviet
Union and the PRC by joining the beleaguered inter-pariahs' club to displease the USA
and the Third World countries.132
During the summit meeting, based on the above assessment, Premier Sun was of the
opinion that the formation of a multiple "Fourth World" by these pariah states was
unrealistic because of the security dilemma.133 These countries basically depended on
\IVestern big-powers for survival and each pariah state had different national interests
and no real control over its own fate. Therefore, Premier Sun replied that unless an
effective solution could be found to safeguard each country's national security, the more
feasible way of alignment would be the strengthening of inter-pariah ties.134 In line with
this direction, he indicated that the ROC government had no desire to form a "Fourth
World", and he perceived that the formation of this group was not feasible.
The
suggestion was thus made by Premier Sun to start from the more feasible ROC-RSA
~i1ateralco-operation and to shelve the grandeur of multilateral alignment with other
pariah states.135
In response to Premier Sun's proposal, P.W. Botha agreed that the two countries
should start to strengthen bilateral co-operation as the first step, and then gradually
expand the scope of co-operation to other pariah states.136 Consequently, the concept
of forming a "Fourth World" never materialised. The two countries quietly put it aside
after the meeting.
Premier Sun's visit also offered an opportunity for the two governments to exchange
views on other related issues such as mutual diplomatic support and the ROC's
assistance in obtaining oil from Saudi Arabia for the RSA.137
As regards to mutual
diplomatic support, a proposal was made by Pik Botha for each country to render
necessary support to the other by lobbying its close diplomatic allies to improve their
relations with the ROC or the RSA.138 The ROC would try its best to convince Malawi,
Lesotho, Swaziland, Paraguay, Costa Rica, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Panama to
improve their relations with the RSA; while the RSA would try to approach Botswana,
U.K., France and West Germany to enhance these countries' relations with the ROC.139
Premier Sun agreed to give the proposition of mutual diplomatic support a try because
of the fact that at the time, the ROC had no diplomatic or official relations with the U.K.,
France and West Germany.
It maintained merely substantive trade and economic
relations with these major Western powers. The ROC needed to diversify its weapon
procurement from the USA to the European countries and to smooth its relations with
the U.K., so as to make Hong Kong, a British colony, more accessible to the ROC's
visitors, trade, intelligence gatherings, and contacts with Mainland China. The RSA also
needed to win over the above-mentioned Third World countries, which maintained
cordial relations with the ROC. But Premier Sun explained to his counterpart that it
would be difficult to convince Saudi Arabia to sell its oil to South Africa, because Saudi
Arabia had agreed to sell oil to the ROC on condition that reselling and storage of oil
were prohibited.
He, however, assured P.W. Botha that the ROC government was
willing to co-operate with the RSA in other matters mentioned above, such as the ROCRSA mutual diplomatic support and bilateral co-operation in other fields. 140
In spite of foreign policy differences and the constraints of the ROC's national security,
which led to an indisposition
to have association with Iran and Israel in forming a
"Fourth World", Premier Sun's visit to South Africa in March 1980 was one of great
historical significance.
bilateral co-operation
It not only provided the groundwork for the various forthcoming
in ROC-RSA
relations, but also nurtured mutual understanding
and a value system between the leaders of the two countries.
In P.W. Botha's view, relations between the two countries had reached "a high level of
cordiality, co-operation and mutual advantage.,,141 The visit provided an opportunity for
the two leaders to find solace in their common anti-Communist
the alienation of major international powers.
ideological stance and
Rightly or wrongly, as these two countries
shared a similar outlook, similar external threats, similar international
isolation and
abandonment by the big powers, there was considerable solidarity between the leaders
of the two governments.
The friendly sentiments and common beliefs were evident in
the remarks made by them during Premier Sun's visit.142
At the state banquet held in Cape Town on March 1ih, 1980, Premier Sun stated:
We all face the threat from the international
communists.
It is for this
simple reason that we stand together shoulder to shoulder and co-operate
with each other in the interest of our two countries and peoples.
envisage
a bright
prospect
for closer
co-operation
And I
in the areas
of
economy, technology, trade and culture between our two countries. 143
P.W. Botha echoed the viewpoint of Premier Sun when he delivered his response by
emphasising that:
We are both countries
under threat from an aggressive
alien
communism, but we have made it clear that our freedom and the
future of our children
is not negotiable.
We shall defend
it,
regardless of the cost. 144
To summarise the achievements
of Premier Sun's visit to South Africa, P.W. Botha
proclaimed that apart from the co-operation in the scientific and technological field, the
two governments
had signed an agreement
instituting a reciprocal
air service and
another for the reciprocal treatment of navigation to facilitate contact over a broader
spectrum and to assure more direct links between the two countries.145 They had also
signed an agreement for the reciprocal exemption from taxes on income derived from
the operation of sea and air transport.
These agreements were beneficial to bilateral
t~ade, commerce, communication and future mutual co-operation.146
The visit of Premier Sun had generated an unseen momentum of bilateral interactions
between the two countries.
Concerted efforts were made to boost the exchange of
visits of more people from the two nations, including important officials and prominent
leaders.
The South African government
made good on its promise to improve its
treatment of the Chinese population, and the contribution of the Chinese community to
the prosperity
appreciated.
and economic
development
of South Africa
were recognised
and
In addition to the exclusion of the Chinese race from the definition of
"Asiatic" in section 175(1) of the Liquor Act of 1928, the then Minister of Home Affairs,
Chris Heunis, pledged to take concrete measures to mend the RSA's treatment of the
Chinese immigrants, especially pertaining to the granting of residence permits to the
ROC's investors in South Africa.147 In compliance with the request made by the then
ROC Ambassador,
H.K. Yang, on February 19th, 1982, Heunis agreed that "the validity
of their permits would be so extended that there would be no need for them to renew
their temporary residence permits every year and that these immigrants' stay would not
be limited to only five years."148 The long practised regulation of the reclassification of
white women who married Chinese, as Chinese, would be relaxed and their children
would no longer live in limbo.
Co-ordinating
measures
were also taken by the
Department of Home Affairs of the RSA to liaise with the provincial authorities of
Orange Free State, to lift the ban on Chinese from residing and establishing businesses
in the province.149
Gradually, the discriminatory measures which impeded the
expansion of the ROC's investments in South Africa were removed.150 In the meantime,
scheduled air service between Johannesburg and Taipei was introduced in November
1980.151
Subsequent to Premier Sun's visit, a high-powered South African official delegation led
by Prime Minister P.W. Botha and his wife visited Taipei during the period of October
13th_1ih, 1980 in a bid to further strengthen the bilateral ties between the RSA and the
ROC. The delegation comprised 66 officials including the then Minister of Foreign
~ffairs and Information, R.F. (Pik) Botha; the then Minister of Transport Affairs, H.S.
Schoeman; the then Minister of Industries, Commerce and Tourism, D.J. de Villiers; the
then Director-General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Information, Brand
Fourie, as well as the wives of the officials and 19 journalists representing the major
media of South Africa.152 The media group included: the South African Broadcasting
Corporation (SABC), the South African Press Association (SAPA), The Cape Times,
The Star, Pretoria News, The Daily Despatch, Die Burger, Beeld, Die Transvaler,
Vaderland, The Mirror, The Sunday Times, Rapport and The Rand Daily Mail.153
This trip was the first official visit made by P.W. Botha in his capacity as Prime Minister.
As this was the first time that a South African Prime Minister had set foot on the soil of
Taiwan, the visit was covered with massive publicity in both the ROC and the RSA. In
the ROC, this event was hailed as the milestone of ushering in a new era in the history
of the ROC-RSA ties.154 During his visit to the ROC, P.W. Botha met with the then
ROC president, Chiang Ching-kuo, on October 15th, 1980 and held two rounds of talks
with his counterpart, Premier Sun. They discussed the matters of mutual co-operation.
The two sides reached a consensus that in view of the fact that both countries were
strategically important and that the common enemy of the two countries was
Communist expansion, the ROC and the RSA should make an effort to augment their
national strength and strengthen mutual co-operation to further contribute to the cause
of the free world.
Both of them were of similar opinion that while the ROC could be
viewed as the cornerstone of security in the West Pacific, holding the key to Southeast
Asia and Northeast Asia, the RSA held the strategic position of a gateway to the Indian
and Atlantic oceans.155
After two rounds of thorough discussion on the implementation
of relevant mutual co-
operation agreements which were held during the visit between the two government
leaders and high-ranking
officials, a decision
was adopted
to expand further co-
operation in various aspects and to review the progress of co-operation on ministerial
level from time to time.
implementation
President
of the agreements
Chiang
expressed
his satisfaction
of mutual co-operation
with the
made and entered
into
between the two governments during Premier Sun's visit to South Africa in March
1980.156 It was also agreed that the two countries should provide assistance in
increasing food production in developing countries.157
P.W. Botha and his delegation were impressed by the ROC's social, economic, cultural
and technological developments.
Having served as a Minister of Defence in the past,
P.W. Botha was in awe of the ROC's well-organised and well-trained military forces. He
was particularly amazed by the combat-readiness
of the ROC Air Force. When he and
his delegation paid a visit to C.C.K. Airbase, an emergency take-off drill was performed
as he pressed the alarm. Within three minutes, the ROC Air Force pilots succeeded in
getting their jet fighters zooming to the sky to defend the ROC's air space.
press,
II
He told the
I must say I am impressed by what I saw. The arrival here was exquisite and
from a military point of view, having been minister of defence for 14 years, I was
impressed with the defence force of this country, particularly the efficient and welltrained forces.,,158
In the field of nuclear energy co-operation, although P.W. Botha himself did not have
time to visit the nuclear power stations in Taiwan,159 bilateral talks were held between
members of the ROC cabinet and their SA counterparts to discuss the two countries'
co-operation
in nuclear
energy
development,
in particular
on the
exchange
of
technology and information.16o It was agreed that "the application of atomic energy will
only be for peaceful purposes.,,161 In other words, the nuclear co-operation was mainly
for the purpose of the development of nuclear energy to be used by the nuclear power
stations, not for the development of nuclear weapons.162
P.W. Botha's visit was an important event with profound practical consequences.
and above the cementing of bilateral co-operation,
between the leaders of the two governments
Over
it enhanced mutual understanding
and the people of the two countries
through direct contacts with the people of the ROC and personal observation of the
relevant situation of the island country.
Before P.W. Botha's visit to the ROC in October
1980, the government and people of South Africa did not know much about the ROC
because of the differences in cultural background and geographical distance.
South Africans, the ROC was a remote country half-way round the world.
For most
The cultural
links and cultural origins of the two countries were very different from each other.
Moreover, the liberal English newspapers in South Africa, except The Citizen, were
quite unfriendly towards the ROC.163 Very few journalists and academics understood
the pathos of the history of the island of Taiwan and the aspirations
of its people.
Consequently,
Apart from its
most South Africans were unconcerned with the ROC.
economic success, Taiwan was often considered as a renegade province of China, and
the disputes between the PRC and the ROC were seen as the problems of Chinese civil
war which remained unresolved.164
Due to prominent media coverage, P.W. Botha's visit to the ROC helped to change the
perception of the two countries towards each other. The visit had also highlighted an
awareness of the real situation of what each country could offer to the other.
Prior to
P.W. Botha's visit, for the people of the ROC, Africa, including the RSA, was marginal.
However, through P.W. Botha's visit, a new perception was opened up.
All three TV
networks in Taiwan broadcast live the arrival of the Botha delegation at the Sungshan
military airport, while all radio stations and morning and evening newspapers, both in
Chinese and English, followed the activities of the Botha delegation closely.
All of the
newspapers published editorials, byline articles and titbits to inform the people about
P.W. Botha and South Africa. 165 The RSA was positively perceived as a regional power
endowed with abundant natural resources and opportunities for investments.166
For the people of the RSA, the SABC sent TV news reports via satellite back to South
Africa and broadcast news of the visit for between five and seven minutes in its evening
news program every night.167 Reporters from other news media also reported on the
visit.
Many journalists
were surprised
achievements of the ROC.
to witness
the remarkable
progress
and
Many of them did not expect to see that the ROC was so
progressive in some fields of its developments, which were worth emulation by the RSA.
For instance, at the end of the visit, Andrew Braid, a senior political correspondent
the SAPA and leader of the 19-member press group, had enormous
admiration for the ROC.
advanced.
English
of
respect and
He openly stated that "We didn't know your country is so
In some aspects, it is us who should learn from yoU".168 Ivor Wilkens of the
language
accomplishments.
newspaper
The
Sunday
Times
also
admired
the
ROC's
He admitted that "we didn't understand your country and your people
too well before, but with the visit, things will surely be different.,,169
As a result of the visit, goodwill and trust developed between the leaders of the two
governments.
The exchange of visits thus had a tremendously
ROC-RSA relations.
positive impact on
"South Africa is proud to have the Republic of China as a trusted
friend," proclaimed P.W. Botha.
He further declared that "we have every reason to co-
operate, not only because we have a common enemy, but more positively, because we
have a great deal to learn from each other and a great deal to gain.,,170
In a sense, P.W. Botha's manifestation
partnership between the two countries.
was also a clear reflection of the growing
With the exchange of visits of the two Prime
Ministers, the foundation of a long-term partnership between the ROC and the RSA had
been laid.
This close partnership
lasted for almost one decade until P.W. Botha's
stepping down as party leader after suffering a stroke in February 1989.
From the
ROC's perspective, the years of P.W. Botha's stewardship (1978-1989) were seen as a
period of cordial partnership
in the history of the ROC-RSA
relations.
During this
period, the diplomatic/political
co-operation
links were very close.
Various economic and strategic
projects were under way and new economic frontiers were unfolding for
ROC entrepreneurs in terms of investments and trade with the RSA.171
In the aftermath of P.W. Botha's visit to the ROC, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs of
the ROC, Fu-sung Chu, accompanied
by his wife and three officials, made his first
official visit to the RSA for one week from May 28th to June 4th, 1981. He was the first
ROC Minister of Foreign Affairs who had ever paid an official visit to South Africa in the
ROC's history.
Chu's visit signified that the ROC-RSA
growing closer.172
During his seven-day
delegation met Pik Botha and Brand Fourie.
political/diplomatic
links were
official visit to South Africa, Chu and his
Chu was decorated with the Grand Cross
of the Order of Good Hope to honour his distinguished contribution in the promotion of
ROC-RSA
cordial relations.
State President.
173
He also paid a courtesy call on Marais Viljoen, the then
Before winding up his visit, Chu and his delegation also visited
Valindaba (Pelindaba) in the company of F.W. de Klerk, the then Minister of Mineral and
Energy Affairs, for a briefing on the progress of nuclear co-operation between the two
countries.
174
While Chu was in South Africa, the ROC naval frigates were invited by the
South African Navy to visit South Africa's ports for the first time. This was to celebrate
the 20th anniversary of the RSA's Republic Day.
Although Chu was the only foreign minister who attended the celebration of the 20th
anniversary of the RSA's Republic Day, he was gratified to see how South Africans
treated the ROC nationals as brothers and sisters.
South Africa's military strength, the
abundance of resources and the advancement of technology and science particularly
impressed him.
During his visit, Chu held talks with his counterpart, Pik Botha.
The
main theme of talks held between the two foreign ministers was the co-operation
between the two countries against international communism.175
Chu urged the South
African government to stand together with the ROC to fight international communism.
Speaking at a banquet in his honour, Chu openly pronounced for the first time that as
the two countries were allies, the ROC's strong armed forces should join hands with
South Africa to fight against
international
communism.
On behalf
of the ROC
government, he expressed his hope that South African soldiers would visit the ROC in
the near future.176 This was the first occasion that a ROC cabinet minister publicly
disclosed the ROC's intentions of implementing the ROC-RSA
military co-operation in
defiance of the world's sanctions against South Africa. 177
Prior to his departure
from South Africa for Malawi, Chu made even more daring
remarks at a press conference at Jan Smuts Airport on June 4th, 1981.
He first spoke
warmly of the ties of friendship between the ROC and the RSA, which he believed
would be beneficial to the RSA
He declared that "we want to share our experiences
with our friends (South Africa) and we also want to exchange information ... to work out
programmes
against
such communist
infiltration
and subversion.,,178
He further
indicated that "you have resources in all aspects, both human and material.
Your
country has made tremendous progress in the past years... especially in science and
technology ... and we hope that in the years ahead, the co-operation between the ROC
and the RSA will be even greater.,,179 When asked about the ROC's Africa ties, he
simply made it clear that the ROC government was not concerned about its ties with
other black African states, and he did not believe that the ROC's links with the RSA
would really harm the ROC's ties with other countries in Africa.18D From the above
statement made by Chu, it was evident that the position of the ROC government was to
consider ROC-RSA bilateral relations as equally important as the ROC's diplomatic ties
with other African
countries
and that the ROC government
was determined
to
strengthen its relations with South Africa no matter what the rest of the world thought.
In other words, South Africa was no longer a liability to the ROC government, and it had
no fear that its growing links with South Africa might jeopardise its friendly relations with
black Africa and the Arab countries in the Middle East.181
The decision of the ROC government
to enhance
its relations with the RSA, as
explained earlier on, was partly due to its growing resource shortage, its need to seek
cheap labour and markets and the necessity of the restructuring
of its economy.
In
order to resolve these problems, and to maintain sustainable economic growth, the
ROC government was determined to deepen ROC-RSA
links after weighing the gains
of resources and markets for the sustenance of its economy against the consequence
of being labelled as a collaborator with the apartheid regime by anti-apartheid
In forging cordial political-diplomatic
groups.
relations with South Africa, the ROC government
foresaw many pragmatic advantages in the development of its economy, technology,
nuclear energy and even national security.
economic.
As the ROC's industrialisation
The most important consideration
was
and economic growth developed rapidly, the
shortage of energy and resources became increasingly acute.
How to hold down the
costs of labour, energy and raw materials was one of the key factors for the ROC's
continued economic development.
These were the underlying factors that motivated
the ROC government technocrats and businessmen to expand the country's ties with
South Africa.
182
The ROC-RSA alignment in the 1980s was partly due to the fact that during this period,
the ROC government based its national diplomacy largely on realism, pragmatism and
at times, a cold calculation of diplomatic and strategic interests, in particular seeking
diplomatic recognition to justify its legitimacy as a sovereign state.183
Hence idealism
and human rights had no part in its foreign policy formulation and domestic policies. We
have to bear in mind that from its transfer from mainland China to Taiwan in 1949 until
1988 when the ROC former president, Chiang Ching-kuo, suddenly passed away, the
ROC was close to a benign authoritarian
opposition political parties.
anti-Communist
state, which prohibited
During this period, the Kuomintang under the leadership of
Chinese mainlanders such as Chiang Kai-shek, his son Chiang Ching-kuo and Premier
Sun controlled
political power.
The native Taiwanese
and aboriginal
people were
treated poorly in the political realm. It was only after the death of Chiang Ching-kuo that
the ROC former vice-president,
presidency
reform.
from mainland
Lee Teng-hui,
a native Taiwanese,
Chinese and started to implement
Ideology was another attributing factor.
took over the
far-reaching
political
Influenced by its own strong anti-
Communist ideology, the leadership of the ROC government had an antipathy to militant
trade unions, leftist groups, Communist-controlled
organisations
and even the native
Taiwanese
Presbyterian
Church which advocated Taiwanese
Taiwan Independence Movement.
human rights and the
These organisations were perceived of by the ROC
government as a serious threat to the ROC national security and a political challenge to
its legitimacy.
The ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs was also run by the mainland
Chinese, not the native Taiwanese.184
As a result of a combination
of the above-mentioned
factors, the ROC government
embarked upon the highway of closer association with the white regime to preserve and
enhance
its diplomatic,
economic,
strategic
and
scientific
interests,
instead
dissociating from the South African state and voicing opposition to apartheid.
of
The ROC
foreign policy towards South Africa was based on the premise that the ROC recognised
the long-term dangers resulting from apartheid policies, but as a relatively small country
facing diplomatic adversity, it was in no position to change the firmly controlled domestic
policies of the white government,
countries
were
circumstances,
unable
as even the liberation movements
to overthrow
the
white
regime
by force.
and front-line
185
In these
it was worthwhile for the ROC government to expand its diplomatic,
economic, cultural and scientific interactions with South Africa so long as the ROC kept
a low profile and did not provoke the black African states in the region which maintained
diplomatic
relations with the ROC.
It seemed
to the ROC government
that by
associating with the white state, the economic benefits would be larger than the political
costs. 186
The convergence of the national interests of the two countries had thus prompted the
expansion of both political-diplomatic
and economic co-operation throughout the 1980s.
The cordiality of ROC-RSA political-diplomatic
during the 1980s.
~aintained
dimension,
in the
Throughout
inter-state
P.W. Botha's years, warm and friendly relations were
and inter-government
the two states considered
operate in various aspects.
ties was manifest in several dimensions
levels.187
In the
inter-state
it in their mutual interests to continue to co-
The bond of friendship was strong.
perceived by the other as a partner of substantial
importance.
leadership of the two countries shared a common anti-Communist
Each country was
The tough-minded
ideology and value
system.188 The ROC chose to engage the RSA to serve its own national interests and
ignore the international sanctions. The political goodwill was reflected by the conclusion
of various bilateral agreements.
Up to 1986, sixteen agreements of co-operation had
been signed by the two countries, ranging from trade, investments, aviation, shipping,
fisheries, minerals, agricultural and energy co-operation.
Most of the thirty-nine bilateral
agreements were concluded between 1976 and 1989.189 With these agreements in
place, the ROC-RSA
inter-state relationship grew into an axis of importance.
South
African Airways increased its air service between Johannesburg and Taipei from once a
week in November 1980 to twice a week in November 1987.190 These developments
indicated that the close inter-state relationship was developing in the wake of 1980.191
Regarding inter-government
contacts, a variety of mechanisms of mutual consultation
had been set up during the 1980s. A notable one was the formation of a ROC-RSA binational commission dealing with trade and investment, economic co-operation, science
and technology, and other related matters. The said bi-national commission was set up
in 1977, one year after the establishment of formal diplomatic ties between Taipei and
Pretoria, and was designed to boost bilateral trade and economic co-operation, and to
remove tariff and non-tariff barriers.192 The ROC-RSA bi-national commission meeting
was known as "Annual ROC-RSA
Ministerial Trade & Economic Meeting" .193 The first
meeting was held in Taipei in March 1977, and the next one was held alternatively in
Pretoria in August 1978.194 Shortly before the two Prime Ministers' exchange of visits,
the level of this bi-national commission's annual meeting was elevated from the rank of
senior government officials to cabinet ministers headed by the ministers of economic
affairs or ministers of trade and industry as from November 1979.195 The scope of
discussion was further extended to cover aviation, navigation, shipping, science and
technology.196
Politically, the two governments
years.
country
had strong ties with each other during P.W. Botha's
Various delegations from different governmental departments visited the other
every year to chart the course of bilateral
government backed the other's diplomatic stance.
co-operation
projects.
Each
High-level exchange of visits was
further continued.
On the ROC side, following the visit of the ROC's then Minister of
Foreign Affairs, Fu-sung Chu, the then ROC Minister of Finance, Hsu Li-teh, visited
South Africa in September 1982. Two months later, the then ROC Minister of Economic
Affairs, Chao Yao-tung, and the then Chairman (Minister) of the Vocational Assistance
Commission for Retired Servicemen of the Executive Yuan (Cabinet), General Cheng
Wei-yuan, visited South Africa separately.
In April 1983, the then Chief of the General
Staff of the ROC Defence Force, General Hau Pei-tsun, visited the RSA and SWA to
strengthen military co-operation.
In May 1983, the then Vice Premier Chiu Chuang-
huan and the then Minister of Transport, Lien Chan, paid a visit to the RSA respectively.
In 1984, Premier Sun suffered from a stroke. As a result of his ill-health, Sun resigned
from the government and became one of the Senior Advisors to the President.
Sun's
successor, Yu Kuo-hwa, paid an official visit to the RSA soon after his assumption of
office in July 1984. The then ROC Vice President, Lee Teng-hui, visited South Africa
for the third time in September 1984 to attend the ceremonies marking the inauguration
of the new Tricameral Constitution.
The then Vice Premier of the ROC, Lin Yang-kang.
also came to South Africa one year later.197
On the RSA side, there were also numerous visits made by South African ministers,
officials, military personnel, scientists, academics and other important people to Taipei
in the 1980s. Due to the sensitivity of some of the visits at the time, there are no press
reports or detailed official records.
ranking military generals
Most of the ministers of P.W. Botha's cabinet, high-
and police chiefs, Chairman
of the Uranium
Enrichment
Corporation (UCOR) of South Africa Limited, the President of the Atomic Energy Board
and the President of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) had spent
some time in Taiwan either for a short visit or a relatively longer duration.
Apart from
exchange of visits, there were also other modes of co-operation such as holding of joint
seminars
and exchange
of information,
research and development projects.
science
and technology
and co-operative
19B.
Since some of those who participated in the programme of the exchange of visits and
training courses for the intelligence, security and military personnel are still in active
service in the South African Defence Force and security/intelligence organisations, it is
necessary to withhold their names in order to protect their privacy and confidentiality.
But the modes of co-operation and the nature of the military co-operation will be
analysed in Chapter VI.
Generally speaking, during the 1980s, as the respective interests of the two states were
largely convergent, the two governments had intentions to align with each other, albeit
the fact that P.W. Botha had foreseen that the alliance between two pariahs in the long
run would be "a hazardous enterprise" and the alignment could turn out to be "the
shifting fortunes and instability" because pariahhood would never be permanent.199
However, on the diplomatic front, in spite of the good intentions and efforts made by the
two governments to assist each other and to exchange information in regard to the
diplomatic situation, the ROC-RSA diplomatic co-operation was, in fact, unsuccessful.
The effect of political/diplomatic alignment on the isolated diplomatic situation of the two
countries was, in general, insignificant. This was partly due to the limits of the national
capabilities and influences of the two countries, and partly due to the divergence of
interests of these two states.
The futility of ROC-RSA
diplomatic co-operation could be exemplified from the
following events:
Firstly, the two governments disagreed completely with each other on the issue of
formation of the "Fourth World". During Premier Sun's visit to the RSA in March 1980,
P.W. Botha proposed the formation of the "Fourth World", but Premier Sun politely
declined to join the proposed grouping for fear of offending the Arab countries and the
USA. The ROC and the RSA had divergent national interests: the RSA intended to
embrace Israel and Iran, while the ROC was reluctant to align with Israel and Iran, so as
to ensure its oil supply from Arab countries and arms procurement
Moreover, from the ROC government's
viewpoint, developed
from the USA.
countries such as the
nations of Western Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan were
called the "First World"; the USSR and Eastern Europe (formerly Communist states)
used to be known as the "Second World"; the developing countries in the tropics or the
southern hemisphere were commonly called the "Third World";
in 1971, the Economic
and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN classified those poor countries with per capita
incomes lower than USA$100 as "the least developed countries" which were commonly
called the "Fourth World".2°o
However,
these undeveloped
countries
couldn't
be
compared with the ROC. The success of the ROC's economic development in the four
decades from the 1940s to the 1980s had already won international acclaim as one of
the Newly Industrializing Countries (NICs) in the world community.
per capita national income had already reached USA$2,155.201
of economic
In 1980, the ROC
Therefore, judging from
the standard
of living and the conditions
and social progress
and
development,
the ROC government felt that if the ROC joined the "Fourth World", it
would automatically degrade itself into one of the least developed backward countries
which was contrary to the true situation of the ROC.
Consequently,
the divergent
standpoints and the difference of national interests had made it impossible for the two
countries to form the "Fourth World". The proposed plan of forming a "Fourth World" did
not materialize.202
The second case in point was the two countries' futile attempts of mutual diplomatic
support.
It was agreed that each country was supposed to give necessary diplomatic
support to the other by lobbying its close diplomatic allies to improve their relations with
t~e other country. The ROC was expected to approach Lesotho, Swaziland and Malawi
as well as other developing countries which maintained diplomatic relations with the
ROC such as Saudi Arabia,
South
Korea,
Costa
Rica,
Paraguay,
EI Salvador,
Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia and Nicaragua to mend relations with the RSA.
The RSA undertook to urge Botswana, U.K., France and West Germany to enhance
relations with the ROC.
those target countries,
Although each government did try its very best to approach
attempts were unsuccessful
with the exception
of Malawi,
Swaziland and Paraguay.
These three countries maintained cordial relations with the
RSA mainly through the RSA's own efforts.
The failure of the diplomatic efforts of the
ROC and the RSA could be seen from the case of Lesotho.
By the beginning of the
1980s, the relations between South Africa and Lesotho were deteriorating rapidly. This
was mainly
due to Lesotho's
condemnations
harbouring
of the ANC
of apartheid policies in the world forums.
activists
and its frequent
In addition, Lesotho alleged
that SADF assisted the dissident Lesotho National Liberation Army (LNLA).
In order to
improve relations between South Africa and Lesotho, Premier Sun was approached by
Pik Botha to mediate a settlement.
Therefore, during his visit to the RSA in March
1980, Premier Sun extended his visit to cover Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland.
an official visit to these three countries from 1yth to 20th March, 1980.
He paid
While he was
conversing with the then Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho, Leabua Jonathan,
Premier Sun raised the issue pertaining to the improvement
Lesotho and South Africa.203
of relations
The mediation, however, was fruitless.
powers, the ROC lacked effective leverage to resolve the conflicts.
between
Unlike great
The animosity
between Lesotho and the RSA was too deep to be bridged by a third country.
After
Premier Sun's failed attempt, the then ROC Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fu-sung Chu,
tried to persuade Lesotho to improve its relations with South Africa to no avail.
He
visited Lesotho during the period of June 8th_10th, 1981 after his official visit to the RSA
to attend the 20th anniversary of the RSA from May 28th to June 4th, 1981. He also took
this opportunity to call upon the leaders of Malawi during 4th_8th June, 1981 and his
counterpart and the King of Swaziland during 11th_14th June, 1981.
either.
He didn't succeed
It was clear that as a small country, the influence of the ROC on the leadership
of Lesotho was limited. As a matter of fact, Lesotho severed its diplomatic relation with
the ROC on May 14th, 1983 and recognised the PRC instead.
breaking off diplomatic
While Lesotho was
relations with the ROC, the South African government
was
unable to help the ROC either. The case of Lesotho was evidence of the failure of the
two countries' mutual diplomatic support.
Despite the joint strenuous efforts, the two
countries did not make much progress in restoring their international positions before
February 1990 as a result of enforced isolation.204
Thirdly, in the case of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), the joint diplomatic efforts of the two
ideologically
like-minded
states turned out to be disastrous.
detested the two Communist-supported
particular the Mozambique-based
As both governments
liberation movements of ZANU and ZAPU, in
ZANU wing of the Patriotic Front, the South Afncan
government sought the help of the ROC to provide financial assistance to the newlyinstalled transitional
government
of Bishop Abel Muzorewa
so as to smooth the
transformation from a white minority controlled Rhodesia under Ian Smith to a moderate
black dominated Zimbabwe-Rhodesia
under Muzorewa.205 From the standpoint of
South African leaders, Zimbabwe-Rhodesia
was considered a strategically
country in terms of the RSA's national security perimeter
Namibia was perceived as of similar importance.
Communist transitional
government
important
and geographic proximity.206
In order to prop up the moderate, anti-
in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia,
the Vorster government
~ad provided eighty thousand Rand (R80,000) (approximately one million USA dollars
at that time) in a secret fund to the electoral campaign of Bishop Muzorewa's party, the
United African
National
Council (UANC).207
The Botha government, furthermore,
stepped up its substantial support fo'r Bishop Muzorewa's government.208 Four hundred
motor vehicles were made available for the UANC.209 The South African based AngloAmerican
corporation secretly contributed USA$5 million to Muzorewa's electoral
campaign.210 The South African government also sought the assistance of the ROC
government in the provision of secret electoral funding to the UANC.211
Based on intelligence
assessment
made by the South African government.
it was
predicted by South African official circles that the moderate multi-racial composition of
the Muzorewa regime would surely attain the electoral victory, and that the outside
world would recognise Muzorewa's government and lift sanctions against ZimbabweRhodesia. 212 The white intellectuals
opinion.
In December
in Rhodesia and South Africa were of similar
1977, an opinion poll was conducted
Political Science of Rhodesia to survey the black voters.
by the Department of
The result of the said poll
showed that 65% of those polled black voters would "support" Muzorewa, 15% for
Joshua Nkomo, 10% for Edson Sithole, and 5% for Robert Mugabe.213 In fact, the
majority of black Zimbabwean voters did not reveal their real intention and so the poll
was misleading.
The ROC government was a bit sceptical about Muzorewa's electoral
chances.
Acting upon the RSA's advice, the ROC government provided fifty thousand
214
USA dollars ($50,000) for Muzorewa's electoral campaign in February 1980.
However, the election result turned out to be a great surprise for the South African
government: Mugabe won the election.
80 seats
in the Zimbabwean
"constellation"
blueprint
He had an overwhelming majority of 57 out of
Parliament.
Mugabe's
of the Botha administration.215
victory
had shattered
The misjudgement
the
of the
political development in Zimbabwe affected the confidence of the ROC government in
the reliability of South African intelligence assessment. 216
As a result of the debacle in Zimbabwe, despite the extensive high-level exchanges and
various forms of co-operation
between the ROC and the RSA, there was growing
concern in the ROC official circle that after the fall of Zimbabwe
Marxist Mugabe, South Africa would surely face a combination
higher inflation and serious payment imbalance
worried
by "the deteriorating
international
into the hands of
of reduced growth,
in the 1980s. Both countries were
situation
... and the continuing
pathetic
indulgence in illusion and wishful thinking on the part of the West, and the Communist
and Marxist debilitating and emaciating tactics".217
This perception
was clearly
reflected
in a confidential
report filed
by the ROC
Ambassador H.K. Yang to the ROC government on August 15th, 1980 indicating that:
With
regard
consolidating
to the diplomatic
co-operation
of the two countries
in
their international status, I had written a letter to the RSA
Minister of Foreign Affairs Pik Botha on March 27th, 1980 on this particular
issue expressing the hope of keeping in touch with him to pursue this
matter.
But as I see it, in the wake of Mugabe's electoral victory, South
Africa is battling on several fronts: on the one hand, she needs to cope
with the new Marxist Mugabe regime; on the other hand, she must
concentrate her attention on South West Africa (Namibia) so as to prevent
the repetition of the advent of another debacle; in the meantime, she is
increasingly worried about the international economic sanctions and the
involvement of the UN in the problem of South West Africa.
terms of international
power politics, South Africa is actually powerless
and not in a position
countries.218
The above-mentioned
Therefore, in
to help us forge
closer
relations
evidence mirrored the limits of ROC-RSA
with other
diplomatic alliance.
The two countries' different diplomatic policies were even more evident in regard to the
homelands.
The ROC government refused to recognise the homelands and they were
regarded as inextricably part of South Africa.
Although there were constraints
diplomatic/political
and limits for these two small and medium states'
alignment as described above in terms of the capability to give real
effective diplomatic support to the other country, the inter-state linkages between the
ROC and the RSA grew steadily during the 1980s.
The strategic goals and national
interests of these two countries were basically convergent throughout the years from the
1970s to the 1980s for almost two decades.
For the purpose of continued national
survival and economic development, the two countries strove to stand closely together
to weather internal and external challenges.
The setting up of diplomatic channels,
together with the frequent high-level exchanges and the erection of the frameworks of
bilateral agreements were the pillars of the close relation and co-operation between the
ROC and the RSA during the era of alignment and diplomatic ties.
However, the political situation in South Africa was rapidly changing by the year 1989.
The collapse of Communist systems and the weakening of the South African economy
prompted black and white South Africans to recognise the necessity of a negotiated
political settlement in a no-win stalemate of the long drawn-out struggle?19
1989, P.W. Botha suffered a stroke.
In January
On February 2nd, 1989, F.W. de Klerk became
leader of the ruling National Party, and on September 20th of the same year, De Klerk
was sworn in as Executive
State President of the RSA.
He was determined
to
accelerate the process of political reform initiated by P.W. Botha and to further embark
on fundamental changes in the social, economic and political system.
On the occasion
of opening parliament on February 2nd, 1990, De Klerk proceeded to unban the ANC,
the SACP and other black political organisations,
prisoners.
prison.
and to promise to release political
On February 11th, 1990, he released Nelson Mandela after 27 years in
The apartheid laws were gradually dismantled.
Amenities Act was abolished
in June 1990;
The Separate Reservation of
the Land Act, Group Areas Act, and
Population Registration Act followed a year later. The winds of change were blowing in
South Africa.
The release of Mandela and other political prisoners, the lifting of the
state of emergency, the unbanning of the ANC, the SACP and other black political
movements and De Klerk's announcement
remaining
settlement.
apartheid
of the government's
laws had paved the way for negotiations
intention to repeal all
towards
a peaceful
In December 1991, a forum for negotiation, namely the Convention for a
Democratic South Africa (CODESA), was established to find a mutually acceptable form
of transition and government for the new South Africa.
working for a negotiated
onwards.
settlement
Black and white leaders were
with some form of power-sharing
from 1990
It was through negotiation that a new South Africa was emerging and the old
order came to an end. From 1990, the Afrikaners managed to successfully unshackle
themselves from the bondage of apartheid, and both Afrikaners and Africans agreed to
accept reconciliation, reconstruction and black majority rule in lieu of violent conflict and
political fragmentation.
held in South Africa.
During April 26th_29th, 1994, the first democratic election was
On May 10th, 1994, Mandela was inaugurated as President of the
RSA, and an interim Government of National Unity (GNU) was formed to govern the
new South Africa.
220
The advent of the process of change in South Africa was to have a profound effect on
South Africa's foreign relations, particularly on ROC-RSA ties. The ending of apartheid
had enabled South Africa to rid itself of the stumbling block of the international isolation.
As the legitimacy of the South African government was no longer questioned because
of the domestic policies it pursued, South Africa had gradually discarded pariah status
and normalised its foreign relations. The gradual normalisation of South Africa's foreign
relations and its reintegration with the world could be seen from Mandela's
made in the UN General Assembly in December 1991.
remarks
He pronounced that "the New
South Africa will seek to normalise its relations with the rest of the world, and gain full
integration into the community of nations".221 In February 1992, De Klerk was even
more gratified to announce at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland that "Another
major consequence of the process of change ...has been the ending of our international
isolation.
The normalisation
of our foreign relations has proceeded
normalisation inside South Africa.
as rapidly as
It has been an enormously rewarding experience for
US".222
In contrast with South Africa's return to normality, the ROC's pariahhood and isolation
remains
unchanged.
wholesale
Its isolator,
namely the PRC, is still deliberately
enforced isolation against the ROC.
Under the concerted
imposing
pressure and
enforced ostracism made by the PRC, the diplomatic situation of the ROC became even
more isolated although it was still an economic power-house
1990s.
in the first half of the
In 1994, only 29 countries continued to recognise the ROC.223 Among them,
South Africa was the largest. The number of countries which recognised the PRC was
around 155 in 1994.224 The ROC is ostracised by the PRC, and prevented from
participating in major international organisations such as the UN, IMF, the World Bank
and UNESCO.225
The dawning of a new and democratic South Africa and the events leading up to this
political transformation
had brought forward a phase of transition for South Africa's
China policy. During this transition period (1990-1994), as the PRC was emerging as a
major world power, the De Klerk administration had come to see the need to improve
South Africa's relations, and establish unofficial ties, with the PRC. To this end, Pretoria
resumed its contact with Beijing and proceeded to prepare the ground for opening up
relations with the PRC after 1990.
As a matter of fact, this was not a new policy, and De Klerk simply continued to pursue
what had been started in the past.
Prior to 1990, the NP government
had made
clandestine contacts with the PRC, and both the RSA and the PRC secretly provided
weapons to UN ITA.226As early as the 1970s, attempts were made by the Department of
Information of the RSA to establish some kind of contacts with the PRC.227 At a low ebb
of relations with the Western powers when the South African government was deeply
alienated by the indifference and hostility of the West, the Vorster administration,
in
particular the RSA Department of Information, was contemplating to shift the RSA's
traditional Western alignment to befriend the PRC.228 The motives were manifold. The
main objective was based on the assumption that the Soviet Union was a real threat to
Africa and the common enemy of the RSA and the PRC. Therefore, the RSA and the
PRC should form an anti-Soviet coalition, but the close ROC-RSA
necessarily be jeopardised.
links should not
By doing so, it was intended to send a clear signal to
Western powers that their unjustified hostilities were actually compelling South Africa to
approach the PRC.
Besides, it was also envisaged that the vast size of market in
mainland China would render some potential economic benefits for South Africa.
In
order to pursue the RSA-PRC anti-Soviet coalition, arrangements were made by Eschel
Rhoodie, the then Secretary of Information, to have secret contacts with ambassadors
of the PRC in the Netherlands
and Canada, and Chris Barnard, a renowned heart
surgeon, was chosen by Rhoodie to act as an unofficial envoy to meet with the PRC's
ambassador in the Hague.
The then Minister of Information, C.P. Mulder, even made
public statement that "my enemy's enemy is my friend.,,229 The PRC was willing to
establish some contacts with the RSA and Barnard was prepared to visit Beijing for the
discussion of further details of contacts.
initiative had generated
However, Mulder's statement of the said
negative public response in South Africa. 230 The negative
public reaction led Vorster to veto Mulder's plan of establishing relations with the PRC in
the 1970s.231
Although the RSA's initiative to explore the possibility of establishing relations with the
PRC during Vorster's era did not succeed, the PRC never ceased its trading with South
Africa, throughout the 1980s to the birth of new South Africa in 1994, despite the PRC's
claim that it merely "resumed" trade and economic relations with South Africa in October
1993.232 From 1979 when the USA switched recognition from the ROC to the PRC, the
NP government started to assign its officials to visit mainland China secretly each year
so as to approach Beijing to offset the Soviet Union's threat in the region of southern
Africa.
233
Nevertheless,
it was apparent that the PRC did not consider it politically
correct to have formal links with the RSA at the time, although Beijing had no problem in
doing business and having contacts with Pretoria secretly through Hong Kong or a third
country.
However, after 1989, both the RSA and the PRC moved one step further to
expand bilateral relations - the commencement
of mutual exchange of visits by the
high-ranking officials of the two countries.234
As from 1990, the PRC saw the change of South Africa's political situation and openly
expressed its desire to establish diplomatic links with the RSA.235
1991, the PRC and the RSA made a simultaneous
On December 19th,
announcement
representative offices would be set up in the other country's capital.
that semi-official
In February 1992,
the so-called "Chinese Centre for South African Studies" was established in Pretoria. A
similar office under the name of "South African
operating in March 1992 in Beijing.236
Centre for China Studies" began
These two offices performed consular functions
and enjoyed diplomatic status. They were de facto embassies without flags.
In spite of
its endeavours to open up relations with the PRe, the De Klerk administration, however,
did not rush to cut off diplomatic relations with the ROC. The diplomatic links between
the ROC and the RSA remained unaffected by Pretoria's engagement with the PRC
during 1990-1994.
The complex issue of the "two Chinas" was left to the incoming
government to resolve. The year 1994 marked the end of the RSA's cordial partnership
with the ROC.
The period 1976-1989 witnessed the close partnership which existed between the ROC
and the RSA. The two countries began to prepare the ground for the establishment of
diplomatic relations as from 1970 when the RSA upgraded its consular mission in Taipei
to a consulate-general.
relations.
However, it was 1971 that was the turning point of ROC-RSA
In this year, the ROC not only lost its seat in the UN Security Council, but
also suffered a serious diplomatic and security adversity as the USA's revised its China
policy.
The ROC experienced
a series of diplomatic setbacks during 1971 to 1979.
During this period, the RSA faced similar diplomatic ostracism and security threats, both
from within and without.
In the face of adversity, the two governments decided to forge
closer ties from the mid-1970s.
diplomatic relations.
In 1976, the ROC and the RSA established
full
These relations flourished with the passage of time, as there were
manifold considerations
for the ROC and the RSA to form a close partnership, other
than shared international isolation.
Apart from this factor, national security, economic
needs, nuclear and military co-operation
and diplomatic
alignment
motives for the close partnership between the two countries.
were important
Both the ROC and the
RSA enjoyed the warm cordiality of bilateral exchanges and co-operation
P.W. Botha's years (1978-1989).
throughout
Following the advent of F.W. de Klerk's political
reform, the underlying basis and common ground of the special relationship gradually
disappeared.
From 1990 to 1994, as a result of the change in the RSA's domestic and
international circumstances
and the emergence of divergent interests, the ROC-RSA
bilateral relations entered into a period of transition from alignment to uncertainty.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
32.
33.
34.
35.
36.
37.
38.
39.
See R. Suttner, KDilemmasof South African Foreign Policy: The Question of China" in South Africa
and the Two Chinas Dilemma p.4; and M. Havenga, ~he Dilemma of the Two Chinas: An Economic
Perspective-in S A and the Two Chinas Dilemma, p.32.
Taipei Forum, i¥UEj!jIUm~rp~lI1ffi(The Political Situation of South Africa and ROe-RSA
Relations), pp.5-6.
W.J. Hu, The Strategic Significance of the Republic of China on Taiwan, Ph.D thesis, University
of Pretoria, November 1988, p.310.
H. Feldman, M.Y.M. Kau & I.J. Kim (oos.),Taiwan in a Time of Transition, p.138.
M. Seldon (00.), The people'S Republic of China' A Documentary HistOl)'of Reyolutionary Change,
1979, p.97.
P. Johnson, Modem Times, p.451.
Ibid.,pp.55Q-551
J.K. Fairbank, China' A New History, p.343.
J. Chesneaux, China' The people's Republic 1949-1976,p.10.
S. Long, Taiwan' China's Last Frontier, p.121.
Johnson, Modem Times, p.551.
W.J. Feld, American Foreign Policy: Aspirations and Reality, p.220.
Huan Xiang, ·On Sino-US Relations" in Foreign Affairs, Vol. 60, No.1, Fall 1981, pp.35-36;Also see
M. Oksenberg,''The Strategies of Peking", ForeignAffairs, Vol. 50, No.1, October 1971, p.15.
HA Kissinger,"Outrage Is Not a Policy", Newsweek, November 10,1997, p.35.
Kissinger,The White House Years, p.759.
Ibid., p.764.
Ibid., p.761.
Ibid., p.733.
See the USA-PRC's Shanghai Communique of February 28th, 1972, in US Department of State
Bulletin,Vol. 66, No.1708, pp.435-438.
Kissinger,The White House Years, p.773.
DFA Archives Depot, Union Buildings, Pretoria: Report on ProceedingsAt the Twenty Sixth General
Assembly of the United Nations on QuestionsMooing South Africa 1971, p.9.
See the full text of the Albanian Resolutionof the UN General Assembly
Resolution No. 2758
(XXVI) attached to the above report, p.20.
Ibid., p.9.
Ibid., p.10.
Ibid., pp.12-13.
MOFA, White Paper, p.236.
Ibid., p.233.
H.M. Tien, The Great Transition, p.223,table 9.1.
MOFA, White Paper, p.228.
Tien, The Great Transition, p.221.
MOFA, White Paper, p.233, Table 4-1-1.
Y.S. Wang (ed.), Foreign policy of the Republic of China on Taiwan' An UnorthodoxApproach, p.10.
MOFA, White Paper, p.196.
Ibid., p.28.
The Department of Legal Affairs, MOFA, tlGlJWi!tW..tdlllilfS - '1~
(The ROC's Relations with
Other Countries in the World), Dec. 1997 edition, p.2.
V.H. U, (ed.) The Future of Taiwan, p.2.
See Shanghai Communique, US Department of State Bulletin, Vol. 66, No.1708, March 20th, 1972,
pp.435-438.
W. Blum, The CIA, p.17.
Li, (00.) The Future of Taiwan, pp.2-3.
40.
41.
42.
43.
44.
45.
46.
47.
48.
49.
SO.
51.
52.
53.
54.
55.
56.
57.
58.
59.
60.
61.
62.
63.
64.
65.
66.
67.
68.
69.
70.
71.
72.
73.
74.
75.
76.
77.
78.
Ibid. See also H. Feldman, M.Y.M. Kau & I.J. Kim (eds.), Taiwan In A Time of Transition, p.151.
Ibid. See also The Republic Qf China YearboQk 1996, p.63.
H. Feldman, H.Y.M. Kau & I.J. Kim (eds.) Taiwan in a Time QfTransition, p.148.
Ibid.
Ibid., p.149.
Kuo, EconQmic PQlicies, pp.155-156
Interviews held dUring October 1995 with a number of the ROC investors in the RSA, including
Michael Lin, Alex Tsao, H.Y. Huang and Mike Koo.
Taipei Liaison Office (hereinafter referred to as TLO) Archives, Pretoria: tp~~fI~~f'F~ (ROe-RSA
Nuclear Energy Co-operation), Memorandum on Possible Collaboration between the ROC and the
RSA in the Fields of Conversion and Enrichment of Uranium, March 1980, p.1.
The Republic Qf China YearbQQk 1996, pp.164-165.
Ibid.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: tp~~~~f'F~
(ROC-RSA Nuclear Energy Co-operation), Memorandum
on the ROC-RSA Uranium Collaboration,
March 1980, p.1.
Ibid.
L. Du, m~~m:tpgf~ZJ!i~
(South Africa's General Election and the Prospect of ROe-RSA
RelatiQns), pp.20-23, 31-34.
Ibid.
Hu, The Strategic Significance of the ROC, Ph. D. thesis, University of Pretoria, 1998, p.350.
R.S. Jaster, The Defence QfWhite PoweC SQuth African FQreign PQlicy Under pressure, p.119.
Ibid., pp.145-146.
M. Lipton, SanctiQns and SQuth Africa' The Dynamics Qf EconQmic IsolatiQn, pp.14-16.
Business Day, December 29th, 1997, p.5. However, the gold price later rose up to US$ 800.00 per
ounce in January 1980.
Barber & Barratt, South Africa's FQreign PQlicy, p.10.
M. P. Doxey, InternatiQnal SanctiQns in CQntempQra[y perspective, pp.48-52.
Kuo, EconQmic PQlicies, p.42, Table 6.2.
F. Femandez-Armesto, Millennjum, p.637.
Bih-jaw Lin, "The Republic of China and Africa" in Y.S. Wang (ed.), FQreign PQlicy of the ROC on
Taiwan, p.153.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: The Briefings of the TLO in Cape Town, November 2000, p.1.
Office of the Economic Counsellor of the ROC Embassy, Johannesburg: -11/\ 0 iEmif:~i1IfW7'f-fi'
(SQuth Africa's EconQmy and FQreign Trade in 1980) Johannesburg, July 16th-31st, 1982, p.1.
Ibid. Also see G. St. John Barclay, "Strategy of Despair. South Africa and the Alignment of the
Alienated, 1974-82", in JQurnal fQr CQntempora[y HjstQ[y, Vol. 7, No.2, Dec. 1982, p.3.
Ibid.
Ibid. pp.1-2.
Hsiang, 9f..3'VJ~tI (A Diplomat's Memoir), pp.69-70.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Quoted by J. Pickles & J. Woods, "Taiwanese investment in South Africa", in African Affairs, Vol. 88,
No. 353, October 1989, p.511.
The RSA House of Assembly Debates (Hansard), April 26th, 1976, Vol. 62. col. 5410-11.
"Quiet Diplomat: Yang Hsi-Kung", in Financial Mail, July 28th, 1989, p.61.
L. Du, m1f::tG!'1tE'£lJIfW;ZJ!i3!
(SA General Election and the Prospect of ROe-RSA Relations),
p.14.
Ibid. Also see W. Breytenbach, "The Chinese Dilemma: Dual Recognition Is the Ultimate Solution",
in The SQuth African JQurnal of IntematiQnal Affairs, Vo1.2, No.1, 1994, p.55.
Office ofthe Economic Counsellor ofthe ROC Embassy, ibid., pp.1-2.
D. Geldenhuys, "The Head of Government and South Africa's Foreign Relations", in R. Schrire (ed.),
Leadership in the Apartheid State, p.281.
79.
80.
81.
82.
83.
84.
85.
86.
87.
88.
89.
90.
91.
92.
93.
94.
95.
96.
97.
98.
99.
100.
101.
102.
103.
104.
105.
106.
107.
108.
109.
110.
111.
112.
113.
114.
115
116.
On December 15th, 1978, the Carter administration announced its decision to establish diplomatic
relations with the PRC from January 1st, 1979. This entailed the ROC's increasing diplomatic
isolation. See Tien, The Great Transition, pp.222-224, 228, 234.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: The ROC Embassy'S confidential telex No. 340 to the MOFA, September
11th, 1978.
.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: The ROC Embassy's confidential telex No. 345 to the MOFA, September
16th,1978.
Muller (ed.), Five Hundred Years, p.549.
Hu, The Strategic Significance of the ROC, pp.349-350.
A. Van Nieuwkerk & K. Van Wyk, ''The Operational Code of P.W. Botha: Apartheid, Realism and
Misperception" in International Affairs Bulletin, Vol. 13. No.3, 1989, pp.74-75.
Ibid., p.76.
K.W. Grundy, The Militarisation of South African Politics, p.6.
See H.L. Hsu's comment quoted by Overseas Chinese Gazette, Johannesburg, January 13th, 1998,
p.10.
Barber & Barratt, South Africa's Foreign Policy, p.248.
Chiang Ching-kuo's China policy was based on his "Three No" policy (no compromise, no contact
and no negotiation). See Hung Chien-chao, A Hjsto[y of Taiwan, p.325. Also see Lee Teng-hui, Ib.e
Road to Democracy, p.51 for the fact that Chiang had no intention of letting Lee succeed him.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: i¥.i1lli::2\mlflW¥~ (The Visit of Brand Fourie, the Secretary for Foreign
Affairs ofthe RSA, to the ROC) (hereinafter referred as Fourie's visit), The ROC Embassy'S telex No.
492, September 27th, 1979.
Barber & Barratt, South Africa's Foreign policy, p.218.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: fll~JH~:3Ilf~~~ (premier Y.S. Sun's Visit to the RSA) , The ROC
Embassy's Confidential Telex No. 692, February 25th, 1980, p.1.
Ibid.
Ibid.
I. Butterfield, "Over there: Conversation with Pik Botha", in EoJk¥- Review, No. 23, p.75.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: M1EMUwn (Fourie's VISit): The ROC Embassy'S telex No. 492 and
Ambassador H.K. Yang's letter to Minister RF. (Pik) Botha, Oct. 8th, 1979.
Ibid.
Ibid. File: Premier Sun's Visit to the RSA, Premier Sun's telex to President Chiang, No.266, March
12th, 1980, pp.2-6.
Ibid. File: Fourie's Visit, telex 492, October 8th, 1979.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
see the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Swaziland, Djrecto[y of the Diplomatic Corps and
International OQ;janisations, January 1988, pp.59-60.
Ibid.
Ibid., Minister RF. (Pik) Botha's letter of Oct. 1st, 1979 addressed to Ambassador HK Yang, p.1.
Ibid.
Ibid., telex No. 407 of OCt. 19th, 1979 sent by MOFA to the ROC Embassy in Pretoria.
Ibid.
Ibid., MOFA's official despatch No. 20602 of Oct. 23rd, 1979.
Ibid.
Ibid., B. Fourie's letter to Ambassador H.K. Yang, dated Nov. 8th, 1979.
Ibid., Foune's letter to the ROC Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fredrick F. Chien, dated Nov.
8th, 1979.
Ibid., MOFA's telex No. 407.
Ibid., The ROC Embassy'S Telex No. 478, September 21st, 1979, p.3.
Ibid.
RE. H8OOIVY,"The Pariah State Syndrome", in Qrbis, Vol. 21, No.3, Fall 1977, pp.645-646.
117.
118.
119.
120.
121.
122.
123.
124.
125.
126.
127.
128.
129.
130.
131.
132.
133.
134.
135.
136.
137.
138.
139.
140.
141.
142.
143.
144.
145.
146.
147.
148.
149.
150.
151.
152.
153.
154.
155.
156.
157.
158.
159.
160.
161.
162.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: ~~5€~
(premier Sun's Visit to the RSA), nm;tF*~~pJTmfTi&
~~~ttirt:Um;t~~~{!f (The ROC Embassy's Comprehensive Report on Premier Sun's Visit to
the RSA), pp.1-10.
Ibid., p.10.
Ibid.,
Ibid., Premier Yun-suan Sun's telex to President Chiang Ching-kuo of the ROC, dated March 12th,
1980, pp.2-3
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid., pp.4-5.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid., Speech made by Prime Minister P.W. Botha during a banquet hosted by Premier V.S. Sun at
the Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town, on March 12th, 1980, p.1.
Ibid.
Ibid., speech made by Premier V.S. Sun at the dinner in honour of Prime Minister P.W. Botha at the
Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town, on March 12th, 1980, p.2.
Ibid., P.W. Botha's speech at the Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town, on March 12th, 1980, p.2.
Ibid., Speech made by Prime Minister P.W. Botha dUringa banquet held in honour of Premier V.S.
Sun on March 11th, 1980 at Cape Town, pp.2-3.
Ibid.
Ibid.,The ROC Embassy's telex No. 839 to the MOFA, February 26th, 1982, pp.2-3.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
The Star, August 18th, 1980.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: 1li'l~tti~~
(prime Minister P.W. Botha's visit to the ROC), Vol. 1, The
list of the persons accompanying Prime Minister P.W. Botha and Mrs Botha on their visit to the ROC,
pp.1-3.
Ibid.
C.H. Chang, KROC-RSATies: A New Era Ushers In- in Asian Outlook, Vol. 15, October 1980, p.31.
Ibid., p.35
Ibid.
Ibid., p.34.
Ibid., p.32.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: P.W. Botha's Visit to the ROC, telex691, September 15th, 1980, p.2.
Ibid., Programme for the Visit of Prime Minster of the RSA and Mrs P.W. Botha to the ROC, October
13th-18th, 1980, p.2.
Ibid.,Vol. 1., MOFA'stelexNo. 527, February 28th 1980, p.2.
Ibid.
163.
164.
165.
166.
167.
168.
169.
170.
171.
172.
173.
174.
175.
176
177
178.
179.
180.
181.
182.
183.
184.
185.
186.
187.
188.
189.
190.
191.
192.
193.
194.
195.
196.
197.
198.
199.
Ibid., Vo1.2., The ROC Embassy's telex No. 017 to MOFA of October 15th, 1980 reflected that the
liberal English newspapers such as The Star, The Rand Daily Mail and Sunday Tribune often
criticised the ROC Government, in particular the lack of freedom of expression in the ROC at the
time.
Ibid. see also The Daily News, November28th, 1996 and The Citizen, February 18th, 1997, p.12.
C.H. Chang, -ROe-RSA Ties·, p.33.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid., p.35.
Ibid. pp.32-35.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: *lfl)~UVi3€~(The Visit of Minister Fu-sung Chu to the RSA), Vol. 1, *
$~~,t}ViFc'i¥1~F**ft~~
(The ROC Embassy'S Comprehensive Report on the Visit of Minister Fusung Chu and Mrs Chu to the RSA attached to the ROC Embassy'S dispatch No. 429 to MOFA
dated June 10th, 1981), pp.1-4.
Ibid.
Ibid., p.3.
The Citizen, June 5th, 1981.
BeeId, June 4th, 1981.
Ibid.
The Citizen, June 5th,1981.
Ibid.
Transyaler, June 5th, 1981.
Ibid£
TLO Archives, Pretoria: 1Bl~Vi~~
(Prime Minister P.W. Botha's visit to the ROC), Vol. 2, tf:1m
m~.tf:111!~ 189
(The Minutes of the Meeting of Central Standing Committee of the
Kuomintang, October 22nd, 1980), pp.2-3.
See Y.S. Wang, -Foundation of the Republic of China's Foreign Policy- in Foreign policy of the
Republic of China on Taiwan, p.10. See also L.M.S. Slawecki, ~he Two Chinas in Africa· in Foreign
Affairs, Vol. 41, January 1963, pp.398-409.
From 1948 to May 20th, 2000, when the DPP rose to power, all of the ROC's Ministers of Foreign
Affairs were mainlander, with the exception of Lien Chan (half mainlander). See MOFA, Annua.l
Statistics, 1998, pp.22-23, and Annual Statistics, 1999, p.21.
The ROC Embassy, Pretoria: i¥11E~
(Briefing on the Current Situation of the RSA) , 1982,
p.12.
Ibid.
Geldenhuys, ~he Head of Government and South Africa's Foreign Relations·, p.281.
Ibid., p.278.
See MOFA tp~M-51
(Index to the Agreements and Treaties concluded by the ROC with
various countries), May 31st, 1993, pp.45-47.
Hu, The Strategic Significance of the ROC, p.349.
Ibid.
TLO Archives, Johannesburg: Office of the Economic Counsellor of the ROC Embassy
Johannesburg, [email protected]!-m (Briefing on the Economy of the RSA), 21st issue, July 16th-31st, 1983,
p.19.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
See TLO Archives, Pretoria: Files of Exchange of VISitSbetween the ROC and the RSA, Vol. 1, 2.
See the ROC Ministry of Economic Affairs, the List of the Implementation of the ROe-RSA Annual
Ministerial Trade and Economic Meetings, November 13th, 1996, Despatch No.85302032, pp.2-15.
Quoted by D. Geldenhuys, ~he Head of Government and South Africa's Foreign Relations· p.281.
::x~*~
200.
201.
202.
203.
See the feature artide entitled "m[[91!tW" ("The Fourth Wor1dj published by the KMT's party organ,
ep9<::Bm (Central Daily News), Taipei, on March 4th, 1984.
Ibid.
Ibid.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: ~~~~
(premier Sun's Visit to the RSA), fTi&~f*~~wr~i¥i7lF
(The ROC Embassy's Comprehensive Report on Premier Sun's Visit to the RSA), Dispatch
No. 0260, April 8th, 1980, pp.2-3.
Ibid., ~~~W:i~~
(Minister F.C. Chu's Visit to the RSA), The ROC Embassy's Comprehensive
Report on Minister F.C. Chu's Visit to the RSA), p.4.
Ibid., The ROC Embassy's Telex No. 692, February 25th, 1980, pp.1-2.
Jaster, The Defence of White power, p.84.
Ibid., p.85.
Ibid.
Ibid., p.87.
Ibid.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: 1iti¥i7lF*{tfg.m~"*: .~gg§.?7l(The ROC Embassy's Report on
Rhodesia), March 20th, 1978, p.29.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Jaster, The Defence ofWhjte pQwer, p.88.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: Report on Rhodesia, p.29.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: Ambassador HK Yang's Confidential Telex No. 909 to MOFA, August 15th,
1980, pp.1-4.
Ibid.
Barber, ·Conceptualising For A Democratically Based South African Foreign Policy" in A.J. Venter
(ed.), FQreign PQlicy Issues In A Democratic South Africa, p.6.
SQuth Africa YearboQk, 1995, p.41.
Barber, ·South African Foreign Policy", p.6.
Ibid.
The Department of Legal Affairs, MOFA, fXIIW1!tW-1!dllHlfWS-ft (The ROC's Relations With
Other CQuntries in the Wodd), Taipei, December 1997 edition, p.2.
Ibid.
MOFA, epJ€1:&IJ/\±-t:;1F7f.M& (The ROC's Diplomatic Yearbook, 1998), pp.639-641.
The Department of African Affairs, MOFA, i¥J11:#101I1I1IffMt (An Introduction to the Situation of
the RSA), Taipei, August 1994, p.11. See also TLO Archives, Durban: The ROC ConsulateGeneral's telex No.DN083, 1994, Endosure p.2. The leader of UNITA, Jonas Savimbi, was trained
by the PRC, and he graduated from Nanking Military Academy in Mainland China in the 1960s.
Geldenhuys, The DiplQmacy Qf IsolatiQn, p.115.
Ibid., pp.115-116.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
The Department of African Affairs, MOFA, m1HHDIIII1itmft (An Introduction to the Situation of
the RSA), p.11.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.; Also see Geldenhuys, "The Politics of South Africa's 'China Switch"; SQuth Africa YearbQQk,
~,pp.145-146.
The South African Centre for Chinese Studies in Beijing was officially opened
by the then RSA Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr Renier Schoeman, in September 1993.
t*ft~"*
204.
205.
206.
207.
208.
209.
210.
211.
212.
213.
214.
215.
216.
217.
218.
219.
220.
221.
222.
223.
224.
225.
226.
227.
228.
229.
230.
231.
232.
233.
234.
235
236.
The economic and financial relations between the ROC and the RSA were one of the
most important aspects of the bilateral relations of the two countries.
The ROC-RSA
economic and financial interaction encompassed trade, investment, tourism, air and sea
links, fishing, development aid, loans, technical co-operations and technology transfers.
Similar to the development of ROC-RSA diplomatic relations, the ROC's economic and
financial links with South Africa can be broadly divided into three distinct phases: the
period of minimal economic contact (1948-1970), the expansion of ROC-RSA economic
and financial
linkage
relations (1996-1998).
(1971-1996),
and the stagnation
of economic
and financial
Before 1971, the ROC's economic relations with South Africa
were of low priority compared to its relations with the USA, Japan and the newlyindependent African states. As analysed in Chapter II, during the 1950s and 1960s, the
ROC's Africa policy goal was mainly to solicit support from the African states in order to
retain its seat in the UN Security Council.
In order to garner enough votes to prevent
the PRC from entering the UN, the ROC made strenuous efforts to strengthen
relations with the newly-independent
African states.1
its
In this period, most of the ROC's
agricultural and economic co-operation programmes were directed at African countries.
The ROC's economic
interrelationship
linkage with South Africa was very limited and the financial
between the two countries was almost non-existent.
It was only after
1971 that the ROC was willing to expand its economic and financial relations with South
Africa.2
ties.
The period from 1971 to 1996 thus saw the expansion of ROC-RSA economic
The forging of close bilateral economic and financial links between the ROC and the
RSA was partially attributable
to the existence of the cordial diplomatic
during the period 1976-1997, and partially due to the complementary
economies.
ROC-RSA
relationship
nature of the two
bilateral economic and financial ties expanded
at the time
through the two governments' promotion of, and joint efforts in, creating an environment
conducive to sound and orderly economic development.
the ROC and the RSA signed 39 inter-governmental
including
air services,
technical co-operation
trade, tariffs, shipping,
It was during this period that
bilateral agreements or treaties
agriculture,
and the promotion of investment.
science,
technology
and
With these agreements
3
in
place, the foundation and framework of the economic links between the two countries
had been laid down. The ROC maintained its partnership with the RSA until 1998 when
the ANC-Ied South Africa government completely abandoned this framework following
South Africa's recognition
of Beijing. The ROC strengthened
South Africa, and offered various economic
retaining diplomatic ties with the RSA.
development
aid,
loans
and
incentives
its economic links with
to Pretoria with the aim of
To achieve this goal, the ROC's investments,
financing
of
South
Africa's
Reconstruction
and
Development Programme (RDP) were mostly based on diplomatic needs and effected
to serve its political and strategic objectives.4
operative framework,
the two governments
In addition to the existence of a coalso held regular bi-national
ministerial
meetings to promote bilateral trade and economic interchanges.
In a purely economic context, the ROC's and the RSA's national interests coincided
during the 1980s, and the mutual attraction of the two economies to each other were
important factors for the gradual deepening
of ROC-RSA
economic
and financial
relations from the 1970s to 1998. As the two economies were basically complementary,
the distinct characteristics
common economic
trading
partners
of the two economies
had led each country to pursue
and strategic interests, in particular when South Africa's
imposed
international
isolation, the South African government
sanctions.
Under the threat
major
of economic
naturally looked to the ROC to assist it in
countering the economic sanctions imposed by Western countries.
The ROC regarded the RSA as an ideal partner in Africa to further its own economic
~nd strategic
geographic
economy.
interests
location
because
and the complementary
The United States' Department
economy as an industrialising
developing
of the RSA's natural
economies
and mineral
characteristics
its
of the South African
of State summed up the South African
country with most of the characteristic
- a division
resources,
between formal and informal
associated with
sectors,
uneven
distribution of wealth and income, a dependence on commodity exports, and a legacy of
government intervention.5
In contrast to the ROC's lack of natural resources, South Africa has a rich resource
base.
The RSA economy has traditionally
relied on mining and agriculture to earn
foreign exchange, while the gold and diamond mining industries are key sectors of the
economy.
The RSA's mineral wealth, in particular its gold resources, has been the
cornerstone of its economic development, as it has the largest known deposits of lowgrade gold in the world.
The gold and diamond mining industries
amounts of foreign exchange and made a major contribution
South Africa.
generated large
to capital formation in
About 21.2% of the world's gold was supplied by South Africa in 1996.6
Apart from being one of the largest producers of gold, gem diamonds and platinum,
South Africa is a major producer of manganese, chrome, antimony, lithium, asbestos,
vanadium,
uranium
and nickel.
These vast natural resources,
together
with the
extensive physical infrastructure, healthy banking system, first world financial markets, a
well-organised
modern private sector and sound regulatory framework are the positive
factors of the South African economy.
However, mining at depth with low-grade ore requires a substantial
foreign capital and advanced techniques.
Consequently,
inflow of large
large firms dominated
RSA's private sector, and small and medium enterprises were discouraged.
an the exports of commodities,
conglomerates
over
the
Reliance
volatile foreign capital flows, and the domination
South
African
economy,
together
with
the
of
widespread
unemployment, extreme inequality, a shortage of skills, a deep-rooted racial divide, high
levels of crime, low productivity of labour and the inflexibility of the labour market are the
negative factors of the South African economy.7
Agriculture and mining traditionally have been South Africa's principal earners of foreign
exchange.
South Africa's agricultural environment and land space are well suited to
large-scale farming.
In the ROC, the agricultural producers are mainly small farmers
engaging in intensive farming of rice, betel nuts, sugar cane, mushrooms, corn, tea,
bamboo shoots, watermelons,
and sweet potatoes.
pineapples, mangoes, bananas, peanuts, pears, grapes
The ROC produces sufficient rice and rice wine.
But the ROC's
rising standard of living and changing diet have boosted the demand for the import of
South African products, such as wine and spirits, citrus, apples, fruit juices, and wool.
There is also a demand for maize to be utilised as cattle feed.
In short, South Africa's
major agricultural export products to the ROC are maize, fruit, wine and wool.
pulp and chips also provide substantial export earnings for South Africa.
Wood
8
Fishing off the 3,000 kilometre South African coastline is important for the ROC fishing
industry. As the ROC is an island country, the Taiwanese people are generally fond of
fish. Although the ROC is famous for its high-tech aquaculture which produces a wide
range of fish, prawns and eels, deep-sea commercial fishing has become more and
more important to the ROC's fishing industry.
The growing proportion of deep-sea
fishing to the ROC's total fishing production is largely due to declining fish stocks in the
Taiwan Straits.
Overfishing and pollution from industrial and household waste have
depleted the ROC's coastal and offshore fish stocks.
It is estimated that the ROC's
coastal and offshore fishing yields fell more than 10 percent each year since the
beginning of the 1990s.
Under such circumstances,
fish imports are rising, and the
ROC's fishing fleet, which numbers in the thousands, engage in deep-sea fishing that
brings home about 50 percent of the catch of its annual fish production.9
In the aspect of the manufacturing
countries
in developing
industry, the ROC is one of the most experienced
a strong and competitive
manufacturing
economy.
manufacturing industry is the central nucleus of the ROC's national economy.
The
In 1994,
the
manufacturing
contributions
of
industry
agriculture,
contributed
mining
and
37.28%
of the
trade
were
ROC's
3.57%,
GDP,
0.4%
while
and
the
16.9%
respectively.1o Compared to the ROC, manufacturing was relatively unimportant to the
RSA's national economy. The South African manufacturing industry's share of GDP was
only about 23.4%.11
The manufacturing industries of the two countries were thus complementary.
Although
the RSA has an advanced manufacturing sector, the cost of the production of clothing,
footwear, electronics, furniture and other consumer goods was much higher, and not as
competitive as the ROC's products.
The South African manufacturing industries mostly
targeted the domestic high-end market, or at most were regionally orientated, and well
protected.
The trade unions have further constrained the ability of the South African
manufacturing
industries
to compete internationally
market share of the South African manufacturing
with the ROC.
Therefore,
the
sector mainly focused on the white
market or upmarket social groups who had more sophisticated and expensive tastes.
By contrast, the ROC's low value-added consumer products industry found its niche in
the world economy with its competitive lower prices.
unions, higher productivity
and a disciplined
Due to its lack of strong trade
workforce,
the ROC's manufacturing
industries were able in the three decades, from the 1950s until the 1980s, to produce
much cheaper, low cost products to compete at the bottom end of the world market.
The ROC's Export Processing Zones (EPZs) were designed to promote the export of
manufactured
goods to the outside world, rather than to the ROC's domestic market.
Unlike the South African manufacturing
the outward-orientated,
sector, the backbone of the ROC economy is
small to medium enterprises focusing on international trade with
both advanced and developing countries.
These export-related
cheap products were
well suited to the RSA's lower income group, which was dominated
by the black
community, even though the latter's purchasing power was comparatively lower than the
white community.12
As to trade relationships,
foreign trade is an important factor, not only in the ROC's
economic development, but also in its external relations. This is due to the fact that the
ROC is one of the world's leading trading nations.
imports
and
internationally
exports,
the
ROC
ranked
between
the 1970s and 1996.
In terms of the aggregate value of
among
the
15 largest
trading
Foreign trade, in particular
powers
export,
contributed greatly to rapid economic growth and the realisation of full employment.
sustain its export-orientated
To
industrial economy, the ROC had to continually find new
markets to which it could export its manufactured products.
a wide range of products, including textiles, electronics,
ROC-made goods covered
metal products, machinery,
clothing, footwear, furniture, chemicals, auto parts, computers, giftware, sporting goods,
plastic and rubber equipment
and processed agricultural
products were the output of the ROC's labour-intensive
above-mentioned,
products.
Most of these
industries.
Exports of the
low-cost, low-value added consumer goods, not only helped the ROC
achieve high-level economic growth, but also ensured that consumers
in the world
enjoyed reasonable quality products at very competitive prices.13
From 1949 to 1997, the ROC economy went through three phases of development.
During the 1950s, its development
substituting industries.
was focused on agricultural
growth and import-
The ROC started to introduce some export promotion measures
such as the custom duty rebate on exports in the late 1950s. But the ROC's real export
expansion drive was initiated only a decade later.
that the ROC government
aimed
at the export
implemented.
encouraged
market.
It was during the 1960s and 1970s
the expansion
A series
of labour-intensive
of economic
reforms
and
industries
steps
were
The most noticeable ones were the establishment of several EPZs, the
introduction of a five-year income-tax holiday for selected industries and the setting up
of various industrial parks. As a result of the ROC government's vigorous promotion of
trade and industries,
the prime focus of the economy shifted from agriculture
domestic import-substitution
development to export orientation.
and
Taking advantage of its
efficient, low-cost labour, the ROC was able to penetrate world-markets.
14
Despite the ROC's diplomatic setbacks, the period of the 1970s and 1980s witnessed
the rapid growth of the ROC's foreign trade and the establishment of basic and heavy
industries.
Ten major development projects and twelve new development projects were
executed in 1973 and 1978 respectively, to upgrade the ROC's infrastructure, highways,
harbours and airports.
of labour-intensive
industries.
formulated
During the 1980s, the ROC re-orientated its economy from that
industries
A programme
to a new phase of high technology,
for the development
of science
capital-intensive
and technology
was
in 1980. The Institute for Information Industry and the Hsinchu Science-
Based Industrial park were set up. The ROC economy continued to expand during the
1980s and 1990s.15
However,
the ROC's
economic
success
also generated
its own problems,
and
conditions began to deteriorate as from the late 1970s and during the 1980s.
The
~ombination of the scarcity of land, labour shortages, increased labour costs, the rise of
militant, independent trade unions, environmental degradation, appreciation of the New
Taiwan Dollar (NT$), trade protection of developed countries and increasing foreign
competition, led the ROC entrepreneurs to seek new low-cost production sites, such as
mainland China, South East Asia and the RSA, during the 1980s. While the majority of
the ROC manufacturing
enterprises
relocated their factories
and equipment
to the
nearby Chinese mainland, South East Asia and East Asian regions, some investment
went to the RSA, mainly to the former homelands of South Africa.16
Nevertheless,
the ROC's traditional
major markets were the industrialised
Western
countries, Middle Eastern and Asian states or economic entities such as Japan, Hong
Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and South Korea.
During the period 1975-1985, 41 % of
the ROC's total two-way foreign trade dealt with North America, 31.7% with Asia, 10.7%
with Europe, 7.7% with the Middle East, 3.5% with Oceania, 2.4% with Latin America
and 2.1 % with Africa.17 The ROC's top eleven major exports markets during this period
were: USA, Hong Kong, Japan, West Germany, Canada, Australia, Singapore, UK, the
Netherlands, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.
18
In order to lessen dependence on the USA, and a few other major trading partners, the
ROC government made an effort to diversify its export markets as from the 1980s. The
ongoing market diversification was one of the factors that prompted the ROC to develop
closer trade and economic ties with the RSA.
The problem of quotas was another
contributing factor that motivated the ROC's entrepreneurs to relocate their enterprises
to South Africa.
The ROC's main trading
partners, the USA and the European
Community, imposed quantitative restrictions on the annual quotas of ROC exports to
those markets, and the quotas were hard to obtain as from the second half of the
1980s.
Consequently,
the ROC's exporters saw South Africa not only as a potential
new market, but also as an opportunity to get quotas to export their products to the USA
and Europe and the rest of the African continent as well.
As already indicated,
before 1971, the ROC government
support of the newly-independent
at arm's
length
and trade
was anxious to gain the
African states. Therefore, the ROC had kept the RSA
relations
between
the two countries
were
negligible.
However, from 1949 to 1971, the African continent as a whole, had been unimportant to
the ROC's exports.
And the opposite was also true: geographically and historically. the
ROC was never an important traditional trading partner for South Africa. Apart from this
geographic and cultural remoteness, there was not much inter-trade or any significant
economic linkage between the two counties prior to the 1960s. The small portion of
trade that existed between the ROC and RSA was largely irrelevant to each country's
international business.
From 1949 to 1951, the volume of the ROC's bilateral trade with
the African continent was so small that The Statistical Yearbook of the Republic of
China did not even list its trade figure with Africa.
The ROC's official record of trade
between the ROC and Africa started from 1952 when the ROC's exports to the whole of
Africa
amounted
USA$946,000.
to USA$6.43
million,
and the ROC's
imports from Africa
were
The total value of the two-way trade between the ROC and Africa was
USA$ 7.38 million in 1952.19
In the composition
of the ROC's external trade, the
bilateral trade between Africa and the ROC was of no importance prior to the 1970s.
The bilateral trade between the ROC and South Africa in the 1950s was also rather
insignificant.
For example, in 1952 the combined value of exports from the ROC to
South Africa and southern Rhodesia was a mere 0.01 % of the ROC's total exports. The
combined imports from South Africa and southern Rhodesia made up only 0.07% of the
ROC's overall imports.
In dollar terms, the value of the ROC's exports to South Africa
and southern Rhodesia in 1952 was NT$82,000 which was equivalent to USA$5,659.07
at the exchange rate of NT$14.49 to USA$1.00, and the value of the combined imports
from South Africa and southern Rhodesia was NT$1178,OOO which was equivalent to
only USA$81 ,297.44.20
In the decade between 1960 and 1970, the two-way trade between the ROC and the
RSA remained largely unchanged.
The ratios of the ROC's exports to the RSA and the
ROC's imports from the RSA fluctuated from 0.02% to 0.25% of the ROC's respective
imports and exports.21
From the above analysis, it is clear that from 1949 to 1970, the trade/economic relations
between the ROC and the RSA were very limited.
During these twenty-one years, the
ROC merely maintained low-level consular links with the RSA.
following the gradual cementing
of bilateral diplomatic
However, after 1971,
relations,
the bilateral trade
relations between the two countries were on the rise. The value of the ROC's imports
from the RSA in 1971 was almost double the amount of 1970.
ROC's imports from the RSA increased
The amount of the
from NT$118,369,000
(the equivalent
of
USA$3, 123, 192.60) in 1970 to NT$253,842,OOO (the equivalent of USA$6,697,678.1 0)
in 1971. Imports from South Africa, in the ROC's total imports from overseas, expanded
from 0.19% in 1970 to 0.34% in 1971.
The amount of the ROC's exports to South
Africa grew steadily after 1971, although exports did not increase as dramatically as the
ROC's imports from South Africa in the same period.
In 1961, ROC's exports to South
Africa were valued at NT$1 ,231 ,000 (equivalent to USA$30,751.93),
and increased to
NT$294,991 ,000 (equivalent to USA$7,773,148.80)
by 1971.
In percentage terms, the
ROC's total exports increased from 0.02% in 1961 to 0.37% in 1971.22
The year 1971 marked the ousting of the ROC from the UN. As a result of its departure,
the ROC government was free to strengthen relations with the RSA without fear of
losing the support of the African states in the UN. Taipei viewed the RSA as a strategic
partner and as a provider of natural resources,
mineral
supplies
and agricultural
products for the ROC, as well as a market and gateway for the ROC manufactured
products in southern Africa.
In order to keep up its economic
development,
the
availability of minerals and other raw materials, such as maize and wood pulp, was very
important to the ROC's industrialised
economy.
While the ROC became more and
more isolated following diplomatic setbacks from the 1970s, there was a deep concern
among the ROC leadership over the security of mineral supplies and a pervasive fear of
the disruption of resource supplies.23
The South African government also saw advantages in economic co-operation with the
ROC.
Faced with growing ostracism from the Western economies and the gathering
momentum of international sanctions and boycotts, the South African government was
anxious to enhance economic
and trade relations with the ROC.
To facilitate the
interaction of bilateral trade and economic co-operation, the rudimentary mechanisms of
promoting bilateral trade were established
during the period 1972-1975.
noticeable ones were the 1972 Maize Trade (procurement)
Agreement
The most
between the
Board of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Economic Affairs of the ROC and the Maize Board
of the RSA; the 1975 Trade Agreement between the government of the ROC and the
government of the RSA; and the establishment of the Office of the Commercial Attache
of the ROC in Johannesburg
in 1974. The 1975 Trade Agreement between the ROC
and the RSA granted each other most-favoured nation status. As a result of the setting
up of the mechanisms of commercial linkage, the ROC-RSA
rapidly as from 1973 onwards.
bilateral trade increased
The total two-way trade between the two countries
increased from R30.506 million in 1973 to R38.834 million in 1974, R69.606 million in
1975 and further to R77.862 million in 1976. Within three years, the volume of two-way
trade had more than doubled24 (See Table 5).
The
1976 establishment
of full diplomatic
relations
between
Taipei
and Pretoria
provided further momentum to the development of economic ties. While many countries
distanced themselves from the RSA, the ROC sought closer ties in spite of the fact that
f~om 1974 the South African government
international challenges.
was faced with daunting
domestic
and
On the domestic front, the South African government's harsh
suppression of the black youths uprising in 1976 not only intensified opposition, but also
triggered off an economic downturn during 1976-1977.
On the international front, the
ring of neighbouring white buffer zones such as Mozambique, Angola and Rhodesia,
either collapsed or were about to collapse, and military conflicts moved southwards,
closer to South Africa's doorstep.
Although the RSA restored its internal stability, and
its economy recovered by 1978, the RSA was still in crisis.
The economic upswing
lasted only until 1981 when economic recession set in for almost a decade.
From 1977, the two-way trade between the two counties grew at a much faster pace.
The volume of two-way trade soared to USA$118.78 million in 1977, to USA$190.06
million in 1978, to USA$685.896
million in 1981, USA$912.796
million in 1987 and
USA$1.749 billion in 1988 respectively.25 By 1987, the ROC had become one of South
Africa's top ten trading partner.26 (See Table 6 for annual trade figures).
The emergence
of the RSA's economic
crisis in the 1980s, and the subsequent
uncertainty of the ROC-RSA bilateral diplomatic relations in the 1990s did not however
hinder the growth of bilateral trade and economic ties between the two countries.
The
ROC tried its utmost to expand bilateral trade and deepen economic co-operation so as
to keep its diplomatic relations with South Africa.
The trade flows between the ROC and the RSA during 1990-1997 reflect a similar trend
of rapid growth. The ROC was one of the leading top ten countries that imported South
African goods.
In 1994, the ROC ranked as South Africa's seventh largest trading
partner with a total two-way trade of USA$1.623 billion (equivalent to R5.35 billion).
There was a surplus of R664 million in the RSA's favour.
In 1995, the ROC took 3.2%
of the South Africa's total exports, amounting to R3.2 billion, next only to Italy (R4
billion, 3.6%) and the PRC/Hong Kong (R3.4 billion, 3.3%).27
Germany, UK, USA,
Japan, the PRC/Hong Kong, Italy, Switzerland, the ROC, Zimbabwe and Belgium were
South Africa's top ten trading partners?8
The details of the increase of the ROC-RSA
bilateral trade in the 1990s are shown in Table 6.
Nonetheless,
the bilateral trade between the ROC and the RSA constituted
portion of each countries external trade.
a small
In terms of the ROC's exports, South Africa's
imports from the ROC were a mere 0.48% of the ROC's total exports to overseas
markets in 1979.
By 1982, this percentage increased to 1.2%.
The ROC became
South Africa's ninth most important supplier of various manufacturing
1988, the RSA absorbed about 1.1% of the ROC's total exports.
products.
In
However, the ROC's
trade with South Africa has never exceeded 2% of the ROC's total external trade. From
1990 onwards,
decreased.
the importance
of the ROC's
exp~rts
to South Africa
gradually
During the 1990s, the average percentage of South Africa's imports from
the ROC was a mere 0.71 % of the ROC's total exports. The ROC-RSA
was about 0.8% of the ROC's total annual trade.29
two-way trade
In terms of the ROC's imports, in 1979 South Africa's exports took up 1.45% of the
ROC's total imports.
By 1986, the bilateral trade between the ROC and the RSA
accounted for 3% of South Africa's foreign trade.
In 1997, the ROC's imports from
South Africa were 3.2% of South Africa's total exports.3D
In conclusion,
the establishment
of diplomatic
relations
in 1976 provided
momentum to the expansion of the ROC-RSA two-way trade.
further
Bilateral trade between
the ROC and the RSA grew at a fast pace during the 1980s and the first half of the
1990s when the two countries still maintained diplomatic relations.
was in South Africa's favour.
The trade balance
In 1977, one year after the formation of diplomatic ties,
South Africa enjoyed a trade surplus of USA$57.522 million. By 1979, the trade surplus
grew to USA$137.382
million.
In the late 1980s, South Africa's trade surplus with the
ROC was nearly three to four times that of the 1970s.
For instance, in 1988, South
Africa enjoyed a surplus of USA$404.253 million and in 1989, the RSA trade surplus
was USA$280.69
surplus.
million.
During the 1990s, South Africa still ran a moderate trade
In 1990, the trade surplus with the ROC was USA$414.379
million, and it
decreased to USA$326.546 million in 1991. The RSA's trade surplus, however, soared
to USA$554.900
million
in 1992 and further
to USA$724.500
million
in 1993.
Nevertheless, as from 1994, the RSA's trade surplus became much smaller than in the
preceding
three years.
USA$201.147
The figures dropped from USA$724.5
million in 1994, USA$174.155
million in 1993 to
million in 1995, USA$139.04
million in
31
1996, USA$259.816 million in 1997 and further down to USA$112.233 million in 1998.
Bilateral trade between the ROC and the RSA was structured along North-South
lines;
the RSA exported mineral products, base metals and raw materials to the ROC. and in
return imported ROC manufactured goods.
According to the 1996 reports made by the ROC Embassy and the Economic Division of
the Taipei Liaison Office (TLO) in the RSA (as the Embassy was renamed after the
severance of diplomatic ties), the main commodities exported by the RSA to the ROC
were:
(1) minerals:
such as coal, gold briquettes,
ovoid and similar
solid fuels
manufactured from coal, titanium ores and concentrates; (2) base metals: such as ferro
alloys, unwrought aluminium, semi-finished products of iron and non-alloy steel, ferrous
waste and scrap, remelting scrap ingots of iron and steel as well as refined copper and
copper alloys; (3) chemicals and wood pulp (dissolving grades and soda or sulphates)
and other fibrous cellulose material; (4) agricultural products: such as
maize, wool,
wine and drink, and food; (5) articles of stone and metal; and (6) motor vehicles.32
From the above list, it is clear that South Africa's principal exports to the ROC were
minerals and primary products.
Some of the above-mentioned
mineral products and
base metals such as titanium, ferro alloys and aluminium were strategically important to
the ROC's industries.
However, other exporting countries, such as Australia, Canada
and the USA, could easily substitute some of the mineral products.
The availability of
iron, gold, wood pulp, maize, wine and wool was a case in point. The ROC purchased
these products from the RSA because of diplomatic considerations,
as well as an
attempt to diversify sources of supply.33
South Africa's imports from the ROC comprised mainly manufactured
industry consumer products.
goods and light
In the 1980s, the ROC's major export items to the RSA
were machinery, mechanical appliances, electrical equipment, radios, sound recorders,
woodwork
tools, electrical cables and wires, accessories
of sound articles, sewing
machines, air compressors, pumps, electrical fans, television sets, auto parts, articles of
base metals (locks, pipes, pliers), yarns, textiles, woven fabrics,
garments,
shoes,
umbrellas, plastic flowers, toys, travel bags, suitcases, bicycles, sports' equipment, and
optical, photographic and medical apparatus.
The ROC's top three products exported
to the RSA during the 1980s were: (1) machinery, mechanical appliances and electrical
equipment (23.2-27.4%);
(2) textiles and textile articles including garments (24.1 %-
24.5%); and (3) footwear, headgear, umbrellas and plastic articles (8.1 %).34 However in
the 1990s, as the South African economy had once again become integrated into the
international
market, and as the ROC textiles could no longer compete with cheap
products from newly emerging developing countries with their massive, less expensive
labour supply, such as mainland China, the ROC has moved away from textiles and
footwear products to computer and cybernetic devices.
In 1998-1999, the RSA's top
three imports from the ROC were (1) computer parts and accessories
(27.2%); (2)
factory equipment and machines for processing (21. 3%); and (3) motor vehicle parts
and accessories (14.5%).35
The change in the composition of the ROC's exports to South Africa reflects the fact
that the ROC succeeded in upgrading its labour-intensive light industries to science and
technology based high-tech industries during the 1980s. The restructuring of the ROC
economy has enabled it to produce more sophisticated
products, with wider profit
margins that can absorb escalating high wage levels.
4.4
BilATERAL
INSTITUTIONAL
STRUCTURES
TO STRENGTHEN
ROC-RSA
ECONOMIC AND TRADE INTERACTIONS
In order to tackle the various issues arising from bilateral economic relations and to
promote trade and investment, the two countries founded institutional structures.
tier approach was adopted to strengthen bilateral economic ties.
inter-governmental
On the
Conference
Ministerial Conference,
alternatively
level,
the
on Economic
two
governments
and Technical
initiated
Co-operation
similar to a bi-national commission,
in the respective capitals of the two countries.
Ministerial Conference was co-chaired by the Vice-Minister
ROC and the Deputy Minister or Director-General
Consumer Affairs of the RSA during 1977-1978.
recommendation
The first tier was the
level, the second, the people-to-people level.
inter-governmental
Ministerial
A two-
ROC-RSA
in 1977.
This
took place once a year
Initially, the ROC-RSA
of Economic Affairs of the
of Industries and Commerce and
From 1979 onwards, based on the
made by the South African government,
was upgraded to the level of full Ministers.
the
the Ministerial Conference
In 1979, the Conference, co-chaired by
Kwang-shi Chang, Minister of Economic Affairs of the ROC, and S.W. van der Merwe,
Minister of Industries and Commerce and Consumer Affairs of the RSA, was held in
Pretoria during November
organisations
11th-16th.
of the two governments,
Senior officials of the relevant
ministries
or
such as the RSA's Council for Scientific and
Industrial Research (CSIR), the ROC's National Science Council (NSC), the RSA's
Department of Finance, Department of Agriculture,
Department of Tourism, Customs
and Excise of both countries, the RSA's Department of Transport, National Calibration
Service (NCS), South African Iron and Steel Corporation (ISCOR), the ROC's Ministry
of Transportation
and Communication,
National Bureau of Standards and China Steel
Corporation were also invited to attend the annual conference.36
On the people-to-people
level, several institutions were established by the two countries
to serve as forums for the business sector to develop links and exchange views with
each other. The most notable organisations were the RSAIROC Chamber of Economic
Relations
Economic
(also known as SAROC) in Pretoria and its counterpart,
Council
simultaneously
(also
in 1982.
known
as ROCSA)
in Taipei,
which
the ROC/RSA
were
established
The members of ROCSA and SAROC were comprised of
private and para statal enterprises.
The principal goal of ROCSA and SAROC was to
facilitate the exchange of visits between the private sectors of the two countries, closer
co-operation of the organisations which had been established to promote trade and the
enhancement
economic and trade relations.37
of ROC-RSA
The first Chairman of
ROCSA was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Taiwan Power Company
(Taipower), Lan-kao Chen.
diplomatic
Although ROCSA and SAROC survived the severance of
ties, the said two organisations
were not very effective
in terms of the
promotion of bilateral interactions, except the arrangement of annual meetings.
The contact between the China External Trade Development Council (CETRA) and the
South African Foreign Trade Organization (SAFTO) was another channel of interaction
at the private business level.
The principal function of CETRA was, and still is, to
advance closer co-operation between the ROC government and industries to develop
foreign trade relations with its trading partners.
To achieve this end, CETRA gathers
trade information,
promotes
conducts
market research,
made-in-Taiwan
organises exhibitions, offers convention venues, and trains business people.
products,
Assisted
by CETRA, 13 countries, as well as 14 American states and the American Institute in
Taiwan (AIT) have set up trade offices in the Taipei World Trade Centre (TWTC).
Central American countries, namely Costa Rica, EI Salvador, Guatemala,
Five
Nicaragua
and Honduras, established a joint Central American Trade Office at the TWTC in 19981999.
Interaction between CETRA and SAFTO was frequent during the 1980s. For example,
between 1981 and 1982, CETRA organised four trade missions to visit South Africa.
Before 1997, the ROC had participated in most of the South African exhibitions, such as
the Rand Show, the Building Material Show and the Fashion Trade Fair. On the South
African side, SAFTO also organised many trade missions to visit the ROC to promote
trade during the 1980s.
For instance, in May 1980, SAFTO arranged for a group of
industrialists to visit Taipei. They were extremely well received by the ROC government
and private sector, and a successful conference was held on technical co-operation
between the two countries.
Johannesburg
Chamber
In 1982, the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce,
of Commerce
and the
Durban
Chamber
the
of Commerce
arranged several trade missions to visit the ROC. A number of selling assignments to
Taipei were undertaken
products.
by SAFTO's subsidiary,
SAFMEX, to market South African
In the later part of the 1980s, the exchange of visits continued.
The two
organisations regularly exchanged trade information and hosted economic seminars.38
As a result of the promotion of CETRA and SAFTO, the ROC-RSA private sectors' ties
were cordial.
Individual businesses,
banks, trade associations,
as well as various
sectors of commerce and industry and the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the
two countries maintained close contact during the 1980s. The South African Federated
Chamber of Industries signed a "Sisterhood
Relationship Agreement"
with the ROC
National Association of Industry and Commerce in 1980. These promotional activities
n",ade by the respective private sectors of the two countries, in conjunction with the
inter-governmental
Ministerial Conference, contributed a great deal to the enhancement
of ROC-RSA economic and trade ties.
In the 1980s, South Africa's
economy was in crisis and there was stagnation
in
economic growth: growing unemployment; the outflow of capital; the refusal of Western
banks to extend further loans and new credits; the 1985-1986 debt crisis; the decline in
foreign
exchange
reserves;
a weak
Rand; and a severe
balance
instability.39 This economic crisis was attributable to a combination
of payments
of factors.
The
notable immediate causes were domestic political tensions; a spell of drought; heavy
military spending; the impact of the downward trend of the world economy; the fall of the
gold price in 1983; heightening
crunch of 1984-1985.
economic structure.
international
economic sanctions;
and the financial
However, the crisis was also in part due to South Africa's
As indicated in the introduction to this chapter, the South African
economy was heavily dependent on mining and exports of minerals and raw materials.
For capital goods, machinery and investments,
the RSA was reliant upon Western
powers.
South Africa's domestic savings were too scant to fund its own economic
growth.
During the 1980s, five Western
states accounted
for 90% of all foreign
investment in South Africa; half of the total foreign investment came from the UK, and
about 20% came from the United States.
France and Switzerland.40
mentiOned over-dependence
The bulk of the rest came from Germany,
The structural problems were not only due to the aboveon primary exports and foreign capital, but also the militant
and politicised trade unions and the highly skewed income distribution.
result of these structural weaknesses,
Therefore, as a
when the gold price and the profitability
investment were high, and there was an inflow of foreign direct investment,
Africa's economy enjoyed rapid growth.
of
South
However, foreign investment in the 1970s was
in decline after the oil shock of late 1973 and this, compounded
with the outflow of
capital in the 1980s, manifested slow economic growth.41
The other major cause of South Africa's economic recession in the 1980s was the reemergence of political conflict during the 1980s and the subsequent economic sanctions
imposed against South Africa by the major Western powers.
constitution
of three chambers
of Parliament
The introduction of a new
in 1984, and the escalating
regional
conflicts resulting from the adoption of the "total strategy", triggered serious protest and
violence by the majority African population inside South Africa.
The repression of the
heightened protest and opposition, in turn, sparked the escalation of internal pressures
and the imposition
of economic
sanctions
cpposition interacted with external pressures.
against
South Africa.
Internal
black
Western governments were pressured to
qct decisively against South Africa.
Sanctions were thus stepped up after 1984.
All
OPEC member states imposed an embargo on the sale of oil to South Africa.
A
growing number of countries, including all OECD members, imposed restrictions on new
investments and loans and on the export of high technology
goods to South Africa.
Even the imports of Kruger Rands, iron, steel, coal, uranium, agricultural products and
textiles were banned or restricted by a number of countries such as India and the
Scandinavian
states.
In addition, there were numerous restrictions on air links, and
most OAU member states severed air links with the RSA. The United States Congress
passed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 to introduce stringent measures
against South Africa.
The imposition of international economic sanctions had detrimental effects on the South
African economy, particularly on its finance.
Major foreign banks, following the lead of
Chase Manhattan in New York, refused to roll over maturing short-term loans to South
Africa; the Rand dropped to under 35 USA cents in 1985, depreciating
against the USA dollar during that year.
by over 40%
In July 1985, the South African government
declared a state of emergency, and on August 27, 1985 Pretoria imposed a four-month
moratorium on the repayment of foreign debt, amounting to about half of its total of
USA$23.8 billion.
In the meantime, exchange control on capital transfers by non-
residents was re-introduced in the form of the financial Rand.42
As the economic sanctions were tightened, there was a net outflow of capital, and very
little capital inflow to South Africa during the 1980s. By 1986, Western firms started to
pull out of the RSA. During a time span of eighteen months, from January 1985 to June
1986,55 USA companies left South Africa, including General Motors and IBM.43 South
Africa's uranium exports to the USA were halted by September 1987, and total exports
to the USA dropped 40%. The fall of the gold price and the recession of the economy
had reduced the volume of South Africa's foreign reserves to an amount equivalent to a
mere three months merchandise exports.44
Confronting the economic crisis and the drying up of capital inflow for its economy, the
South African government looked to the ROC as a source of investment to substitute
the lost capital that flowed out of South Africa through disinvestment.
In order to tackle
the massive unemployment in the rural areas, as well as to sustain the legitimacy of the
homeland governments and to curb urban migration, the RSA formulated its industrial
decentralisation
policy as early as 1960.
relocate their factories
designed
after 1981.
by the South African
However, the ROC investors only started to
The industrial decentralisation
government
to counter
programme
was
the over-concentration
of
industries in or near white urban areas, and because there was a surplus of labour in
the rural black homelands.
Attractive
incentives,
such as rebates on the cost of
relocation, subsidies providing for the cost of training workers, rebates on wage bills and
tax
concession
benefits
were
offered
by
the
various
Industrial
Development
Corporations (IDCs) to both local and foreign entrepreneurs to establish industries in the
decentralised industrial areas inside the homelands and border regions.
These areas
included Dimbaza, Sada, Butterworth, Bisho, East London, Birlin, King William's Town,
Isithebe, Ladysmith,
Newcastle,
Richards Bay, Qwaqwa, Ga-rankuwa,
Botshabelo, Witsiehoek, Selosesha, Pietersburg and Tzaneen.
Thaba Nchu,
These IDCs were semi-
official institutions and were funded either directly or indirectly by the state.
They
assisted
from
entrepreneurs
who were interested
in decentralisation,
or relocation
Taiwan to South Africa with finance, relocation of industries and leasing factory shells or
buildings at relatively low interest rates.
The IDCs undertook to develop and provide
infrastructure and basic facilities in the above-mentioned
areas for the industrialists.45
For the South African government, the ROC was considered as an important strategic
partner to serve as a source of investment for the homelands to create new jobs and
economic growth, and to mitigate the loss of trade with its traditional trading markets in
the West, as many Western companies chose to disinvest and withdraw from South
Africa in the 1980s.46
The decentralisation
policy was well suited to the ROC's labour-intensive
industries.
The incentives offered were attractive to industrialists who were keen on moving their
factories from Taiwan to other countries.
Apart from the attractive incentive package,
the ROC investors were also delighted to note that trade unions were not active in the
homelands.
The homelands governments restricted trade unions because they were
regarded as a political threat and a stumbling block to foreign investment.
Moreover,
the South African government was at the time so friendly towards ROC investors that it
often readily granted residence permits and allowed their families to stay in the white
areas as from the mid-1980s.
In contrast to Taiwan's congested social environment and
expensive labour costs, the good living conditions, low wage rates, full diplomatic ties,
excellent infrastructure
and high standard of education were other factors that lured
ROC investors to South Africa.
In the meantime, an important official guideline was adopted by the leadership of the
ROC government
during the 189th meeting of Central Standing
Committee
of the
Kuomintang, the ROC's ruling party, held on October 22nd, 1980, shortly after P.W.
Botha's visit to the ROC but before the visit of the then ROC Foreign Minister, Fu-sung
Chu, to South Africa.
Chu was designated to present a report entitled "the Iran-Iraq
Conflicts and the Official Visit of P.W. Botha to the ROC" in the course of the meeting.47
After considerable
deliberations,
a guideline was adopted by the meeting which was
presided by the then ROC Premier Sun Yun-suan to intensify economic co-operation,
procurement of minerals such as uranium, coal, iron ore and energy-related
such as steel, copper and aluminium from South Africa.
it very clear that the ultimate goal of ROC-RSA
products
During the meeting, Sun made
ties was to take advantage of South
Africa's minerals, energy resources and metal products to promote the ROC's economic
development.48
In accordance with the spirit of the said guideline, the domestic policies
of the RSA such as apartheid, the homelands, democracy and human rights were not
the concern of the ROC government.49
From the ROC government's
perspective,
relations with South Africa were seen as important in the context of two aspects:
diplomatically,
the RSA was the largest and economically
first,
most significant of the 30
~ountries that maintained diplomatic relations with the ROC rather than the PRC;
second, economically, the two economies were complementary,
and
and the RSA was in a
position to provide the ROC industrialists with natural resources, bulk commodities, raw
materials, cheap labour and a potential market.
deepen ROC-RSA economic co-operation.5o
Conforming to the above-mentioned
Therefore, a resolution was made to
guideline, although the ROC entrepreneurs
had
associated themselves with the decentralisation policy of the South African government
by investing or relocating their industries to the homelands,
the ROC government,
however, neither officially recognised the legitimacy of the homeland governments nor
gave them political support. 51 The investments flowing into the homelands were an act
of economy made by Taiwanese companies which had nothing to do with the ROC
government.
According to the research done by Geoffrey Roger Woods, a former Ph.D.
student of Ohio University, who completed his dissertation on "Taiwanese Investment in
the homelands of South Africa", the investment of Taiwanese manufacturing
industries
in South Africa was simply due to the fact that "by the early 1980s, the interests of the
South African state and small scale Taiwanese capital coincided," and that "the South
African government
wished to attract investment
into the homelands
as part of its
restructuring, and Taiwanese investors were attracted to the South African homelands
in their search for cheap labour necessary to maintain profitability
in certain highly
competitive sectors of the world economy.,,52 For these reasons, many of the so-called
"~wilight industries" in Taiwan, such as footwear, clothing and textile plants, started to
relocate to South Africa during the 1980s.53
The industrial
relocation
process
began from
1980 when
the
ROC government
commenced to restructure and move away from the low-cost, labour intensive industries
to high-tech enterprises
Plan.
by announcing
the Ten Year Textile Industry Revitalization
In addition to the momentum of the ROC government's
policy of economic
structural change, the ROC domestic situation also contributed to the outflow of capital
and enterprises
to other countries.
situation was characterised
In the 1980s, the ROC's problematic
domestic
by a rising foreign exchange rate, escalating labour costs,
the threat of protectionism, Third World competition and the degradation of the
environment.54
These domestic factors further pushed the ROC industrialists to
r~locate their factories and investments to South Africa as the optimum site for low cost,
labour-intensive productions.
ROC investments poured into South Africa at a steady rate during the 1980s.
there were 35 ROC companies operating in the homelands.
ROC investments
In 1985,
By the end of 1987, the
in South Africa amounted to USA$100 million, and the number of
ROC firms in the homelands had increased to 80.
One year later, this figure rose to
120.55 By 1989, ROC investors had transferred USA$300 million to South Africa and
ROC firms had created 40,000 industrial jobs.
It was estimated that half of all new
factory employment created in the homelands under the decentralisation
1980s was from ROC factories.56
policy of the
By 1991, the number of factories further increased to
250.57
From April to June 1996, the Embassy of the Republic of China in Pretoria instructed
the three Consulates-General
in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg
to jointly
conduct a census to find out the exact total number of ROC factories in South Africa.
According to the census report, which was released on July 25th, 1996, an estimated
amount of USA$1.5 billion (R6.45 billion at the 1996 exchange rate) had been invested
in South Africa by ROC businessmen and this had created over 41,240 jobs.
In 1996,
the RSA's total Chinese population, including South Africans of Chinese descent, was
27,515 persons.
Of this, 13,176 had come from Taiwan.
In total, there were 620 ROC
firms in South Africa. 58
These firms, by the nature of their operations, can be divided into two sectors: the
industrial sector and the commercial/service
sector.
In the industrial sector, there were
280 ROC factories, employing 36,224 people, of which 32,690 workers were Africans.
As compared with 285 factories in 1993, there was a slight decrease during 1993-1994.
The decrease was due to variety of factors, including increased factory automation to
the adverse effect of corruption in customs, political uncertainty and labour militancy.
In
the five years between 1991 and 1996, approximately 50 factories shut down or moved
elsewhere, but about the same number of new, more sophisticated factories took their
place.
However, growth in the commercial and service sectors among South African
residents from the ROC more than made up the value, if not the drop in employment, in
the manufacturing
businessmen,
wholesale
sector.
including
distribution.
which 2,694 are Africans.
In 1996, there were 340 businesses
among
others,
banking,
These companies
ocean
employed
freight,
operated
by ROC
import-export
approximately
and
5,012 people of
By 1996, taken as a whole, these businesses owned by the
Taiwanese had an annual turnover of R8.54 billion.
Annually, they imported goods
worth R1,700 million and exported R682 million worth of products, earning precious
foreign exchange for South Africa.
As the low export figure shows, their economic
activity was, and still is, largely inward-looking,
instead of using South Africa as an
export base for the rest of the continent.59 Two-thirds of these factories are involved in
the labour-intensive
clothing, garment manufacturing
and textile sector.
According to
the 1996 census, the breakdown of the 280 factories in the industrial sector is shown as
Table 7.
In terms of geographic distribution, most of these factories have been concentrated in
industrial
parks
in the former
government's decentralisation
homeland
areas,
because
of the
South
African
policy. According to the 1996 census, Newcastle had 48,
followed by Botshabelo (37), Ladysmith (26), Ciskei (20) (13 of which in Dimbaza),
Isithebe (19), Johannesburg
(16), Thaba Nchu (14), KwaNdebele
(13), Durban and
Bloemfontein (11 each), Transkei (10) (7 of which in Umtata), Babalegi and Kimberly (6
each), Ga-rankuwa, Harrismith and Mgwase (5 each), Venda and East London (3 each)
as well as Pretoria and Pietersburg (2 each).60
around various locations in South Africa.
The rest were, and are, scattered
If divided by province, KwaZulu-Natal
plays
host to 40% of them, no doubt this is due to the fact that Durban is the port of entry for
raw materials and that the Taiwanese are accustomed to the warm and humid climate
there.
On a whole, most of the Taiwanese-owned
manufacturing
factories are in the traditionally lower-tech
industry and are located in rural areas where unemployment
However, the ROC high-tech investors also have a presence in the RSA.
is high.
The Acer
group has its Africa regional office in Johannesburg.
In addition, the RSA Mustek
group, invested by a ROC national, C.C. Kan, produces locally the well-known Mecer
computer brand in Midrand.
In 1998, Mustek supplied and held 15.7% of the South
African PC market, and for the first two quarters of 1999, its local market share was
extended from 20% to 22.2%.
In the past decade, Mustek has grown significantly.
Its
annual sales increased from R20 million in 1987 to R1.3 billion in 1999.61
In the commercial and service sectors, most of the 340 companies deal with the import
and export of both raw materials and finished products.
according to the 1996 census).
concentration
(Table 8 shows the breakdown
Based on the 1996 census figures, by far the largest
of these commercial
and service
totalling 197, of which 169 are in Johannesburg.
34 companies in Durban and 20 in Newcastle.
establishments
were
in Gauteng,
KwaZulu-Natal accounted for 61, with
The Western Cape had 30, 29 of which
are in Cape Town. Twenty-one of these companies were based in the Free State, 15 of
them in Bloemfontein, while there were 11 in the Northern Province, 8 in Mpumalanga,
7 in the Eastern Cape, 4 in the Northwest and only one in the Northern Cape.62
In the clothing and textile sector, there are 44 Taiwanese factories making knitted or
embroidered sweaters scattered across the former homelands areas. All depend on the
ROC-based
Derlon
specifications,
Spinning
as raw material.
(Pty)
Ltd. to supply
polyester
yarn,
dyed to their
The Derlon Group, which consists of Derlon Dyeing
(Pty) Ltd., Derlon Twisting (Pty) Ltd. and Sunlit Fashions (Pty) Ltd., employs 1,000
workers in Ladysmith who work in two shifts. The company has reached an agreement
with the South African Clothing and Textile Workers
peaceful
labour
manufacturers.
relations.
This
should
set
an
Union (SACTWU)
example
to
other
and enjoys
Taiwanese
Another 44 factories are engaged in producing garments other than
sweaters, aimed mainly at the export market. 63
Most investors
are small to medium enterprises,
businesses themselves.
and the owners usually run the
Only the Bank of Taiwan (SA) Ltd. is a subsidiary of the state-
owned Bank of Taiwan of the ROC. According to the United Kingdom magazine, The
Banker, which lists the world's top 1,000 banks, the Bank of Taiwan ranks 107th in the
world.
The Standard Bank rates 185th.
In 1996, the Bank of Taiwan (SA) Ltd.'s loan
54
portfolio consisted of USA$11 0 million and R64 million, a total of R537 million.
ROC entrepreneurs
who started to invest in South Africa from the early 1980s have
made a meaningful contribution to the economic development of South Africa.
They
have partly alleviated the job creation needs of the former homelands areas, and the
economically
peripheral parts of the country.
However, by defying the international
economic sanctions and investing in the homelands, the ROC was perceived by the
trade unions and the ANC as according tacit support to the homelands
policies of the South African government.
and racial
The leadership of South Africa's trade unions
also accused some of the ROC investors of exploitation of cheap labour, misuse of
incentives, paying low wages and poor labour standards.
Some members of SACTWU,
the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the South African Communist
Party (SACP) and the ANC thus detested the ROC.
In the eyes of many in the
government of National Unity (1994-1996), in particular the pro-Beijing faction, the ROC
was regarded
as having supported
the South African apartheid
government.55
In
contrast with the PRC's support for the liberation movement, the ROC's open dealings
with the previous National Party government acted against the ROC's efforts to maintain
diplomatic ties with the new South African government.
constantly
exerted on former president,
Nelson Mandela,
An invisible pressure was
to correct the perceived
historical injustice.55
In 1979, during the ROC-RSA
Ministerial Conference on Economic and Technical Co-
operation, both sides agreed that an aviation agreement should be drafted to establish a
direct weekly flight between the two countries.
In March 1980, when the ROC Prime
Minister, Sun Yun-suan, paid an official visit to South Africa, six bilateral agreements
were
signed.
These
agreements
included
the ROC-RSA
Bilateral
Air
Service
Agreement, the Agreement between the government of the ROC and the government of
the RSA for the Reciprocal Treatment of Navigation, and the Agreement
Exemption from Income Tax pertaining to Navigation and Aviation.
on Mutual
The ROC-RSA
Bilateral Air Services Agreement was amended on November 15th, 1991.57
On the basis of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement,
South African Airways (SM)
began a weekly round-trip flight between Johannesburg and Taipei in November 1980,
and increased its direct flights to twice a week from November 1987 until December 5th,
1996 when the ROC Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Hsiao-yen Chang announced the
suspension of the said agreement.
SM
In accordance with the Air Services Agreement,
and China Airlines were South Africa's and the ROC's designated carriers.
agreed upon route was Johannesburg,
Mauritius, Hong Kong, Taipei.
The
The air traffic
rights between Hong Kong and Taipei were negotiated with the UK, as Hong Kong was
still a British colony at the time.58
Apart from SAA, the ROC's China Airlines also
introduced its own direct weekly flight between Taipei and Johannesburg
during 1991-
1996. All together, the two airlines had three flights a week between the two countries.
These two airlines not only provided a regular direct passenger
flight for tourists,
business people and visitors between Johannesburg and Taipei, but also carried mail,
freight and business goods. The first South African Airways (SM)
flight departed from
Johannesburg on Monday, November 3rd, 1980 at 8:05 am and touched down at Taipei
in the morning of November 4th, 1980 at 5:35 am. The return flight left Taipei on the
same date at 8:10 am and arrived at Jan Smuts Airport in Johannesburg
This was an epoch-making
apart, the ROC-RSA
event.
at 6:30 pm.59
Although the two countries are geographically
direct air service had brought the two states much closer.
far
The
direct air-links served to facilitate the development of air transportation, the exchange of
visits and tourism.
relations.
This, in turn, further strengthened
economic,
The direct air service made it possible for business
countries
to save travelling
electronic
components,
time and facilitated
computer
emergency
parts and software.
cultural and other
people of the two
supplies,
in particular
As the direct flight made it
possible for ROC visitors and tourists to avoid the hassle of transiting
in a third
countries, it boosted ROC investment, South African tourism, the travel industry and the
development of the South African electronics and computer industries from the 1980s
until December 1996, when the SAA direct flight to Taipei was suspended.7o
Due to the three direct flights a week between Taipei and Johannesburg, the number of
tourists from the ROC to South Africa increased. The state-funded South African Tourist
Corporation (Satour) set up a branch office in Taipei in the late 1980s.
South Africans
71
visiting the ROC increased from 1583 in 1980, to 4254 in 1982 and to 5490 in 1986.
Many tourists were attracted
by South Africa's
richly endowed
natural
beauty, in
particular the country's magnificent wild animal and plant life. In 1994, 28,868 tourists
from the ROC visited South Africa while 6698 South Africans visited the ROC. In 1996,
the number of ROC tourists to South Africa grew to 35,142.
of ROC-RSA
relations
However, after the change
in 1998, the number of tourists to each country declined
considerably. The number of tourists from the ROC decreased from 35,142 in 1996 to
18,412 in 1997 and 18,591 in 1998 while the number of South African visitors to the
ROC dropped from 6,698 in 1994 to 4,000 in 1997 and 3,500 in 1998.72 This decrease
is largely due to South Africa's rampant crime, economic recession, the Asian financial
crisis, and the suspension of direct flights between Taipei and Johannesburg.
South Africa's commercial
Limited (Safmarine),
shipping company, the South African Marine Corporation
started its regular service to the Far East including Taiwan in
1967.73 But real co-operation in the shipping field swung into action as from 1980. As
described above, the ROC had signed the Agreement for the Reciprocal Treatment of
Navigation with South Africa in March 1980.
This paved the way for the further
expansion of shipping links between the ROC and the RSA. During the 1980s, in
addition to Safmarine, three Taiwanese companies entered the shipping business to vie
for the increasing shipping demands.
These were Nantai Shipping Lines, Uniglory
Marine Corporation and Kien Hung Shipping SA (Pty) Ltd. Uniglory Marine Corporation
is a subsidiary of the Evergreen Group, which owns the largest container fleet in the
world and has twelve ships on this route.
Uniglory's associate company, Green Africa
Shipping (Pty) Ltd., operates container yards in Durban and Johannesburg,
trailer trucks, and acts as a customs broker for its clients.74
a fleet of
With the afore-said shipping companies competing for shipping requirements, the trade
between the ROC and the RSA was well served. Their vessels regularly called at ROC
seaports such as Keelung and Kaohsiung and South African ports such as Durban and
Cape Town. The Safmarine ships were mainly equipped to handle all kinds of dry bulk
cargo and fruit as well as other perishable
companies
catered
for general
containerised
export trade, whereas the three ROC
cargo.
While
these four
shipping
companies were in operation, the ROC investors were able to reduce the capital and
operating costs, and the regular shipping service helped to draw closer links between
the two geographically distant countries.75
Competition in shipping between Taiwan and South Africa was so keen that it greatly
benefited the end-consumer and the bilateral trade of the two countries.
When Nantai
Shipping Line first introduced a regular service between Keelung and Durban in 1982,
the charge for transporting
USA$ 2,000.
a standard 20-ft container was between USA$ 1,800 and
By the middle of the 1980s, the three shipping companies had a total of
26 vessels plying between Taiwan and South Africa, some of which went on to Latin
America after stopping at Cape Town.
There was a ship leaving Taiwan every other
day, the voyage took only three weeks, and the freight charge had dropped to just
USA$ 1,000.
Just in terms of empty containers, these three lines maintained about
7,000 containers in South Africa worth about R90 million.76
However, after the severance of diplomatic relations, Nantai Shipping Lines and Kien
Hung Shipping experienced
great difficulties in floating through the changes in the
political and economic environments.
Asian financial
Subsequently,
meltdown
The economic recession in South Africa and the
of 1997-1998
also impacted
adversely
Nantai Shipping terminated its shipping operations
and the RSA from September 1999.
on their profits.
between the ROC
Nevertheless, Uniglory Marine Corporation, Kien
Hung Shipping and Safmarine are still operating at present.
In order to facilitate trade and financial co-operation, the ROC and the RSA set up
banking branch offices in each other's countries.
In 1989, Standard Bank of South
Africa established a branch in Taipei to promote business investments. In April 1992,
the ROC's state-owned Bank of Taiwan opened its branch office in Rosebank,
Johannesburg to assist Taiwanese investors and to provide loans to the RSA's
parastatal corporates. These two banks' branch offices in the respective capitals have
not been affected by the severance of diplomatic relations and are still operating
actively at the present moment. The branch office of the Bank of Taiwan has sustained
itself with over 30% growth each year since its establishment and ranks 25th amongst
the RSA's fifty banks.
The Bank of Taiwan is a significant purchaser of RSA
government bonds and, in conjunction with other international banks, has participated in
financing several RSA parastatal projects for Eskom, Telkom, Transnet, the Industrial
Development Corporation and Durban harbour. Since 1992, the Bank of Taiwan has
loaned approximately USA$300 million to various South African enterprises.77
The provision of a fixed rate re-Iending facility was made available to the RSA's financial
institutions by the ROC's Export-Import Bank of China. At the ROC-RSA Ministerial
Meeting in 1980, the ROC announced that it was to open a line of credit to banking
institutions at fixed interest rates to encourage the export of capital goods to the RSA.
It was recorded that during the period from 30 September 1982 to November 1982
alone, the Export-Import Bank of China extended a total amount of USA$7 million credit
line under its fixed rate re-Iending facility to South Africa's commercial banks. USA$1.5
million was provided to the French Bank of South Africa, USA$2 million to Barclays
National Bank, USA$1 million to the Trust Bank of Africa Ltd., USA$500,OOOto
~edbank Ltd., and USA$2 million to the Standard Bank of South Africa for re-Iending to
the clients of these banks. This included end-users and dealers to assist in their
purchase of non-project-related
capital goods produced in the Republic of China with an
78
aggregate gross purchase price less than ~SA$1 million per transaction.
A similar provision of low-interest credit facility was also made available by the RSA to
the ROC through the International Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) for the importation
of South African products.
Nevertheless,
as the ROC importers were mostly self-
sufficient, the credit facilities provided by Nedbank to the amount of USA$1 0 million and
by Standard Bank to the amount of USA$5 million were rarely used.
However, the
ICBC
once utilised USA$7,440,OOO under the refinancing facility provided by
Nedbank.79 Apart from the above-mentioned low-interest trade credit facilities, the ROC
also provided grants and loans to the RSA.
The ROC's aid programmes, which were rendered to assist the RSA's Reconstruction
and Development Programme (RDP), were implemented as from 1994.
Before 1994,
except for the pursuit of bilateral technical co-operation on an equal footing, the ROC
did not provide any aid or grants to the RSA since there was no need to do so at the
time.
However, after the formation of the new South African government in May 1994, there
was a need for the RSA to solicit the ROC's financial and economic assistance to
implement the RDP during the transitional period from the eradication of apartheid to
t~e building of an integrated non-racial democracy.
the readjustment
The RDP was more pressing than
of South Africa's diplomatic relations with the Two Chinas.
Under
such circumstances, it was clear that the new South Africa needed the ROC, more than
the PRC, in reconstruction and development.
From the ROC government's
viewpoint,
this was a unique situation: the ROC could play a positive role in supporting South
Africa so as to safeguard the ROC's diplomatic ties with the RSA.
South Africa was
considered the jewel in the ROC's diplomatic crown,80 the relatively most important
regional power among its 31 diplomatic allies. That the ROC sought to support the new
South Africa was reflected by the remarks made by the Ambassador
to the RSA, 1-
cheng Loh, on October 27th, 1995 at the Potchefstroom Banquet Hall. He said:
Before last year's general election, before the forming of the government
of National Unity, my government was already thinking of identifying the
specific fields in which we have special experience and expertise, which
the other countries because of their size and tradition may not be very
good at, but which the new South Africa could use, and in which we may
contribute, to help South Africa on her way towards reconstruction and
development.81
To retain her diplomatic ties with the largest country on her diplomatic list, at the time of
the presidential inauguration in 1994, the ROC pledged a package of USA$131 million
(equivalent to approximately R700 million) in aid to South Africa's RDP.82 Most of the
ROC's pledges of aid materialised into actual projects which progressed reasonably well
until November 1996 when the RSA announced that the country was to switch
recognition to the PRC. The promised aid package was mostly delivered during the
period from the beginning of 1995 to the end of November 1996.
In the first year of the GNU, provisions were made by the ROC government to assist the
South African government with the following development aid projects:
•
USA$40 million (equivalent to R146.4 million at the time) for a Vocational Training
Centre (VTC) in South Africa (January 1995)
•
R1.38 million for the training of small-scale vegetable farmers (March 1995)
•
R4.798 million for training programmes for South African nationals to undergo
various types of technical training.
•
Other RDP related programmes in the form of grants.83
To tally up, during the first year of the GNU, the actual delivery of ROC support for the
RDP, including grants in aid, concessional loans, commercial loans and technical
t~aining, amounted to approximately R566 million.84 The ROC aid package covered a
wide range of programmes, including the vocational training centre project, retired
soldiers settlement project, the small, medium and micro enterprises' (SMMEs) credit
guarantee fund, the agricultural co-operation
reform assistance,
entrepreneurial
project, the social forestry project, land
intership project, bursary programmes,
technical
training programmes, the women's development banking project, the educational reform
project, training of South African fishermen and vegetable farmers, the dispatch of ROC
agricultural specialists and interest subsidies to ROC investors.
development
However, the ROC's
aid programmes focused mainly on four areas: vocational training, the
development of small, medium and micro businesses (SMME), technical training and
the development of small farms.85
The ROC's assistance in the establishment of the above-mentioned
Vocational Training
Centre
and partly for the
(VTC) was
intended
for the stability
of South Africa
demobilisation of the ANC's military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe.
exiles were old and short of skills.
The idea of establishing
Some of the returned
a VTC originated with
Mandela's visit to Taipei in July/August 1993 in his capacity as the leader of the ANC.
Mandela was anxious to emulate the ROC's successful resettlement programme of its
hundreds of thousands of retired military servicemen from mainland China over the last
forty years.
At Mandela's request, the then ROC President, Lee Teng-hui, agreed to
help with Mandela's initiative.
The VTC was established in the middle of 1995 at a
266ha complex near Attridgeville, west of Pretoria.
Its main objective was to provide
training in various trade skills to retired or redundant army members, with emphasis on
trades which were in demand under the RDP, and which gave the best promise for
starting a business.
The VTC aid project included overall planning, the design and
construction of various workshops as well as the supply and installation of machinery
and equipment.
The VTC was to cover 31 training fields to accommodate
1500 people
simultaneously and was to become fully operational by August 1997. Training began in
May 1996 and the first phase covered seven training fields and accommodated
people.
220
Sixty-six South African instructors were invited to the ROC for three-month
training courses.
The first group of 45 departed on January
15th, 1996 while 17
Taiwanese instructors came to South Africa to advise on operations and management.86
The total cost of the Vocational Training project, including the establishment of the VTC
was USA$40
million.87
By the November
1996 announcement
of the change of
relationship,
the first phase of this project was complete
and the VTC had been
established.
But the second phase was terminated as from 1997.
As one of the leading countries in the field of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises
(SMMEs) development, the ROC undertook to share its experience and expertise in this
area with South Africa in its quest for reconstruction and development.
SMMEs development
The support for
in South Africa consisted of three parts: indirect loans, direct
financing (grants) and training. Although by 1996, an institutional support framework for
indirect loan facilities existed in South Africa - such as the Centre for Small Business
Promotion (CSBP) and the National Small Business Council (NSBC), the state-owned
Ntsika Enterprise Promotion Agency (Ntsika) and Khula Enterprise Finance (Khula) none of them performed well.
Khula's repayment default rate was about 40%.
From
the ROC government's perspective, it was in a better position to assist South .Africa in
adopting a strategy to create a conducive
environment
proposition was made by the ROC government
for SMMEs.
Therefore,
a
in August 1996 to provide USA$30
million from the ROC Overseas Economic Co-operation Development Foundation to set
up a national credit guarantee scheme for the development of South African SMMEs. In
regard to SMME training, the ROC had planned to receive up to fifty people in Taiwan to
attend courses on SMME development and financing in the initial stage. The number of
the SMME training schemes was to be expanded to 1000 people per year at a later
stage.88
As for direct financing, in 1996, the ROC government agreed to grant a total of USA$10
million as financial support for the development of SMMEs.
the RSA in four instalments from the 1997 fiscal year.89
This was to be remitted to
Nevertheless,
this USA$10
million grant had not been remitted to South Africa when President Mandela announced
the ending of ROC-RSA
ROC government
December 1996.
90
diplomatic ties on November 27th, 1996.
decided
to suspend the implementation
In response, the
of this project as from
With regard to technical training, under ROC sponsorship,
about 500 South Africans
received technical training during the years 1994-1997 in a variety of fields, such as
land reform, SMME development, taxation, agricultural development, foreign investment
and precision scientific
instruments.
From January
Africans received technical training in Taiwan.
1994 to June 1995, 96 South
The peak period of the ROC training
programme was during 1994-1996.
The main purpose of the ROC's aid programmes
was to support the South African government's RDP.91
From the ROC's perspective, it was in a position to assist South Africa in solving its
serious unemployment problem by adopting a two-dimensional
economic development
s.trategy. In industry and commerce, the ROC government proposed the development
of SMMEs.
In agriculture, the focus was on creating self-supporting
small farms. With
a view to realising this objective, a two-pronged agricultural aid programme was carried
out by the ROC government as from 1994.
The first part involved the setting up of a
wide range of agricultural training programmes for South African agricultural specialists,
farm advisors and extension workers either in Taiwan or in South Africa's agricultural
institutions such as the Boskop Training Centre in Potchefstroom
Agricultural College in Nelspruit.
and the Lowveld
In 1993, the former Embassy of the Republic of China
entered into an agreement with the RSA's Department of Agriculture to share equally
the R10 million cost of a training project aimed at teaching South African black women
the basic skills of vegetable farming.
community-based
Under this training programme,
by 1998, 16
agricultural projects were implemented in various provinces.
Another
feature of the ROC agricultural aid programme was the provision of capital and funding
for the development of small farms.
In November 1993, the ROC's Chiao Tung Bank
signed an agreement with the Development Bank of Southern Africa, providing it with a
loan of USA$15.482
million (equivalent to R56 million) for agricultural
development.
The terms were 3.5% per annum, a five years grace period and another twenty years to
repay.92
From 1994 to 1997, the ROC endowed the RSA with a total of R700 million in aid
grants.
Most of these aid grants, except technical training and fishermen's
training,
were based on government-to-government
relations and politically-driven
projects.
In
terms of loans, during the five year period from 1993 to 1998, the ROC government had
given, mainly through its Bank of Taiwan, loans of over USA$200 million (equivalent to
R1,200 million) to the Industrial Development
Corporation
enterprises of the RSA, such as Transnet, Portnet, SM,
(IDC) and the para statal
Eskom and Telkom.
93
These
loans were mainly for the improvement of South Africa's infrastructure and its economic
development.
These loans included USA$20 million for SM,
USA$30 million for the
SMME Development Fund, R70 million for Macsteel and USA$30 million to Transnet for
upgrading the facilities at the Durban port. Other loans included USA$30 million (R105
million) to Eskom for its rural electrification project, R305 million for the IDC, loans for
the rural telephone project, the small farms' loan, and the economic/social
development
projects' loan.94
Besides these loans, USA$15.482
million was provided to the Development
Bank of
Southern Africa by another ROC bank, the Chiao Tung Bank, in November 1994 for the
small farm development.
The interest of the loan was set at only 3.5% per annum with
a grace period of five years.95 The difference in interest from Taiwan's normal interest
rate is paid by the ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
96
Furthermore, the ROC government pledged to lend USA$500 million to be deposited as
part of the South African Reserve Bank's foreign exchange reserves.
At the same time,
the ROC made the following financial commitments to support South Africa:
•
USA$15 million for general agricultural development
•
USA$5 million for forest cultivation
•
USA$8 million for economic co-operation schemes
•
USA$3 million for land reform
•
USA$2 million for the establishment of the Women's Bank
•
USA$0.5 million for student's scholarships
•
USA$0.5 million for youths to start small businesses
•
USA$0.36 million for rice technicians' training
•
USA$1 million for South Africa's fisheries development.97
Some of these pledges had already been paid out to the South African government in
the form of grants or loans before the end of 1997. Others had been partly given to the
RSA such as the USA$5 million for forest cultivation among which USA$4 million was
remitted prior to the termination of ROC-RSA
diplomatic relations.
But some grants
had not been paid out pending the signing of the final bilateral agreements.98
In addition to the above-mentioned
at when the derecognition
loans, two important projects were under negotiation
of the ROC was announced: the Mossgas petrochemical
complex venture and the Mmabatho and Pilanesberg Airport projects.
project, if implemented
The Mossgas
could inject billions of Rands into the South African economy
and create work opportunities for 400,000 people.99
Most of the above aid programmes
suspended
by the ROC government
and these two projects under negotiation were
as from December
5th, 1996 after Mandela's
announcement of the severance of ROC-RSA diplomatic ties.
the RSA parastatals
continued because the transaction
But the ROC's loans to
of commercial
loans, if not
concessional loans, is market-driven and has little to do with government-to-government
relations.10o
The bilateral co-operation in the fishing industry was, and still is, an important facet of
ROC-RSA
economic relations.
and replenishment
Cape Town is one of the major overseas operations
bases for ROC fishing vessels on the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
Each year, approximately
450 ROC fishing vessels dock at Cape Town harbour for
provisions such as fuel, food and water as well as for repairs or to sell their catches.101
The ROC fishing operational zones are very wide and reach from the high seas of the
Atlantic Ocean as far as the Ivory Coast in the North, near Antarctica in the South and
the Indian Ocean near the coastal waters of Somalia and Yemen.
In 1998, the South
African government issued permits to 86 Japanese and 26 ROC fishing boats to fish off
the South African coast.
In 1999, the total number of permits issued to the ROC were
reduced to 23, at the cost of USA$12,600
(R75,600) each.
The total annual catch
limitations are 1760 tons of albacore and 50 tons with a by-catch extension of 40 tons of
s.wordfish.102 No hake, kingklip, wreckfish or patagonian toothfish may be caught or
retained on board. As to other species of fish, the ROC annual catches of tuna, marlin
and Atlantic
sword
fish are regulated
by the
International
Commission
for the
Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC)
and other related international conventions.103 These catches are operated on the high
seas of the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean, not in South African territorial waters
or economic zones.
ROC fishing vessels merely use Cape Town as their base of
operations and for replenishments.
The ROC fishing boats' total annual catches and
expenses spent in Cape Town, including fishing licenses, repairs and replenishments
are estimated at around R240 million per annum.104 Most of the catches are sold in
frozen form to Japanese agents in Cape Town.
To enable the seamen of the ROC
fishing fleet to have a secure place to rest, enjoy recreations, read Chinese newspapers
and have proper Chinese meals, the ROC government, through the ROC ConsulateGeneral in Cape Town, spent NT$10 million (equivalent to R2.5 million) on December
1st, 1989 to rent and renovate a double storey building at Vanguard
Dock, Port of Cape Town.
ROC government
Road, Sturrock
The 24-year lease expires on November 30th, 2013.
undertook
to pay annual rentals, repairs and renovations
The
of the
premises to the then South African Transport Services (later renamed Portnet).105
The bilateral co-operation
on fisheries dates back to 1978.
The ROC government
concluded a bilateral Agreement on Mutual Fisheries Relations with South Africa on
January 26th, 1978.
This agreement is still maintained through the annual bilateral
consultation meeting.
The annual bilateral consultation meetings pertaining to fisheries
co-operation were held in Cape Town on December 8th-9th, 1998 and December 9th10th, 1999 respectively.l06
While the bilateral co-operation
on fisheries is mutually
beneficial to both the ROC and the RSA, this co-operation works more in the ROC's
favour economically.
In order to address this imbalance and reciprocate the RSA, in
1997 the ROC government undertook to train 27 South African fishermen in Taiwan.
The cost of this training, as well as the flights, accommodation
fishermen
came
government.
to a total
of NT$2.4
million which
and meals of the said
was covered
by the ROC
107
After the severance of diplomatic relations with the RSA, the ROC government decided
to downsize its presence in South Africa from four Missions (Pretoria, Johannesburg,
Cape Town and Durban) to three (Pretoria, Johannesburg
and Cape Town).
It was
decided to close the Taipei Liaison Office in Durban (formerly the ROC ConsulateGeneral
in Durban)
Johannesburg
in September
or Pretoria.
Africa's administrative
1998 rather than the mission
in Cape Town,
This was mainly due to· the fact that Pretoria is South
capital, Johannesburg
is the hub of South Africa and has the
largest Taiwanese community and Cape Town is relatively more important than Durban
because of the parliament and the fisheries.
The economic and financial ties between the ROC and the RSA were forged during
1976 to 1997. Historically, the development of the economic ties between the ROC and
the RSA can be divided into four phases:
Phase One (1948-1971): Before 1971 the economic contact between the two countries
was minimal.
During this period there was no need for the ROC and the RSA to co-
operate with each other.
The ROC relied on the USA for economic and diplomatic
survival and its major foreign policy objective was to keep its seat in the United Nations
Security Council, while South Africa was dependent on the major Western powers as its
trading partners and sources of investment.
Phase Two (1971-1994): After the ROC was ousted from the UN in 1971, and South
Africa became more isolated in the 1970s, the two countries started to strengthen the
ROC-RSA
political
and economic
needed each other.
partnership.
During this period both countries
As the two economies were basically complementary
and both
countries experienced common international isolation before 1994, a strong relationship
developed between the ROC and the RSA.
Each country considered the other as a
strategic partner in the common endeavour of economic development.
1980s, the economic co-operations
deepened.
Throughout the
South Africa supplied the ROC with
minerals, raw material products and marine resources, while the ROC, in turn, provided
capital, investments, manufactured goods and technical co-operation for South Africa.
The ROC's investments focused mainly on the rural homelands and in the border areas.
The broad-based
economic co-operations
reflected the convergence
of the national
interests of the two countries during 1971-1994. The relationship of this historical phase
was mutually beneficial in terms of economic interests, but politically the ROC alienated
the black majority in South Africa, which eventually boomeranged
against the ROC's
efforts to maintain its diplomatic ties with the RSA after 1994.108
Phase Three (1994-1997): After 1994, South Africa emerged from international isolation
to become
a regional
power and a normal
sanctions had been lifted.
position in the world.
democracy.
International
economic
Liberated from apartheid, South Africa regained its normal
Despite its domestic development
demands,
South Africa's
foreign policy once again reverted back to the traditional focus on the West, in particular
the European Union (EU) and the USA as well as the African continent.
circumstances,
Under these
the issue of relations with the PRC and the ROC became a sensitive
and awkward matter.
The RSA did not really need the ROC as in the past.
national interests of the RSA and the ROC started to diverge as from 1994.
The
To keep
the jewel in its diplomatic crown, the ROC tried desperately to retain its diplomatic links
with South Africa at all costs.
accorded to South Africa.
As ana lysed above, various forms of assistance were
During this historical phase (1994-1997), due to diplomatic
issues, the ROC needed the RSA more than the other way round.
Phase Four (1998 to date): When the South African government started to establish full
diplomatic ties with the PRC and to derecognise the ROC as from January 1st, 1998,
the balance of power changed.
The ROC lost its most cherished diplomatic ally. The
days of special diplomatic/political
consideration were over.
South Africa had become
just one of the countries which maintained de facto substantive relations with the ROC.
The RSA's trade with the ROC represents only 0.8% of the ROC's total annual trade,
while South Africa's trade with the ROC constitutes
about 2.9% of the RSA's total
annual trade. 109 The ROC's investment in South Africa is only 0.25% of its total foreign
exchange reserves but 0.8% of all foreign investment in South Africa, while the RSA has
no investment in the ROC.110
Therefore, South Africa is not that important to the ROC
in terms of the ROC's overall economic relations.
It is important to note that, as from
the 1990s, the ROC's entrepreneurs have gradually shifted their focus and interest from
the RSA to mainland China due to the PRC's low labour costs, relatively better security
situation,
similar culture
organised trade union.
investment.
and language,
and in particular
its banning
of any real
The Chinese mainland has become the hotspot for Taiwanese
By the latter half of the 1990s, Taiwanese businesses had invested over
US$20 billion in the Chinese mainland, as compared to the US$1.5 billion worth of
investments in the RSA.lll
How the RSA can continue to attract ROC direct investment
in the future will be a great challenge
government.
and a serious task for the South African
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
32.
33.
L.M.S. Slawecki, "The Two Chinas in Africa", in Foreign Affairs, Vol.41, No.2, January 1963, pp.398401,406-409.
B.J. Lin, ~he Republic of China and Africa", pp.152-153.
TLOArchives, Pretoria: ROC Embassy's telex to MOFA, No. 373, Dec. 13th, 1996, p.2.
M.J. Davies, South Africa and Taiwan' Managing the Post-Diplomatic Relationship, p.7
United States' Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, Background Notes' South Africa,
March 1990, p.8.
South Africa Yearbook 1998, p.99.
C. Ogden, "The Post-Miracle Phase" in Iirne, September 16th, 1996, Vol.148, No.12, pp.52-53.
Office of the Economic Counsellor, the ROC Embassy, mi21-mijM!fi'4:f1&, 1997-1998 (Annual
Report on the Economic and Trade Situation of the Overseas Markets 1997-1998), pp.25-26.
The Republic of China Yearbook 1996, p.193.
Ibid., p.156.
South Africa Yearbook, 1998, p.211.
Office of the Economic Counsellor, Annual Report, 1997-1998, p.16.
C. Schive, "The Economic Dimension of the Taiwan Experience" in University of South Africa
(ed.), The Taiwan Experience' Implications for South Africa, pp.23-24.
Ibid.
P.K. Chiang, A Window of the Taiwan's Economic Development Experience, March 1999, p.12.
G.B. Woods, Taiwanese Investment in the Homelands of South Africa, D.Phil. thesis, Ohio
University 1991, p.169.
Council for Economic Planning and Development of the ROC, Taiwan Statistical Data Book,
1996, pp.203-205.
Ibid., pp.194-202.
Directorate-General of BUdget,Accounting and Statistics, Executive Yuan of the ROC, Statistical
Yearbook of the Republic of China, 1975, p.138.
Ibid.
Ibid., pp.139-140.
Ibid.
See the minutes of the 189th meeting of the Central Standing Committee ofthe Kuomintang, held
at Taipei, on October 22nd, 1980.
The Economic Counsellor's Office of the ROC Embassy, i¥i1E*~iJ!ffli'i¥f&(Briefings on the RSA
Economy), 16th-30th June, 1983, No.19, Table 10.
Board of Foreign Trade of the ROC Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and China External
Trade Development Council (CETRA), mi21-mf;i*~fi'1f:.¥f&, 1991-1992 (Annual Report on the
Economic and Trade Situation of the Overseas Markets, 1991-1992), p.1168.
M. Havenga, ~he Dilemma of the Two Chinas: An Economic Perspective", in SAIIA Research
Group (ed.), South Africa and the TWOChina's Dilemma, p.35.
See the statistics on trade with South Africa in Commonwealth News Release, Autumn 1988.
SAIIA, South African Yearbook of International Affairs 1996, p.169.
Ibid.
SAIIA, South African Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No.1, Summer 1998, p.43.
See Table 6. The trade surplus derives from SA's Export to the ROC minus SA's Import from
the ROC (ROC Export to SA).
See "Values of 1998 Exports/Imports from the RSA to the ROC and the Ten Principals of
Econornicllndustrial Sectors" in the Report of the Economic Division of the TLO submitted to the
Co-ordination Meeting of the TLO held on August 30th, 1999, p.1. The data is based on the
statistics of the ROC Customs.
Ibid.
34.
35.
36.
37.
38.
39.
40.
41.
42.
43.
44.
45.
46.
47.
48.
49.
50.
51.
52.
53.
54.
55.
56.
57.
58.
59.
60.
61.
62.
63.
64.
65.
66.
67.
68.
69.
70.
71.
The Economic Counsellor's Office of the ROC Embassy, m1E*~i1!'jIm¥l&
(Briefings on the RSA
Econom~), No. 21, July 1983, ppA-12.
The Economic Division's Report, August 30th, 1999, p.2.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: 5i$ft:J'ti!t*~tfjr.tt:p~*~i1!'jd(Minister Kwang-shi Chang's visit to
the RSA to attend the ROG-RSA Ministerial Conference), MOEA dispatch No. 41872, pp.1-8.
Ibid.
Ibid., Agreed Minutes, pp.4-5.
Barber and Barratt, South Africa's Foreign PolicY, pp.324-25; Also see S. Gelb, South Africa's
Economic Crisis, pp.27-29.
G. Segal, The World Affairs Companion, pp.276-277.
Gelb, South Africa's Economic Crisis, p.3.
Barber and Barratt, South Africa's Foreign policY, p.324.
Segal, The World Affairs Companion, p.277.
J.P. Hayes, Economic Effects of Sanctions on Southern Africa, p.26.
Officjal Yearbook of the RepUblicof South Africa, 1977, pp. 340-342.
Woods, Taiwanese Investment in the Homelands of South Africa, pp.146-151, 166-167.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: The minutes of the 189th meeting of the Central Standing Committee of
the Kuomintang, pp.1-4.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Woods, Taiwanese Investment in the Homelands of South Africa, p.7.
See "Millions Invested Overseas By Taiwanese Residents in 1987", in Free China Journal,
February 29th, 1988, p.4.
See "VP [Vice President] Says ROC Facing Difficulties" in Free China Journal, May 25th, 1987,
pA.
Woods, Taiwanese Investment in the Homelands of South Africa, p.167.
Ibid., p.171.
Ibid., p.167.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: 19961¥~l&I~~
(1996 Census of ROC Investment in South Africa),
Press Release: 620 ROC Business Aid SA Economic Growth, July 1996, pp.1-4.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Mustek Ltd., 1999 Annual Report, pp.2, 7-8.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: 1996 Census, p.3.
Ibid., p.4.
Ibid., p.3.
Personal information: the author's discussions with Dr. Blaze Nzimande, General Secretary of
the SACP, on December 13th, 1994 and with P. Ngcobo ofCOSATU, and Jabu Ngcobo, General
Secretary of SACTWU, on March 18th, 1996 in Durban.
Revelation made by Ambassador I-cheng Loh of the ROC to the RSA during the co-ordination
meeting held on February 28th, 1996 at the ROC Embassy, Pretoria.
The Amended Bilateral Air Services Agreement between the ROC government and the R$A
govemment was signed on November 15th, 1991. For the full text of the agreement, see MOFA
t:p51-~*~.~
(Treaties between the Republic of China and Foreign States), Vol.9, 1991-1992,
pp.268-274.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: Uft:J'ti!t*~tfjr.tt:pgi1!'jd
(Minister Kwang-shi Chang's visit to
the RSA to attend ROG-RSA Ministerial Conference), Agreed Minutes, pp.22-23.
Ibid., The ROC Embassy's telex to MOFA, no.948, May 25th, 1982, pp.1-2. See also The Star,
August 18th, 1980 (SA-Taiwan air service).
Ibid., The statement made by the ROC Foreign Minister, J.H. Chl;Jng,after meeting with his
counterpart, A.B. Nzi, at the Diplomatic Guest House, Pretoria, on D.~cember5th, 1996, pp.1-2.
Central News Agency (CNA) report from Taipei, April 9th, 1987; See also "A Bridgehead in Asia"
in Far Eastern Economic Review, March 3rd, 1983, p.23.
72.
73.
74.
75.
76.
77.
78.
79.
80.
81.
82.
83.
84.
85.
86.
87.
88.
89.
90.
91.
92.
93.
94.
95.
96.
97.
98.
99.
100.
101.
Complied from the ROC Tourism Bureau's statistics, SATOUR's Annual Tables of Total Visitors
Arrivals and the figures of total visas issued to South African visitors to the ROC by the three
ROC offices in South Africa.
Official Yearbook of the Republic of South Afoca, 1977, p.419.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: 1996 1f.MWlItmlB!f (1996 Census of ROC Investment), Press
Release, p.3.
Ibid.
Ibid.
M. Glinzer, "Not a Zero-sum Game: SA, Taiwan and China" in SAIIA's Intelligence Update,
24/2000, p.2.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: tp3€~~lIIf*~~.~IIIi}~~
(ROe-RSA Economic Relations and
Related Documents of the Economic Counsellor's Office of the ROC Embassy): Agreed Minutes
of the Fifth Session of Economic and Technical Co-operation Conference between the ROC and
the RSA, Pretoria 11th_16th
November, 1982, pp.16-17.
Ibid.
G, Mills, "South Africa and the Two Chinas" in South African Yearbook of International Affairs,
19.96, p.169.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: Ambassador I-cheng Loh's speech at the Boskop Training Centre's
Annual Address Award Function, at the Banquet Halls, Potchesfstroom, October 2~, 1995, p.1.
Overseas Chinese Gazette, May 6th, 1997, ~~$m'4: "tp3€Hf*~rr:l'MWiWllI (Full text of
Consul-General Tai Feng's speech: "The Issue of ROC-RSA Relationship and its Perspective''),
p.13.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: tp3€ITx~ (The Severance of ROC-RSA Diplomatic Relations), The
List of the ROC's Grants, Loans, Co-operation Projects and Arms Procurements, 1994-1997,
pp.1-2.
T. Sono, "The Case for Dual Recognition" in SAIIA Research Group (ed.), South Africa and the
Two Chinas Dilemma, p.80.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: Ambassador Loh's speech at the Boskop Training Centre, entitled "SA
Needs Small Farmer", October 2~, 1995, pp.1-3.
The Citizen, December 8th,1995 (President signs R146m pact with ROC).
The ROC's Ambassador, I-cheng Loh's assessment which was made around June 1996.
M. Havenga, "The Dilemma of the Two Chinas: An Economic Perspective" in SAIIA Research
Group (ed.), South Africa and the Two Chinas Dilemma, p.43.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: The List of the ROC's Grants, p.4.
Ibid., The statement made by the ROC Foreign Minister, J.H. Chang at Pretoria, on December
5th,1996, pp.1-2.
Ibid., The List of the ROC's Grants, p.5.
Ibid., Ambassador I-Cheng Loh's speech at the Boskop Training Centre, October 2~, 1995, p.4.
See also Chiao Tung Bank's fax to the Development Bank of South Africa regarding the
repayment of a loan of US$15.482 million, dated March 1~, 2000; No.3133629, p.1.
Ibid., pp.1-5; Interviews with Mr Louis Yun-Hua Hu, Manager of the Bank of Taiwan in
Johannesburg, on February 18th,1999 and November 26th, 1999 respectively. The total ROC
loans to South Africa until December 1999 amounts to US$230 million.
Ibid., The List of the ROC's Grants, pp.1-5; Also see G. Mills, "The Case for Exclusive
Recognition" in SAIIA and the Foundation for Global Dialogue (00.), South Africa and the Two
Chinas Dilemma, p.92.
Ibid., p.93.
Ibid., the List of the ROC's Grants, pp.1-5.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Mills, "The Case for Exclusive Recognition", p.93.
Davies, "South Africa and Taiwan", p.7.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: telex from TLO, Pretoria, to MOFA, No.735, January 6th,1999, p.3
102.
103.
104.
105.
106.
107.
108.
109.
110.
111.
Ibid., tf!~U..g-{'F (The ROC-RSA Fishery Co-operation), Minutes of A Meeting Held In Terms
th
of The Bilateral Agreement Between the ROC and the RSA At Cape Town On 8th and 9
December, 1998, pp.2-5.
Ibid.
Ibid., telex from TLO, Pretoria, to MOFA, No.735, p.3.
Ibid., telex from TLO in Cape Town to MOFA, No. CT756, May 2nd, 1997 and its enclosure:
Agreement Made and Entered Into By and Between the South African Transport Services and
the Consulate-General of the Republic of China, November 30th, 1989.
Ibid., telex from TLO in Cape Town to MOFA, No. CT244, December 11th, 1998, p.1 and Telex
No. CPT485, November 10th, 1999, p.1.
Ibid., telex from MOFA to TLO in Pretoria, No. 057, February 23rd, 1999, p.1.
The author's discussions with Messrs. Blaze Nzimande, P. Ngcobo and Jabu Ngcobo in March
1996.
G. Mills, ·South Africa and the Two Chinas· in SAIIA (ed), South African Yearbook of
International Affairs, 1996, p.169.
Ibid.
The ROC Government Information Office (GIO), a pamphlet entitled What is China Today?,
October 2000, p.1.
There was widespread speculation that South Africa may have collaborated with Israel
and the ROC in the development of nuclear weapons during the 1970s-1980s.1
From
time to time, international concern was raised in the UN General Assembly regarding
the alleged clandestine co-operation in the development of nuclear technology.
allegation
was strongly
denied
by the relevant
governments.
The
community was even more mystified when F.W. de Klerk dramatically
Parliament
on
manufactured
March
24th,
1993
by South Africa,
that
six powerful
nuclear
devices
but that they had been subsequently
This
international
disclosed
had
in
been
destroyed.2
Despite some efforts made to interpret this unsubstantiated allegation, the truth has not
been fully unfolded
allegation.
and no official evidence
has been produced
to back up the
As a non-nuclear weapon country, why would the ROC consider developing
its nuclear co-operation with the RSA? What were the motives? What did the ROC and
the RSA actually achieve in their secret collaboration?
these co-operative
projects
simply for peaceful purpose?
implemented?
In what circumstances
Was the bilateral
were
nuclear co-operation
Was there ever any attempt at testing nuclear bombs?
What effects did the nuclear co-operation have on the economic development of the two
countries?
These questions are still shrouded in mystery.
The objective of this chapter is to give insight into the nature of ROC-RSA
operation during the 1970s-1980s.
nuclear co-
The specifics of the nuclear ties between South
Africa and Israel, if any, are not the subject of this study. The scope of this chapter is
confined to the ROC's nuclear co-operation with the RSA from the establishment
ROC-RSA
diplomatic
relations in 1976 to the beginning
of South Africa's
transformation in 1990. The content of this chapter is divided into four parts:
of
political
The first part looks into the short history of the ROC's energy crisis, the rise of its
nuclear industry and its demand for cheap nuclear fuel to sustain its economic growth.
The second part focuses on the attractiveness of South Africa as a source of supply of
nuclear fuel to meet the ROC's demand for the enriched uranium and the development
of the nuclear industry in South Africa. The third is devoted to the study of the nature of
ROC-RSA nuclear co-operation, its achievements and consequences.
While the fourth
part explores the termination of the bilateral nuclear co-operation and its impact on the
respective country's economic development and national security.
In the post-war epoch, although the ROC government had successfully
transformed
itself from being an agricultural backwater to an industrial powerhouse, it was vulnerable
to an energy shortage.
The ROC lacks any significant source of oil, natural gas or fuel.
As a small island-country,
the rivers are short and therefore
the hydropower
is
insufficient to me·et the increasing energy needs, while its coal and natural gas reserves
are also scarce. The ROC's energy vulnerability was compounded by the growth of its
population, the development of energy-intensive
economy.
industries and the shift of focus of its
This had further exacerbated the shortage of energy resources.
while the ROC is in the quest of rapid industrialisation
Therefore,
and export expansion,
it is
dependent on international energy supplies to sustain its expanding industries.3
Before the ROC government's
relocation from mainland China to Taiwan in 1949, the
population on the island of Taiwan was about six million.
economy
was
rudimentary.
mainly
Therefore,
based
on agriculture
In the 1940s, Taiwan's
and its industrial
her energy requirements
development
was
were minimal and the supply of
electricity was sufficient for Taiwan during the period prior to 1949.
However, with the
influx of about 1.6 million mainland Chinese into Taiwan during 1945-1949 and the
subsequent 3.3% high population growth rate during the 1950s-1960s, Taiwan's total
population rose from 6 million in 1945 to over 8 million in 1951, and further increased to
11 million in 1961,15 million in 1971, and 18 million in 1981.4
Under the pressure of population increment and the shortage of natural resources, the
ROC government
began the process of industrialisation
with export-oriented
industry in the 1950s-1960s, and gradually shifted to more energy-intensive
industries, the petrochemical
and the 1980s.
light
high-tech
sector, manufacturing and heavy industries in the 1970s
The expansion of industry, in particular the development
of heavy
industries such as shipbuilding and steel mills, had led to the increasing energy supply
needs.
The capacity of the electricity-generating
power installation system was not
sufficient to meet the demands for more electricity. To produce more energy supply, the
ROC had to import more crude oil from the Persian Gulf countries.
crude oil in 1976 were as high as twelve million kilolitres.
Total imports of
Therefore, throughout the
1970s, the ROC became more and more reliant on imported oil from the Middle East.
Oil was not only a prime source of energy, but also a primary material input for various
manufactured products.
In 1973-1974,
oil imports accounted for 10.3% of the ROC's
total imports by value, and in 1979, it leapt to 14.7%.
increased to 20.6%.5
By 1980, oil imports further
These figures showed that the ROC was heavily dependent on
imported oil as a major source of energy in the 1970s-1980s.
As already indicated in the previous chapter, the oil supply and oil price were volatile
during the oil crises of the 1970s.
ROC.
The abrupt rise in oil prices severely affected the
As a result of the oil crises, the ROC's economic growth and its efforts of
restructuring its economy were under threat.6
awkward
dependence
In order to disentangle itself from the
on the volatile oil import, the ROC government
deemed
it
imperative to find other alternative sources of energy. Attempts were made by the ROC
to diversify its procurement from different energy-producing
countries, which were in a
position to supply alternative energy to the ROC, so as to ensure the stability of the
energy supply and to sustain its economic growth.
Under these circumstances,
the
ROC government's strategy was to seek coal and nuclear power as alternative energy
resources.
Deeply shocked by the OPEC oil coercion and the subsequent USA switch
of recognition to the PRC, ROC planners feared that one day the USA might impose a
nuclear fuel embargo upon the ROC if the national interests of the USA and the ROC
became divergent.
To reduce the ROC's reliance on the USA and OPEC, as well as to
ensure the economic supply of energy for the future, the ROC government considered
the like-minded anti-Communist South Africa, with rich deposits of coal and uranium, as
a secure supplier of alternative energy to the ROC.7
In brief, it was the ROC's seeking of an alternative supply of energy and its strategy of
diversification
production.
that led the ROC to develop
its nuclear
industry
and coal energy
To meet the increasing demand for electricity, three nuclear plants were
built and eighteen coal-fired-thermal
power stations were constructed in the ROC since
the latter half of the 1970s. The first nuclear plant was officially commissioned
and the second one was completed in 1981.
in 1979
These two nuclear power stations are
situated in the north of Taiwan to supply electricity to the metropolis of Taipei, the
capital of the ROC, and the third nuclear power plant is located in the south of the island
to provide electricity for the city of Kaohsiung, one of the important industrial centres
and the biggest sea port of the ROC.8
The ROC government's
motivation to search for nuclear energy was clearly explained
by Chen-hsing Yen, the then Chairman of the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) of the ROC
Executive Yuan (Cabinet):
The expense and the insecurity that go with dependence on imported fuel
were underlined for Taiwan by the recent boycott and price-hike of oil by
the OPEC nations. The need to seek alternate sources of energy both for
economic and national security reasons was made very plain.
With her
ambitious plans for an industrial future and her limited supply of natural
resources, Taiwan made the decision to turn to nuclear energy as a power
source.9
5.3
THE ROC'S ENERGY STRATEGY
AND THE ATTRACTIVENESS
OF THE
RSA TO THE ROC
In order to meet its increasingly pressing energy needs, a blueprint (guideline) of the
ROC's energy strategy and future economic development policy was formulated by the
leadership
of the ROC government
during the 189th meeting
of Central' Standing
nd
,?ommittee of the Kuomintang (KMT), the ROC's ruling party, held on October 22
1980.
,
The said meeting was presided over by the ROC Premier, Sun Yun-suan.
According to the resolution of this meeting, the ROC should take advantage of South
Africa's abundant minerals, energy resources and metal products to diversify the ROC's
energy imports and to pursue the economic development of the ROC.
Furthermore,
despite the possible political risks and unfavourable implications, the ROC government
was resolved
to strengthen
ROC-RSA
economic
co-operation
and to step up its
procurement of minerals such as uranium, coal, iron ore and energy-related
such as steel, copper and aluminium from South Africa.
products
The RSA was viewed by the
ROC leadership as an important energy supplier and economic strategic partner during
the 1980s in its blueprint for further economic development and the diversification
energy imports.
of
The decision was made on account of the ROC's new economic
strategy and the following considerations:
10
Firstly, the underlying consideration was the factor of energy resources and the ROC's
new strategy of industrial development directed towards high-tech and energy-saving
industries since 1980. Given the shortage of energy resources and the impacts of world
oil crises on the overall economy of the ROC, the policy for the development of the ROC
industries was to phase out those of energy-consuming
energy-saving enterprises.
and petro-chemical
government
and to develop
In line with this policy, the development of heavy industries
industries
encouraged
industries
were to be discontinued
the labour intensive
in the ROC.
light industry
The ROC
and energy-consuming
industries to be relocated to or established in countries where energy resources and
manpower were sufficient.
This was why the ROC set up a huge fertiliser production
factory in Saudi Arabia and many labour-intensive industries started to relocate to South
Africa and other countries as from the 1980s.11
Secondly, South Africa was well suited for the diversification
of the ROC's energy
imports due to South Africa's endowment with abundance of minerals and commodities
such as coal, uranium, steel, aluminium, copper, zinc which can be easily conversed
and utilised by the ROC's industries.
economic partner.
Therefore, the RSA was viewed an ideal strategic
12
Thirdly, owing to the availability of abundant easily mined coal, South Africa's electricity
cost was much cheaper than the ROC's.
For instance, in the ROC, the cost for coal
which was ready to be used for power generation was USA$50.00 per ton (including the
cost of shipping, storage and expenses of the construction of special pier for coal offloading).
But in the RSA, it cost merely USA$8-00 per ton. Consequently, the strategy
adopted by the ROC leadership was to invest in countries producing raw materials and
to enhance bilateral co-operation with mineral, or oil-rich countries, such as South Africa
and Saudi Arabia to develop and explore energy resources.
In the meantime, the
decisions were also made to purchase the energy-related manufactured products from
South Africa.
By doing so, it was envisaged that the energy consumption in the ROC
could be reduced and the continued industrial development would be sustainable.13
Driven by the economic
need and the above-mentioned
considerations,
the ROC
government began to assess the feasibility of the nuclear energy co-operation with the
RSA from the year of 1979 shortly after the second oil crisis.
~he earliest history of the ROC's attempts to produce atomic bombs dated back to
1945. Deeply impressed by the devastating effects of the implosion of the two atomic
bombs dropped on Japan by the USA over Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945 and over
Nagasaki three days later, Chiang Kai-shek was eager to tap into nuclear secrets to
produce an atomic bomb while he was still in control of mainland China, shortly after the
end of the Second World War. The purpose was to boost the prestige of China, which
was considered as one of the "Big Five" at the time.
To obtain sufficient nuclear
technology, he assigned three pre-eminent Chinese scientists to be in charge of the
development of nuclear fission at Chungking in 1945, and five Chinese physicists were
selected and sent by Chiang to the USA in 1946 to conduct their research on the
developments of atomic bombs. It was only when these five physicists arrived in the
USA that they realised that the Americans had no intention of sharing their nuclear
technology with the ROC physicists. The ROC's early endeavour in developing its own
nuclear weapons was thus dashed.14
But Chiang Kai-shek's aspiration to possess an atomic bomb never ceased in spite of
the fact that he was defeated by the Chinese Communists in the civil war. As soon as
he re-established himself in Taiwan, Chiang Kai-shek was constantly intrigued by the
massive explosion power of nuclear fission devices. He consulted the physicists on the
issue. However, most of the ROC physicists were against developing nuclear weapons,
and the Americans strongly opposed his plan. The real stumbling block was that the
ROC could not obtain fission materials without the consent of the USA and that the
ROC itself had no nuclear resources. As a small island country, the ROC's nuclear
activities and testing of nuclear devices could not escape the USA's detection and
surveillance. Moreover, the production and supply of enriched uranium were under the
control of the USA. The ROC had no uranium enrichment plant either. These were the
unfavourable factors that prevented Chiang Kai-shek from realising his dream.15
Furthermore, the ROC's shortage of energy resources also constrained the ROC
government to opt for nuclear technological development for peaceful purposes.
In
order to meet its electricity needs, it was necessary for the ROC to phase in nuclear
power stations from the 1970s as a back-up to coal-fired, oil-generated and hydro
power stations. Mindful of the sensitivity of nuclear non-proliferation and the importance
of acquiring the technical ability to produce its own nuclear weapons, Chiang Kai-shek
decided to adopt a two-pronged approach.
On the one hand, he placed all of the ROC
nuclear activities under international safeguard so as to have rights and privileges to
share nuclear technology and uranium resources with the USA and to develop and build
nuclear power stations.
On the other hand, he launched the ROC's nuclear research
and development programme in the middle of the 1950s.16
To co-ordinate nuclear research and development, the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) of
the ROC Executive Yuan (Cabinet) was established in the early 1950s to serve as a
special governmental
agency responsible for the planning and policy formulation
nuclear energy research and the development of nuclear-related
of
projects in the ROC.
In 1956, the first Atomic Science Research Institute was founded in National Tsing Hua
University, near the city of Hsinchu, in the northern part of Taiwan.
In order to develop
nuclear physics and engineering, the first test was conducted and the first research
nuclear reactor installed in the said university, and the laboratory was provided with the
necessary
apparatus and equipment.
Most of the graduates
of the Department of
Nuclear Physics of Tsing Hua University and the Atomic Science Research Institute,
and the ROC senior nuclear scientists and physicists went to the USA and the UK for
further training and advanced studies.
Institute of Technology
In particular, they went to the Massachusetts
(MIT), USA, to study nuclear fuel management
or the United
Kingdom Atomic Energy Association (UKAEA) in England to study advanced nuclear
safety in the 1960s.
Professional on-the-job training in regard to nuclear fuel design,
nuclear power generation and management, and nuclear reactor technology was also
provided
by various Western
companies
such as General
Electricity
(G.E.),
and
Westinghouse.17
For ordinary scientific research and development, the National Science Council (NSC)
was created in the late 1950s to oversee academic
universities
and
other
academic
research
and scientific research in the
institutes.
The
NSC
appropriated
approximately USA$46.7 million annually for the management of the Hsinchu Sciencebased Industrial Park. This industrial park turned out to be a great success, and it has
been commonly called "Taiwan's Silicon Valley".
For commercial and industry-oriented
scientific advancement,
technology-intensive
the ROC Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) also promoted
and
industry
applied
research.
The
Industrial
Technology
Research Institute (ITRI) was founded by the MOEA to serve this purpose with special
emphasis on electronic and information technology research.18
For the development of military weaponry and national defence technology
including
nuclear and missile research and development for the military, the Ministry of National
Defence set up and funded the Chung shan Institute of Science and Technology (CIST)
to conduct the research and development on military science-technology
projects such
as the testing of missiles and the design of various weaponry and fighter jets.
NSC, Hsinchu Science-based
development
institutes.
Industrial Park and ITRI are non-nuclear
But these institutes worked hand-in-hand
The
research and
with the afore-said
nuclear agencies such as the AEC and CIST to further the advancement of science and
technology.
The ROC government
above-mentioned
has spent huge amounts of capital from the budgets of the
various governmental agencies to develop scientific expertise and to
cultivate the relevant experts and scientists, so as to develop advanced technology and
produce high-tech products in the increasingly competitive world market. As a result of
the focus of the ROC government on the research and development of technology and
science, as well as its efforts in education and economic developments,
produced a number of experienced
scientists and physicists.
studied in the USA and other industrialised
the ROC has
Many of them have
countries and have had three years of
research experience outside the classroom. By 1994, the number in the research work
force in the ROC exceeded 92 000. Among them, 55 000 persons held B.Sc., MSc., or
Ph.D. degrees.19
Although both the AEC and the NSC had its own Chairman, the minister responsible for
the overall development of science and technology including nuclear industry was K.T.
Li, a graduate of Cambridge, who was well-known for his efficiency and his knowledge
in nuclear physics and economic development.
Nevertheless, apart from the AEC, the
main organisation
that implemented
Taiwan Power Company
(Taipower).
ROC-RSA
nuclear collaboration
The AEC was merely responsible
development, planning and policy formulation.
projects was
for nuclear
The actual implementation of ROC-RSA
nuclear co-operation programme was carried out by Taipower.
It was Taipower and the
AEC which teamed up with the Uranium Enrichment Corporation of South Africa Limited
(Ucor) and Atomic Energy Board (AEB) to develop the nuclear industry in the RSA,20
Taipower is a state corporation, but nominally, it is under the monitoring and supervision
of the Commission of National Corporations of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA)
~f the ROC. However, in fact, Taipower is a semi-independent
state corporation.
The
main function of Taipower was to develop, generate, supply and market electric power
for the entire area of Taiwan.
energy procurement
Taipower is solely responsible for all of the function of
and distribution,
and owns and operates
37 hydropower,
18
thermal and three nuclear plants. These three nuclear power stations which housed six
nuclear units generated 24.5% of the ROC's total electrical output in 1994.21 Taipower's
nuclear power research programme dates back to 1953.
On December 8th, 1953, the President of the USA, Dwight D. Eisenhower, addressed
the General Assembly of the UN on the subject of atoms for peace.
This speech
became known as "President Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace Initiative" which in turn, led
to the First International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva
in 1955. Agreements were soon reached by the major powers to set up an international
agency to regulate the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to inspect the related
nuclear facilities, so that the enriched uranium would not be used for military weapons.
It was through Eisenhower's
Energy Agency
"Atoms for Peace Initiative" that the International Atomic
(IAEA) was officially formed
in 1957 in Vienna to control nuclear
materials and equipment, and to ensure their peaceful utilisation throughout the world.22
In dire need of cheap and clean energy sources other than oil and coal for the
increasing energy consumption resulting from expansion of its industries and economy
in Taiwan, the ROC government saw the advent of President Eisenhower's "Atoms for
Peace Initiative" as a godsend opportunity to alleviate the ROC's energy problem.
In
view of the limits of oil, coal and gas as explained earlier, it seemed to the ROC
government
that nuclear power would be the answer to the scarcity of its existing
energy resources and growing energy demands.
By associating
with Eisenhower's
"Atoms for Peace Initiative", the ROC government believed that the ROC would be able
to share the know-how and fissionable materials for the generation of electric power and
various subsidiary uses of radioactivity in agriculture, medicine and other fields.
As the ROC was still one of the UN Security Council's permanent members during the
1950s and maintained
close diplomatic
relations with the USA, it had a bilateral
agreement with the USA to participate in Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace Programme"
In response to the said "Atoms for Peace Initiative", the ROC government designated
Taipower
to establish
an Atomic
Power Study Committee
within
the company
of
Taipower, and under this committee, an Atomic Power Department was formed in 1955
to proceed with the research and development of the nuclear power programme.
In
1956, when the Statute Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
was open to all members of the UN, the ROC became one of the more than 60 member
states of the IAEA.
October
From the first session of the IAEA, which was held in Vienna in
1957, the ROC routinely sent its delegation
Conferences
to attend the IAEA General
until the ROC's withdrawal from the UN in 1971.
But even though the
ROC was no longer an official member state of the UN and the IAEA after 1971, the
agreement which the ROC concluded with the IAEA was still binding. and the ROC
undertook to abide by the regulations of the IAEA. Therefore, the ROC's nuclear power
plants were still subject to the international safeguards inspection system of the IAEA.
In conforming to this system and to the spirit of President Eisenhower's
"Atoms for
Peace Initiative", the ROC was able to share nuclear information and technology with
the USA from the 1950s onwards. There was close co-operation between the ROC and
the USA. The USA assisted the ROC in building three nuclear power plants and signed
a long-term contract with the ROC to supply enriched uranium and nuclear reactors to
the ROC for the production of nuclear power.
The two countries also engaged in a
programme of the exchange and training of the ROC scientists and experts in the
related fields since the 1950s.23
By 1964, anticipating that the ROC's electricity consumption would double in every 5-6
year period, Taipower decided to build nuclear power plants.
The experts of the IAEA
and the USA were invited to visit the ROC to identify suitable sites for the construction
of nuclear power stations on the island in 1964. But the construction of the ROC's first
nuclear power station in Chinshan, a coastal area near Taipei, started only in November
1969.
The first nuclear reactor began to operate in 1977 and the second nuclear
reactor functioned
as from December 1978.
housed the above-mentioned
24
1979.
The first nuclear power station, which
two nuclear reactors, was officially
commissioned
in
In the wake of the first world oil crisis of 1973, the ROC government hastened
to build two more nuclear power stations.
power plant commenced
Construction of the ROC's second nuclear
in November 1974 and was completed in June 1982.
The
third nuclear power station was under construction as from May 1978 and finished in
January 1985.25
In addition to the said three nuclear power stations, which had been built before 1985,
Taipower was planning to build three more nuclear power plants at a later stage. The
plan for building the fourth nuclear power station was submitted to and approved by the
ROC cabinet in May 1980. The construction site was chosen at the area of Gung-Liao
in the north of Taiwan.
The land had been procured and prepared for the construction
during 1981-82.
But on April 26th, 1986, one of the nuclear reactors at Chernobyl,
near Kiev in the
Ukraine, blew up. The Chernobyl calamity caused not only casualties, fallout and longterm effects over a vast area in the Ukraine, but also a great fear and anxiety in the
minds of the Taiwanese general public. The fear was not groundless in view of the fact
that these nuclear power stations which the ROC government
built or intended to
construct are all very close to the densely populated metropolis of Taipei, Keelung,
Kaohsiung and other scenic residential coastal areas.
As a result of the Chernobyl
disaster, the conservationist
groups, the Democratic Progressive
people near the construction
Party and the local
sites, were provided with enormous
support from the
general public to lobby the ROC Legislative Yuan (Parliament) to block the construction
of the fourth nuclear power station from 1986 onwards.26
of the ROC, the Kuomintang,
Although the then ruling party
forced the issue through the Parliament
during the
budgetary debate of July 1ih, 1994, the local residents still strongly objected to the
construction of new nuclear power stations.
So far, this contentious issue is far from
being settled. Ever since 1986, the ROC government has been faced with the dilemma
of putting up with increasing electricity shortage or pushing its way through the strong
objection to build more nuclear power stations.27
In the process of developing
its own nuclear industry, the ROC, with its industrial
technique and possession of nuclear reactors, has secured the necessary capability
and the technical skills to make nuclear bombs since the mid-1970s.
Despite the
sophisticated safeguards inspection system of the IAEA, the ROC scientists and nuclear
physicists could have covertly converted some of its nuclear facilities to weapons grade
production, or diverted a portion of highly-enriched
uranium from civil to military use
without great difficulty if the ROC leadership wished to do so.
shek died from a heart attack on April 5th, 1975.
government,
namely Chiang Ching-kuo,
However, Chiang Kai-
The new leader of the ROC
the son of Chiang Kai-shek, chose not to
pursue the development of atomic bombs, and he terminated the ROC nuclear weapons
research
and development
programme
due to the above-mentioned
unfavourable
factors and American pressure, despite the ROC's attainment of technology to produce
nuclear bombs.28
The ROC's capability to produce nuclear weapons was confirmed by Chiang Ching-kuo,
the then Premier of the ROC. On September 1ih, 1975, five months after the death of
his father, Chiang Ching-kuo was questioned
by the reporters of the United Press
International (UP I) about whether or not the ROC intended to make nuclear bombs or
not.
He solemnly declared that "The ROC does have the technical ability to make its
own nuclear weapons, but it will never proceed to develop atomic bombs or nuclear
weapons.,,29
This statement was the earliest report that the ROC was capable of producing its own
atomic bomb, although it did not intend to do so. Chiang's landmark statement clearly
indicated that the ROC's nuclear programme was for peaceful purposes, not for the
making of nuclear weapons.
This was the official policy of the ROC's nuclear industry,
despite the growing pressure on the ROC government to work on nuclear weapons
production to counter the PRC's nuclear testings.
The said statement was mainly
aimed at assuring the USA and the IAEA that the ROC was merely interested in the
peaceful applications of nuclear power. The statement was made against a background
of increasing diplomatic difficulties experienced by the ROC after its expulsion from the
UN and the death of the President of the ROC. The world community was also deeply
concerned about the possibility of nuclear proliferation because of the explosion of a
nuclear
device
in 1974 in India.3D
Chiang's
clarification
had soothed
American
apprehensions to a certain extent.
But the USA government, in particular the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), still kept
the ROC under surveillance and monitored its nuclear research programme from time to
time. In order to do so, the CIA had planted its secret agents in the senior hierarchy of
the ROC government and Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (CIST) which
was responsible for the research and development of the ROC's military weapons and
defence industry.
The most famous case in point was the infiltration of Colonel Chang
Hsien-yi into the CIST.
Institute of the CIST.
Colonel Chang was the Deputy Director of Nuclear Research
He had been bribed and recruited by the CIA to secretly monitor
the ROC's nuclear research programme for the USA for a long time.
confidential
He escaped with
nuclear research files and related information to the USA in December
1987. At one stage, the CIA even attempted to recruit the ROC's Deputy Minister of
Foreign Affairs, H.K. Yang, to work for the agency. The CIA offered him a considerable
payment that would be deposited in a Swiss bank account, a mansion in the USA and
American citizenship in exchange for his secret service to the CIA.
Yang, however,
declined to accept the CIA's offer.31 Interestingly enough, H.K. Yang was assigned by
the ROC government in 1979 as the Ambassador of the ROC to the RSA to enforce the
most sensitive ROC-RSA nuclear co-operation programme during 1979-1989.
The CIA
was prevented from knowing the true picture.
However, the ROC continued to be an observant non-nuclear weapon country despite
American suspicion and speculation.
The reasons why the ROC remained in the state
of a non-nuclear weapon country were twofold. In the first place, although the ROC had
enough scientific expertise and knowledge in engineering to build a nuclear device for
bomb testing, it was the political decision of the ROC government that was essential in
deciding the direction of its nuclear research and development.
The ROC leadership
had gradually realised that the problems of the ROC and its relations with the PRC were
basically political, not military. The possession of a nuclear weapon in the final analysis
would
not necessarily
consequence
solve
the
problems
of the two Chinas
which
were
the
of the political and economic differences between the Kuomintang (the
Nationalist Party) (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
It was believed that
the two Chinas could only be unified through peaceful political negotiations,
bloody military means.
not by
In line with this point of view, the late President of the ROC.
Chiang Kai-shek, had addressed his compatriots in his New Year's message of January
1st, 1967 indicating that "The important questions before us today are no longer how the
military counter-attack
on the mainland will be victorious or at what time the traitorous
Mao bandits will be killed ... rather, it is to point out that in the present anti-Mao war,
political means are even more important.,,32
This message clearly reflected that the ROC leadership perfectly understood that the
ROC's problems were political, rather than military.
the ROC to possess nuclear bombs.
Therefore, there was no need for
Emotionally and morally, the ROC could not use
nuclear bombs to attack the Chinese civilians residing in the mainland because they are
ethnically the same Han Chinese descendants.
Moreover, many high-ranking generals
and officials of the ROC government who came over to Taiwan with Chiang Kai-shek
still have relatives in mainland China.33
Secondly, the survival of the ROC was largely dependent on the continued prosperity of
its economy,
legitimacy.
not on its military might or international
diplomatic
recognition
of its
In order to sustain its economic growth and to solve the problem of its lack
of energy resources as analysed earlier, it was essential for the ROC to have access to
nuclear energy and fissile material for the peaceful uses of electricity.
The production of
nuclear bombs would not only cause further escalation of a deadly arms race in East
Asia, but also provoke the USA and Japan to impose sanctions against the ROC. The
detonation
of nuclear
bombs might boost the prestige
of the ROC in the world
community, but the international outrage and economic sanctions following the nuclear
tests would be much more detrimental to the export-oriented
island country and its
economy. After weighing the consequence, the ROC government decided to relinquish
the manufacture
prosperity.
of nuclear weapons, for the sake of the larger benefit of economic
Instead of developing
prol iferation.
nuclear bombs, it chose to support nuclear non-
34
In short, it was the economic
weapon state.
reality that compelled the ROC to be a non-nuclear
Under the constant pressure and surveillance of the USA, it would not
be possible for the ROC to acquire nuclear technology, equipment and fissile material
unless the ROC was prepared to either accept the USA demands for full scope
safeguards or to accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT).
The pressure
was so strong that the ROC was left with no choice but to sign the 1968 Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty.
The ROC deposited its instruments of ratification of the NPT on
J.anuary 1st, 1970.
The ROC thus became a party to the NPT, the international
instrument devised by the USA to contain nuclear proliferation.
As a signatory state of
the NPT, the ROC had to adhere to the statutory regulations of the NPT.
The NPT stipulated that the nuclear weapons signatory powers should not transfer
nuclear weapons or supply weapons technology to any non-nuclear weapons state, and
that non-nuclear
weapons
weapons
signatory
states may not receive nuclear weapons.
states were also required
to accept
Non-nuclear
the International
Atomic
Energy's system (or an equivalent system) to ensure that their non-military
facilities and materials would not be used for military purposes.35
nuclear
Although the ROC was bound by the provisions of Article I and Article II of the NPT
which prohibited
the ROC from supplying,
receiving,
transferring
or manufacturing
nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, all parties to the NPT were entitled
to participate in the fullest possible exchange of scientific information and to co-operate
with other countries for the further development of the applications of atomic energy for
peaceful purposes.
This was in accordance with the stipulation of Article IV Clause 1,
"Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the
Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for
peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of this
Treaty.,,36 Therefore, legally speaking, the ROC did have the right to co-operate with
the RSA in the nuclear field, so long as the co-operation was for peaceful purposes.
But while the tide of the international anti-Apartheid hostility mounted in the 1980s, why
did the ROC government risk offending world public opinion to step up the ROC-RSA
nuclear co-operation
programme?
What was the ROC up to?
Why did the two
Besides the factors of the ROC's shortage of energy resources
and its economic
countries band together?
strategy of diversification
of energy imports as explained above, the explanation also
lies in the ROC's fear of world power politics, its pursuit of safeguarding
its national
security and the RSA's isolation with respect to its nuclear relations with the major
Western countries from 1977 to 1990.
As already discussed, by 1978, the USA was
ready to normalise its relations with the PRC and abandon its official ties with Taipei.
In
December 1978, the then USA President Carter announced that the USA had decided
to establish full diplomatic relations with the PRC and to derecognise
effect from January 1St, 1979.
the ROC with
The Mutual Defense Treaty between the USA and the
ROC would be abrogated, but other treaties and agreements would remain in effect. 37
As a result of the break-up of ROC-USA diplomatic links and the termination
ROC-USA
of the
Mutual Defense Treaty, the ROC's national security was in jeopardy.
security concern was reflected by Chiang Ching-kuo's
The
official statement, which was
issued at a press conference in December 1978. Chiang pointed out:
The Sino-USA Mutual Defense Treaty signed in 1954 was designed to be
a vital link in the chain of collective defense system of free countries in the
West Pacific.
unstable
The situation in this region has not changed.
and insecure.
The threat
of invasion
It is still
and subversion
by
Communist forces to the free nations of Asia, particular after the fall of
Vietnam, is even more serious than before.
action to terminate
the Sino-USA
Mutual
Hence, the USA unilateral
Defense Treaty will further
destabilise this region and might create a new crisis of war.38
In addition to the feeling that its security was threatened,
the ROC government
and
people also feared that in its new strategic planning, the USA might use the ROC as a
pawn in the China· game.
There were particular concerns that the USA might either
sacrifice the ROC's interests to accommodate the PRC on the American international
geopolitical chessboard, or twist the ROC's arms to succumb to the traps of the PRC's
unification and "one country, two systems".
Moreover, there was the probability that the
PRC might outmanoeuvre the USA to harm the ROC's survival.39
The loss of trust in USA credibility was another factor contributing to the ROC's nuclear
co-operation
with the RSA.
Feeling slighted by the Carter administration,
the ROC
leadership could no longer fully trust the USA, and the downgrading of ROC-USA ties
had further led the ROC government to doubt the USA's commitment
ROC from an invasion by the Chinese communists.
to protect the
From the ROC leadership's
perspective, because of the USA's apparent lack of concern for the ROC's feelings, the
USA government might consider the ROC to be expendable.
The USA government's
lack of consultation with the ROC and the indifference of the Carter administration to the
ROC's strategic importance had deeply hurt the psyche of the ROC leadership.
As a
result of the damage caused by the USA's shifting of recognition towards Beijing, there
was a growing desire on the part of the ROC government to search for a new strategic
ally and to restore the ROC's dignity. To safeguard the country's national security and to
counter the PRC's threat against the ROC, the ROC government felt the need to take
definite steps to control its own destiny.4O
Knowing that the USA's normalisation
preservation
of relations with the PRC was inevitable, the
of the ROC's security and survival had become the common strategic
concern of the ROC government and its opposition movement.
The leadership of the
ROC, such as Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo, called for self-reliance.
The slogan of the ROC government was that "In the face of changes in the political and
diplomatic situation, we must combine perseverance
with calmness to tide over the
crisis and to man the helm for ourselves and assure our own success.,,41
Under the circumstances, the ROC was very keen on co-operating with South Africa to
assist the RSA in its production of enriched uranium so as to ensure the diversification
of uranium supply to the ROC.
5.5
THE ESTABLISHMENT
OF URANIUM AND NUCLEAR INDUSTRIES
IN THE
RSA
South Africa has long been known as one of the major producers of gold and uranium in
the Western World. To a large extent, South African uranium is largely a by-product of
the gold-mining industry as the gold reefs usually contain uranium.
are typified by lower-grade
sedimentary
particularly in the Witwatersrand
the northern Cape.42
Uranium deposits
deposits, which are found in various areas,
Basin, the northern Transvaal, the southern Karoo and
According to the evaluation made by the RSA's Atomic Energy Board (AEB) in 1981,
approximately
98% of South Africa's uranium was produced from the quartz pebble
conglomerate of the Witwatersrand
remainder
came from outside
carbonatite
Basin as a by-product or co-product of gold.
the Witwatersrand
deposit (a by-product
Basin, including
of copper), the uraniferous
The
the Phalaborwa
coal deposits of the
northern Transvaal, the sandstone occurrences in the southern Karoo, and the surficial
deposits of the northern Cape.43 South Africa's uranium deposits are so abundant that
South Africa ranked second in world uranium reserves, and that throughout the period
of the 1970s and 1980s, it was the second
largest producer
in world
uranium
production, accounting for approximately 20 percent of the Western World's uranium
exports.44 The afore-mentioned uranium deposits, however, did not include the wellknown Rossing uranium mine in SWAlNamibia which was still under South African rule
before Namibian independence
on March 21st, 1990.
deposits with those in SWAlNamibia,
If we combine South Africa's
South Africa was actually the most important
uranium source in the world prior to 1990.
The importance of South Africa's uranium resources was not fully appreciated by the
Western powers until the end of the Second World War, when the USA and Britain were
searching for uranium to manufacture atomic bombs.
In 1945, the two governments
assigned G.W. Bain and C F. Davidson, two top uranium specialists, to visit the Union
of South Africa. A systematic investigation was conducted to survey the potentialities of
uranium deposits
in South Africa.
This combined
survey concluded
evidence appears to indicate that the Rand [Witwatersrand]
that "Present
may be one of the largest
low-grade uranium fields in the world.,,45
In order to co-ordinate the development and research projects relating to uranium, the
Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa, Jan Smuts, appointed a Uranium Research
Committee in February 1946. The said Committee, in conjunction with the government
Metallurgical
Laboratory (GML), made concerted efforts to find the most economical
method of uranium extraction from the gold ores.
In the meantime, both Smuts and
later the National Party realised that legislation had to be introduced to control uranium
and nuclear
government
energy
development.
Towards
the end of 1947, the United Party
started to draft a comprehensive
Uranium Bill to regulate the related
activities.
However, the prospective legislation was never introduced to Parliament by
the United Party due to the general election held in May 1948 and its subsequent loss of
power.
It was the National Party government that enacted the Atomic Energy Act soon
after it came to power in 1948. The Atomic Energy Act (Act No. 35 of 1948) came into
force on January 15\ 1949.46
Based on this Act, the Atomic Energy Board (AEB) was established in 1948. The AEB's
function was primarily
to handle research and development
materials and techniques.
in respect of nuclear
Apart from the AEB, the Council for Science and Industrial
Research (CSIR) and some universities were also involved with nuclear research.
But
the final negotiations of sales contracts of extract uranium in concentrate form were
handled by the Nuclear Fuels Corporation of South Africa (pty) Ltd. 47
In 1959 the
Atomic Energy Act was amended to provide for the establishment of a nuclear research
and development programme at Pelindaba under the control of the AEB.
In 1970, the
Uranium Enrichment Corporation of South Africa Limited (Ucor) was established by the
Uranium Enrichment Act (Act 33 of 1970) and construction of a pilot plant at Pelindaba,
the Ucor site, commenced in the same year. The main purpose for the setting up of the
said pilot plant was to test a novel uranium enrichment process.48
To integrate the various nuclear research institutions, a new Nuclear Energy Act (Act 92
of 1982) was introduced
in 1982 to bring all the nuclear research and development
activities in South Africa funded by the State under the control of the Atomic Energy
Corporation
of
South
Africa
Limited
(AEC).
The
newly-established
Nuclear
Development Corporation of SA (Pty) Ltd. (Nucor - previously the AEB) and the Ucor
were to be subsidiary companies
of the AEC.
With effect from July 15\ 1985 the
activities of Nucor and Ucor were integrated and incorporated into the AEC under the
control of a single Board of Directors with an Executive Chairman
in terms of the
f':Juclear Energy Act of 1982 which superseded all previous legislation regarding nuclear
energy in South Africa.
The restructuring
organisation was thus completed by 1985.49
of all nuclear research and development
The prevention of nuclear proliferation and the control of the availability of fissionable
materials were the essential policy of the major powers in the post-war era. These
nuclear countries such as the USA, the Soviet Union, Britain, France and the PRe
aimed to monopolise the possession of nuclear weapons and to safeguard international
security.
The
1968 Nuclear
Non-Proliferation
Treaty
(NPT) and the systems
of
safeguards administered by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) constituted
initial steps in a long-term effort to restrain nuclear proliferation.
50
To prevent South Africa from making nuclear bombs, international safeguard measures
were also imposed on South Africa.
Although South Africa was the second largest
producer of uranium in the Western World with the second-largest proven reserves, South
Africa was restrained from developing its own enrichment process and acquiring the
technology of making both nuclear fuel fabrication and nuclear weapons.
was merely allowed to playa
South Africa
key role in the provision of the raw material - uranium.
South Africa was discouraged and prevented from becoming a self-sufficient nuclear
country and would have to be dependent on the USA for a supply of enriched uranium
unless the RSA started its own independent nuclear enrichment.51
Despite the existence of friendly co-operation
between South Africa and the major
Western powers such as the USA, the UK and West Germany in the nuclear field from
1945 to the 1960s, these major Western powers had no intention to assist South Africa
ir: developing an independent nuclear enrichment programme without any safeguards at
all. It was feared that with the unsafeguarded enrichment plant, South Africa might be
able to manufacture
nuclear weapons.
This would be detrimental
to the strategic
interest of the West. Therefore, most of the Western nuclear co-operation projects with
South Africa were confined to the exploration, prospecting, and production of uranium.
In other words, the West considered South Africa simply as a leading uranium producer
and "protege of the nuclear arms race."52
In order to ensure that South Africa would not violate nuclear proliferation and export its
uranium to undesirable,
rogue countries or resale and divert enriched uranium and
fissile materials to third parties, highly restrictive
conditions
were attached
enriched uranium supplied by the Western countries to South Africa.
safeguard
conditions
imposed
by the Western
marketing
of uranium was also controlled
uranium
Apart from these
suppliers,
by the Combined
to the
South Africa's
Development
Agency
(CDA), a joint USA and British uranium procurement organisation during the period from
the 1950s to the mid-1960s.
During that period the CDA was the sole buyer of South
African uranium oxide and the price was fixed for a ten-year period.
Most of the loans
and capital investments in South Africa's uranium production came from the USA and
the UK.53
The West's monopoly of the world's nuclear raw materials changed only after the mid1960s when an overproduction of uranium occurred in Australia, Canada, the USA and
other countries.
As a result of overproduction of world uranium, the demand for South
Africa's uranium declined and the CDA gradually phased out its orders of procurement
of uranium for military purpose from South Africa in the mid-1960s.
During the period
from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, the uranium prices became stagnant. From the
1.970s to 1989 the market for natural uranium fluctuated considerably.
The number of
mines producing uranium in South Africa decreased from twenty-nine
at the peak of
military contracts during the 1950s to eight in 1975.54
These facts reflect that during the 1950s to the 1960s, South Africa's uranium industry
was the monopoly of the USA-UK,
Anglo-American
and that South Africa's role was confined by the
CDA to provide the raw material of uranium to the USA and the UK.
With the passage of time, the South African government became dissatisfied with the
restricted role as a mere uranium producer.
It was apparent
that from the mid-1960s
industry was at a crossroads.
55
onwards,
South Africa's
uranium mining
It needed not only to divert its uranium market to other
parts of the world, but also to sell its uranium in enriched form so as to get better prices
than unprocessed
uranium oxide.
If the commercial production of enriched uranium
could succeed, it would serve many purposes for South Africa.
In the first place, as
compared with natural uranium oxide, the exported enriched uranium fetched far higher
prices and the enriched uranium could be further used to produce radioisotopes.
From
the economic point of view, the added value of the enriched uranium was much higher
than natural uranium.
With the country's abundance of uranium, it was necessary for
South Africa to pursue uranium enrichment and to surpass the role of a mere uranium
producer.
It was estimated that the production of radioisotopes
could increase the
foreign trade value of the enriched uranium up to forty times the normal selling price.56
Secondly,
from
the
vantage
point
of electrical
needs,
following
the
industrial
development in South Africa, nation-wide electrical demands were increasing.
To meet
this need, the construction of nuclear power stations would be inevitable.
As early as
1954, related assessments and cost evaluations had been made in South Africa.
In
May 1971, Eskom decided to build the Koeberg nuclear power station to generate
electricity for the Cape region.
In order for South Africa to be self-sufficient in providing
nuclear fuel for the reactors of the future nuclear power stations, there was a need to
produce its own enriched uranium.57
Thirdly, the development
of enriched uranium, in particular the weapon-grade
enriched uranium (HEU), would eventually
bombs.
From strategic considerations,
highly
enable South Africa to produce atomic
the possession of nuclear weapons seemed
likely to earn prestige, influence and bargaining power for the RSA and to bolster its
security, by using atomic bombs as a deterrent in the event of the worst scenario.
Besides, it would demonstrate its technical ability and enhance the self-confidence
of
the white minority government and its international status. 58
The strategic
motivation
should be understood
from the historical
context of the
increasing international isolation of the South African government after the 1960s and
its fear of the lack of security in the 1970s-1980s.
rapidly deteriorating
at the time.
The RSA's international position was
Pretoria was deeply worried
by the increasing
international isolation and encirclement by hostile African countries, as well as by Soviet
expansionist
threats.
59
The above-mentioned
factors were the main motivations for
South Africa to create its own nuclear industry and to produce enriched uranium.
The establishment of the South African uranium and nuclear industries, as discussed in
the preceding pages, dated back to the years after the end of the Second World War.
At first, the USA and the UK were its main partners.
Prior to the early 1970s, the South
African uranium and nuclear industries were closely linked to the West. From the end of
the Second World War to the year 1977 when the Carter administration
notwithstanding
took office,
the mounting anti-South African pressure in the United Nations, there.
were friendly and co-operative relations in the nuclear field between South Africa, the
USA, the United Kingdom (UK) and West Germany.
During this period, South Africa
provided the USA and the UK with huge amounts of uranium.
were vital to the Western military nuclear programme.
These uranium supplies
As the most important country in
the region of Africa in terms of the production of uranium and the advancement
of
technology of atomic energy, South Africa was one of the seven countries invited by the
USA to participate
establishment
in the initial discussions
and drafting of a statute regarding the
of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.
South
Africa was even accorded with a permanent seat on the Board of Governors of the
IAEA.60
In 1957, South Africa entered into a bilateral inter-government
regarding the civil uses of atomic energy.
with few amendments
This agreement was subsequently
in 1962 and extended to the year 2007.
agreement, highly-enriched
as ordered.
agreement with the USA
renewed
According
to the
nuclear fuel would be supplied to the RSA on a lease basis
Despite the growing international criticism of the RSA after the Sharpeville
massacre of 1960, the RSA-USA nuclear co-operation continued throughout the 1960s.
This was exemplified by the provision of the first research reactor - SAFARI I (SAFARI
was the abbreviation for South African Fundamental Atomic Reactor Installation) --to
South Africa from the USA in 1965.61
Similar cordial nuclear collaboration existed between South Africa and the UK in the
1.950s and the beginning of the 1960s.
The UK purchased uranium from the huge
Rossing mine in South West Africa. West Germany also had considerable nuclear cooperations with South Africa in particular in the fields of exchange of visits of leading
nuclear
scientists
and comparative
developed at Karlsruhe.62
studies
of
German
enrichment
technology
However, as from the latter half of the 1960s, South Africa's nuclear relations with the
West deteriorated, and the RSA's position on the international nuclear hierarchy began
to decline.
This was partially due to the RSA's unpopular Apartheid policies and the
rising anti-Apartheid protests in the West, especially in the USA and the UK. The South
African government's strong security measures to clamp down on internal militant black
nationalism in the 1960s and the 1970s had heightened international hostility and "the
negative international political attitude towards South Africa.,,63 The tension was further
intensified by Pretoria's refusal to sign the Final Act to become a party to the 1968 NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) and also by the increasing mistrust existing between the RSA
and the USA.
The NPT was an international
mechanism
devised by the USA in
collaboration with the USSR to inhibit the spread of nuclear weapons.
By refraining
from becoming a party to the NPT, it was tantamount to sending a clear indication to the
international
community
that the RSA intended to develop nuclear weapons.
meant that the RSA was not obligated to place its nuclear facilities,
This
material and
enriched uranium or plutonium under the control of the international safeguards system.
The USA was rather annoyed by Pretoria's defiance.
Consequently, there was concern
and suspicion that the nuclear fuel supplied by the USA could possibly be channelled
into the production of nuclear weapons by the RSA. 64
By the early 1970s, as the anti-South African lobby was exerting pressure on the USA
government, the political tide in the USA began to turn against the USA-RSA
co-operation.
Accordingly,
the USA government
became
extremely
nuclear
cautious
and
refused to co-operate with the RSA in developing an advanced enrichment process.65
In 1977, the Carter administration came to power in lieu of the Republican Nixon-Ford
administrations.
The advent of President
Carter's
brought significant impacts on the USA international
ROC respectively.
Democratic
administration
had
relations with the RSA and the
With the appointment of many black Americans and human rights
protagonists like Andrew Young in the Carter administration, the USA government was
heading towards confrontation with South Africa rather than co-operation.
As the anti-Apartheid
movement and calls for sanctions against the RSA were gaining
momentum throughout the USA, the United States started to take concrete measures to
prohibit the export of nuclear equipment, component parts, and technology to South
Africa. The USA State Department refused to grant an export licence for the delivery of
enriched uranium for the Koeberg power station which was ordered by Eskom in
accordance with its 1974 contract with the USA Department of Energy. The application
made by General Electric Co. to the USA government for the export of $2 billion worth
of nuclear reactors for the Koeberg power station was cancelled.
The USA government
~ven dissuaded other countries from supplying enriched uranium to South Africa.
By
the end of 1977, the USA-RSA Nuclear Co-operation Agreement was "a dead letter and
the United States had reneged on it commitments, e.g. to supply Safari I with enriched
fuel."66
South Africa's relations with the USA and other leading Western countries had rapidly
deteriorated
to such an extent that "it became steadily more difficult for any South
African scientist even distantly connected with South Africa's nuclear programme to
secure a visa to visit a United States nuclear institution or installation."67
The adverse
political climate also led the RSA's nuclear relations with the UK and West Germany to
decline to a very low ebb. By the 1970s, British nuclear scientists ceased to visit South
Africa, and by late 1976, "the river of West German/South African nuclear co-operation
had become little more than a bed of sand."68
For the USA-ROC
relations, a similar
trend was in the making. The Carter administration was tilting away from the ROC and
toward the PRC.
Carter was determined to recognise Beijing and poised to end the
official USA relationship with Taipei.
The nuclear co-operation
between the ROC and the RSA started in 1980 after the
official visit made by the then Premier of the ROC, Sun Yun-suan, in March .1980 to
South Africa and the return visit of P. W. Botha to Taiwan in October 1980. It ended in
September 1989 when F. W. de Klerk was elected as President of the RSA.
The scope of activities of the ROC's nuclear co-operation with the RSA was mainly
focused on the sharing of nuclear technology and expertise; the exchange of visits of
leading nuclear
scientists;
the development
of a commercial
enrichment
plant at
Pelindaba to export enriched nuclear fuel on an industrial scale; the seconding of the
ROC's nuclear experts to assist Ucor in the nuclear programme; the supply of nuclear
equipment and material by one party to another; and the participation of the ROC in the
financing of the projected construction of the Z-Plant.69
The objective for the ROC's
collaboration with the RSA in the 1980s to develop uranium was, as already mentioned,
to ensure and diversify its sources of supply of nuclear fuel and to "turn to nuclear
energy as a power source.,,70
Although the ROC did sign a long-term fuel supply contract with the USA for its first
three nuclear power stations, it was merely for a power capacity up to 7500MW, and the
fuel supply for the planned Stations NoA, 5 and 6 was not secured.
Therefore, the
ROC saw a real need to diversify its sources of supply of enriched uranium.
To ensure
the stability of fuel provision and the prevention of a disruption of nuclear fuel supply
arising from external political interference and its increasing diplomatic isolation, the
ROC contemplated
stockpiling enriched uranium against future demands through the
conclusion of a long-term supply contract with South Africa.
To this end, the ROC
signed a six-year contract to purchase 4000 tons of uranium from the RSA in 1980. In
exchange for the supply of uranium, the ROC agreed to provide technological expertise,
spare parts and funding for South Africa's nuclear energy programme, and scientists
from Taiwan were sent to South Africa to work on the production of enriched uranium.71
As far as the RSA was concerned, the tide of events from late 1976 turned against her
as the international
nuclear sanctions
against South Africa were accelerated.
,
The
Western powers reneged on their respective nuclear commitments to South Africa, and
all transfers of fissionable material and equipment that could be used for developing the
capability of producing nuclear arms were terminated.
The General Assembly of the UN
called upon member states to stop their purchases of uranium from South Africa and
Namibia.
It also requested the IAEA to refrain from providing any nuclear facility to
South Africa, and to inspect all nuclear installations and facilities of the RSA. However,
the P. W. Botha administration
Treaty (NPT).
refused to accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
To cope with the heightening
international
nuclear sanctions against
South Africa, the RSA turned to the ROC for assistance in terms of nuclear technology,
spare parts, manpower and financing for a semi-commercial
uranium enrichment plant.
This would produce nuclear fuel for the Koeberg power plant, which was planned to be
commissioned in 1985 and for export to markets including the ROC.72
From the above description,
it can be seen that the bilateral nuclear co-operation
between the ROC and the RSA did not purport to the building of nuclear weapons.
ROC-RSA
The
nuclear endeavours were primarily for the purpose of the development of
nuclear energy development.
the ROC official archives.73
This conclusion is based on the available documents of
There were, however, contrary reports, which speculated that the main purpose for the
ROC, Israel and South Africa to band together in a "Nuclear-triangle"
atomic bombs.
was to make
It has been alleged that Taiwanese nuclear scientists were working in
South Africa on the production of weapons-grade
uranium, and that Israel was also
assisting South Africa with nuclear technology.74
Since the "triangular
relationship"
between South Africa, Israel and the ROC falls outside the scope of this study, the
nature of the "triangular nuclear contacts" will not be considered in this dissertation.
But
due to the following factors, it is unlikely that the ROC's nuclear interactions with the
RSA during the 1980s were centred
speculated by the various reports:
upon the development
of atomic bombs as
Firstly, the ROC-RSA
nuclear co-operation projects officially commenced from 1980.
By the year 1979, one year before the start of the ROC-RSA
nuclear joint endeavour,
South Africa had already completed its first fully assembled nuclear device, which was
designed for a fully instrumented underground test.
The Action Committee appointed
by P. W. Botha in July 1979 recommended the making of six additional nuclear devices
totalling
seven
all together.
Armscor,
the
South
African
arms
manufacturing
corporation, was designated by the said Action Committee to develop and manufacture
these nuclear devices as from July 1979.75 In view of the fact that this ROC-RSA
nuclear energy co-operation
programme actually commenced after 1980 when South
Africa already possessed its own atomic bomb, and the joint nuclear co-operation was
conducted through the AEB and Ucor, not with Armscor, it is apparent that the nuclear
co-operation between the two countries was primarily conducted in the field of nuclear
fuel and supply for "research and development on the peaceful application of nuclear
energy", as stated by the Joint Memorandum of Understanding
between the ROC and
the RSA in 1980.76
Secondly, as pointed out earlier, the ROC's nuclear development
programme
was
under strict international safeguards and its progress was constantly monitored by the
secret agents of the CIA planted among the ROC nuclear scientists.
Therefore, it was
almost impossible for the ROC to divert its peaceful nuclear energy project to an
independent nuclear-weapons'
programme without being detected and stopped by the
USA who feared that the manufacturing of atomic bombs by the ROC would destabilise
the strategic balance in East Asia.77
Thirdly, as described in the preceding part of this chapter, the ROC's new president,
Chiang Ching-kuo, had decided not to pursue the making of atomic bombs because of
his realisation of the fact that the conflict between the ROC and the PRC across the
Taiwan Straits concerned political ideology more than military annihilation.
For the ROC
government, the people on Mainland China are the same Chinese people.
not use nuclear weapons against their brothers and sisters.
They can
This factor inhibited the
ROC government from developing nuclear weapons.
Moreover, the PRC had indirectly
warned the ROC through the media in Hong Kong that the PRC would attack the ROC
by military force if the ROC declared the independence of Taiwan from China, sought
foreign intervention, or ventured to make atomic bombs.78
Under these circumstances,
although the ROC was in a position to develop nuclear weapons and it had the nuclear
capacity to do so, the above-said factors and the legal binding of the Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT) discouraged the ROC from the pursuit of an independent military nuclear
venture.
Since the Republic of China has no aggressive designs on any other
country, there would be no need for offensive atomic weapons.
the event of civil war, there are no circumstances
Even in
under which we would
consider using nuclear weapons for massive destruction, Therefore, there
is no motivation to embark on a nuclear weapons' programme.
any such attempt would immediately jeopardize
Moreover,
our real programme of
nuclear development for peace upon which we have already lavished so
much of our intellectual concentration,
our economic resources and our
time and devotion.79
This was a revelation to various speculations of the real motivation and objective of the
ROC's nuclear co-operation with South Africa.
The ROC's nuclear collaboration with the RSA took its origins from the contact made
between the AEC of the ROC and the AEB of the RSA in November 1979. During the
period from November 25th to December 1st,
1979, the president of the AEB, J. W. L.
de Villiers, paid a visit to Taiwan to evaluate the progress of the ROC in the nuclear field
and the prospect of future nuclear energy co-operation.
Discussions were held with the
leadership of AEC and K.T. Li, the ROC Minister of State in charge of technology and
science, but nothing concrete came out of the visit.
Nevertheless,
this was the first
nuclear contact that was officially recorded in the TLO archives. Throughout the visit De
Villiers was convinced that the ROC was in a position to assist South Africa to develop
its nuclear industry.
He was however slightly worried that the USA might eventually
intervene and disrupt the ROC nuclear co-operation with the RSA in accordance with
the safeguard clause of the NPT and the USA-ROC mutual agreement on the supply of
nuclear fuel. 80 The trip paved the way for further exchange of visits by high-ranking
officials and the nuclear scientists of the two countries.
In March 1980, Sun Yun-suan, the then Premier of the ROC, led a delegation of 55
persons including KT.
Li, the then Minister without Portfolio in charge of science,
technology and nuclear energy development, to pay an official visit to South Africa. The
visit was intended to foster bilateral co-operation
in the areas of diplomacy, military,
economy, trade, navigation, shipping, aviation, science, technology and nuclear energy.
For reasons of strategic
importance
and national security,
South Africa's
industry was one of the priority aspects for the ROC delegation to explore.
uranium
In order to
assess the capacity of South Africa's uranium enrichment process and the possibility of
s.igning an agreement to buy uranium from the RSA on a long-term basis, the ROC
government also assigned the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Taipower, Chen
Lan-kao, and the Vice Minister of the ROC Ministry of Economic Affairs, Wang Yi-ting,
together with Minister of State, KT. Li, and Ambassador
H. K Yang to accompany
Premier Sun on his visit to the uranium enrichment pilot plant at Pelindaba on March
th
,
14
1980.
They were warmly
received
by AJ.A
Raux, Chairman
of Ucor, at
Pelindaba, and briefed on the uranium enrichment process used by the Ucor pilot plant
there and the constraints to expand the pilot plant to an economically viable production
plant capable of meeting South Africa's needs and exports in the course of time. Some
members of the delegation visited the uranium production site.
The two sides held
discussions with regard to the question of nuclear co-operation and the procurement of
uranium. They exchanged views on the operational condition of the Pelindaba uranium
enrichment plant, the prospective quantity and price of enriched products for export, the
terms of foreign investment and co-operation in respect of the general situation of the
supply of natural uranium to the ROC, and the peaceful application of nuclear energy for
electricity.
The discussion also touched upon the past experience and future prospects
of South Africa's
nuclear
co-operation
with
France.
Apart
from these
issues,
Gonsiderable time was spent on discussing the extensive application of irradiation for
the preservation of the freshness of flowers and food, and antiseptics of medical and
pharmaceutical products.81
The attitude of the two sides was recorded to be so "sincere and candid" that both
parties concluded that nuclear co-operation between the ROC and the RSA would be
strategically important to the self-sufficiency
the two governments
of energy and to the nuclear strategies of
in the face of international
isolation.82
Arising
out of their
discussions, a contract for the procurement of 4080 tons of uranium worth 400 million
US dollars was signed on March 14th, 1980 by Taipower
Corporation of South Africa (Pty) Ltd. (NUFCOR).
and the Nuclear Fuels
NUFCOR was responsible for the
negotiation of sales contracts of uranium on behalf of various South African mining
companies, to provide uranium for the nuclear power plants in Taiwan for the duration of
1984-1990.83 In addition to the purchase contract to buy uranium for Taipower, the ROC
government was interested in entering into an official agreement on collaboration in the
field of uranium enrichment between the two countries.
Although the ROC delegation
and the representatives of Ucor had expressed their mutual interest in the conversion of
uranium concentrates to uranium hexafluoride and its enrichment to a level required for
fuel elements used in nuclear power plants (light water reactors) during the meeting of
March 14th, 1980 at Pelindaba, the conclusions of the said meeting and the envisaged
details of the ROC-RSA nuclear co-operation programme still needed to be drawn up in
an official agreement
concurrence.
which could be presented
to the other government
for its
In order to initiate the nuclear co-operation programme, K.T. Li, the ROC
Minister of State, decided to stay in Pretoria to draft a memorandum pertaining to ROCRSA
nuclear
Memorandum
co-operation.
on Possible
Consequently,
Collaboration
the
first
document
between the Republic
entitled
"Draft
of China and the
Republic of South Africa in the Fields of Conversion and Enrichment of Uranium" was
written by K.T. Li.
In the said memorandum, the main matters raised and the most
important conclusions reached at the meeting of March 14th, 1980 at Pelindaba were
summarised,
stated.
and the objective and the need for a joint feasibility study also clearly
Having completed the memorandum,
Li arranged a subsequent meeting with
the AEB (SA) and Ucor on the morning of March 21 st, 1980, and after further discussion,
the draft memorandum was accepted by the representatives of the two sides as a basis
for the ROC-RSA
nuclear co-operation.
At the end of the meeting, this memorandum
was signed by Li, the ROC Minister of State, and A.J.A. Roux, Chairman of Ucor (SA).84
This memorandum thus became the first working document which ushered in the new
era of ROC-RSA nuclear co-operation.
The ROC's nuclear relations with the RSA, however, were economic in nature, rather
than for political and military reasons.
The ROC's military and its research
and
development institute, Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (CIST), were not
involved in the nuclear co-operation
programme.
The nuclear energy co-operation
between the ROC and the RSA was a pragmatically based joint venture.
The common
predicament and complementary
to recognise
interests had led the two governments
that although these two countries were operating in totally different regional and political
environments, the combined effort in pooling their natural and human resources could
become quite substantial
programmes.
and beneficial to the development
Economically,
of their nuclear energy
South Africa's abundant and cheap mineral industries
complemented the ROC's plenitude of well-educated skilled labour, advanced machine
tools, and internationally
leading production of consumer electronics.
talented nuclear physicists
and a rather advanced
nuclear-science
The ROC had
and technology
base, but it lacked indigenous uranium enrichment plants, reprocessing facilities and
raw resources of uranium.
As a complement to the ROC's
t~e process of building a commercial-scale
need, South Africa was in
uranium enrichment plant.
The endeavour
involved immense research and development and production costs. The launch of the
nuclear energy programme by the South African nuclear authorities on their own would
be a fairly expensive task in terms of capital input, marketing of enriched uranium, and
overall technological sophistication.
Therefore, the RSA needed a friendly country with
similar ideology affinities and pariah status, like the ROC, to participate in the South
African nuclear-energy programme.
Strategically, there were valid considerations for the two countries to go nuclear and
proceed with the joint venture.
Both governments adopted the tactics of deterrence-by-
uncertainty and strategic ambiguity.
Both countries would neither confirm nor deny
whether they acquired nuclear weapon capability to scare their potential enemies.
In
order not to arouse unwanted hostility and domestic and international opposition to this
endeavour, the nuclear co-operation programme between the ROC and the RSA was
classified by both governments as "top secret".
The officials handling the programme
were senior officials or the chief of the diplomatic
correspondence
mission.
On the ROC side, all
was handled by Wei-jen Hu, the then Political Counsellor of the ROC
Embassy in Pretoria, or the then ROC Ambassador H. K. Yang, himself, through coded
telex communication or official dispatches marked "top secret.,,8S
To safeguard the confidentiality
of the nuclear co-operation
programme,
a secrecy
clause was included in the memorandum:
In view
of the
memorandum,
sensitive
nature
of the
subject
discussed
in this
both parties agree to keep these discussions
and any
subsequent developments secret until it is mutually agreed otherwise.86
Other sensitive co-operative
security and intelligence
projects in the ROC-RSA
co-operations
Despite the close collaboration
relationship
such as military,
were conducted
mostly quietly and covertly.
of the two governments
during the 1980s, no press
release was issued because the media of the West and South Africa were perceived by
the ROC government
to be dominated
by the liberal
establishment
which
was
ideologically unfriendly to the ROC, a strong anti-Communist country.8?
Although the South African nuclear research and development programme did achieve
significant progress, and a pilot uranium enrichment plant (named the Y-project) which
was set up by 1969 in Pelindaba
enrichment
process was workable,
near Pretoria had demonstrated
that the Ucor
there were still some constraints
on the RSA's
nuclear industry.
The first and foremost constraint
concerned
making its scale of
production commercially economic and viable. In 1976, the construction of the Koeberg
nuclear power station started and it was planned to become operational by 1982. The
Koeberg power plant would need sufficient nuclear fuel elements, which were denied to
South Africa due to international boycotts and sanctions.
The pilot plant at Pelindaba
was brought into full operation on March 4th, 1977. The Y-Plant started to produce its
first highly enriched uranium (HEU) in January 1978. Encouraged by the success of the
Ucor enrichment process, the South African government embarked on the third phase
of its nuclear programme, namely the construction of a semi-commercial
enrichment
plant (the Z-project) in 1978 which was completed at the end of 1986. This enrichment
plant was scheduled
to start production
in the mid-1980s
with a total enrichment
capacity of about 250 - 300 tons separative work per annum (t SW/a),
which was
88
sufficient for South Africa's domestic needs in the short term.
However, the scale of production of the said plant was too small to be economic.
The
Chairman of the Atomic Energy Corporation of South Africa Ltd. (AEC) which replaced
the previous AEB from 1982, namely J.W. de Villiers, frankly indicated the deficiency of
the plant as follows:
The scale of production is, however, some ten times smaller than that
accepted as the minimum economic scale.
Consequently, the production
processes are not commercially viable, but the challenge of reducing costs
and, if justified,
commissioning
more economic
processes
has been
89
accepted by the AEC and is being actively pursued.
The enrichment capacity of South Africa's Z-project was indeed limited in comparison
with other enrichment plants installed in the Western World, and even in the USSR, at
t~e time. For instance, the enrichment capacity of DOE (the USA) was 27,300 t SW/a in
1982/3.
In France, the Eurodif plant had a total capacity of 10,800 t SW/a;
second plant of similar size (Coredit) was also to be completed in the mid-1980s.
and a
The
USSR's total capacity was unknown, but it sold up to 3000 t SW/a to the Western World
alone during the same period.
Even the Urenco organisation, a group of British, Dutch
and German companies, had centrifuge enrichment plants with a total capacity of over
1000 t SW/a in operation in the UK and the Netherlands.
The Urenco plants were
planned to reach a total capacity of about 5000 t SW/a by 1995.90
From the above comparative figures, it was apparent that the minimum size for an
enrichment production plant to be globally competitive and commercially viable should
be about 1000 t SW/a.
enrichment
recommended
production
With a total capacity of only 250-300 t SW/a, South Africa's
plant
would
require
by K.T. Li in the Memorandum
considerable
expansion,
of Nuclear Collaboration
as
was
between the
ROC and the RSA, dated March 21st, 1980.91
In order to proceed with the nuclear co-operation
programme, the two governments
officially approved the contents of the memorandum in July 1980, and the final version
of the memorandum was signed in September 1980 by the Chairman of the Board of
Directors of Taipower, Chen Lan-kao, and the Chairman of Ucor, AJ.A
Roux.
In fact,
earlier on, an Agreement for Co-operation Between the government of the Republic of
China and the government of the Republic of South Africa on the Peaceful Uses of
in March 1980.92
Nuclear Energy was secretly concluded
actually based on the spirit of the former agreement.
The memorandum
The contents
was
of the said
agreement was basically similar to that of the memorandum, except the former specified
the broader outline and perspective of the nuclear co-operation of the two countries as
compared with the latter. The validity of the agreement was for a period of twenty (20)
years, and either party had to give the other party twelve (12) months' written notice if it
intended to terminate the said agreement.
93
In accordance with Article III of the 1980 agreement, the aim of the ROC-RSA
co-operation
programme
was simply for peaceful
development of nuclear weapons.
purposes
It clearly stated that:
nuclear
only and not for the
Each Party shall ensure that the nuclear material, equipment
and nuclear facilities
obtained by it or by persons under its jurisdiction pursuant to this Agreement and any
nuclear material used in or in conjunction with or derived from such nuclear material,
equipment and nuclear facilities:
(a)
shall be used for peaceful purposes only and not for the production of
nuclear weapons or any other nuclear explosive devices;
(b)
shall be subject to safeguards to be implemented
by the International
Atomic Energy Agency or equivalent safeguards as may be agreed upon
by the parties;
(c)
shall not be transferred beyond its jurisdiction unless the prior approval
of the supplying party has been obtained and arrangements
made for the continued application of safeguards
have been
by the International
Atomic Energy Agency or equivalent safeguards as may be agreed upon
by the parties.94
The aim of ROC-RSA
technology,
equipment
nuclear
co-operation
was to exchange
and to acquire the ROC's financing,
the latest nuclear
which would allow the
RSA's nuclear enrichment production to expand. What the RSA needed from the ROC
was technical and logistic support, marketing and the provision of components
and
machine tools for the South African nuclear industry.
The prime object for the ROC-RSA joint operations was not for the purpose of making
nuclear weapons,
nor for sharing the secret of the unique South African uranium
enrichment process.
It was true that South Africa had invented its own method of
enriching uranium, which could be used for making nuclear weapons.
It was also true
that South Africa had enough raw materials and planned to develop its own nuclear
capability.
Nevertheless, it was noteworthy that the South African uranium industry and
its uranium enrichment
industry were already so well advanced in the 1980s that the
RSA did not need the ROC's scientific know-how to produce atomic bombs or to
upgrade the South African uranium enrichment process.95
Towards the end, the memorandum permitted the two countries to assist each other in
the exchange of information and technological expertise pertaining to the development,
design, construction and test of various specialised equipment; the elimination of plant
problems; improvement of general efficiency; techniques of extracting uranium; as well
as the storage of spent nuclear fuel; irradiation technology for food, agricultural products
and packaging materials; and the use of radioisotopes for industry and medicine.
96
As the construction of its first nuclear power station at Koeberg was due for completion
in 1982, and the USA had refused to supply South Africa with nuclear fuel since 1978,
South Africa was anxious to expedite its uranium enrichment co-operation
with the ROC so as to meet the needs of the Koeberg power plant.
programme
The sense of
urgency was further heightened by the scheduled running of the two reactors.
Of the
tvvo reactors, one was planned to come into operation in June 1982 or at the latest,
1983, and the other was due in 1983.
Therefore, it was imperative to either acquire
from a third country or locally produce enough enriched fuel to load into the fuel rods of
the reactors, otherwise the Koeberg nuclear power station would remain inoperable.97
To facilitate the implementation
of ROC-RSA
nuclear co-operation programme, a two-
tier mechanism was established in 1980 between Taipower and Ucor, allowing the two
to liaise and carry out nuclear collaboration.
The two-tier mechanism
included a
Supervisory Committee and a Working Group. Each country set up its own Supervisory
Committee and Working Group to IiQise with their counterparts from the other country.
The Supervisory Committee of each country comprised three senior chiefs of respective
nuclear institutes or the director of the board of directors.
RSA's Supervisory
Managing
Director
Committee
of
Ucor;
The three members of the
were A.J.A. Roux, Chairman
and
J.J.
Kitshoff,
Former
of Ucor; W.L. Grant,
Chairman
of
Industrial
Development Corp. and the Director of Ucor. The members of the Ucor Working Group,
their names and number of persons changed from time to time according to the need of
the ongoing projects.98 At a certain stage in August 1980, there were twenty-four South
African senior scientists and nuclear physicists personnel involved in the ROC-RSA
joint working programme at Pelindaba.
Many Ucor nuclear engineers and physicists,
including those from Ucor's enrichment operations, conversion plant and design division
took part in the co-operation programme.99
The ROC Supervisory
Committee was led by Chen Lan-kao (also known as L. K.
Chen), Chairman (President)
Cheng, Vice President
of Taipower.
of Taipower;
The ROC Working
Pei-chun
Liu, Director
Group included Lan
of the Atomic
Power
Department, Taipower; C.T. Hsu, Deputy Director of Atomic Power, Taipower; Ci-peng
Chien, Director, Institute of Nuclear Energy Research (INER); Yih-de Chuang, Chief,
Hot laboratory, INER; and Nein-nan Hsu, Assistant Scientist of the INER.100
With the two-tier mechanism and agreed memorandum in place, the two governments
launched the ROC-RSA
nuclear co-operation programme from 1980 to 1987. During
the period of nearly one decade of nuclear joint venture between the ROC and the RSA,
the bilateral
nuclear ties were greatly expanded,
and considerable
progress
was
achieved in terms of the strengthening of the nuclear capabilities of the two countries.
The delegations of the Supervisory Committees and the Working Groups of the two
countries started to visit the nuclear research institutions of the other country frequently
as from 1980. The first meeting of the Supervisory Committees of the two countries
1980 in Pretoria.
was held in October
The' second
meeting
of the Supervisory
Committees took place in Taipei in April 1981. The third meeting was organised by
Ucor in its Board Room during November 9th_10th, 1982. The members of the ROC
Supervisory Committee visited UF6 Conversion Plant, MZ Plant, compress test facility,
Production Plant including chemical cleaning, production hall and service basement.101
The exchange of visits of the Supervisory Committees and Working Groups of the two
countries were conducted in secret.
In order to prevent the CIA from finding out about
the ongoing nuclear co-operation and to hide the joint endeavour beneath a veneer of
commercial
interactions,
a visit to South African mines was usually included in the
itinerary of the ROC delegation.
the ROC Supervisory
For example, the real intent and purpose of the visit of
Committee during November
ih_1ih,
1982 was to attend the
Third Meeting of Bi-national Supervisory Committees on Nuclear Co-operation held at
Ucor. To make this trip look like a commercial procurement mission, Ucor arranged that
the ROC delegation
tour the Gold Mine Museum
near Johannesburg
after the
meeting on November 10th, 1982 and the Premier Diamond
Supervisory Committees'
Mine on November 11th, 1982.102
From 1982 onwards, the meetings of Supervisory Committees were held alternately in
Taipei and Pretoria to review the progress of the nuclear co-operation
basis.
The real groundwork for building ROC-RSA
on a regular
nuclear links was laid by the bi-
national Working Groups. It was through the contacts of physicists that the exchange of
information (mainly unclassified) and the supply of nuclear components and equipment
were effected.
The first batch of six nuclear experts which comprised the ROC Working Group was
dispatched
by the ROC government to work at Pelindaba together with twenty-four
designated South African counterparts in various nuclear fields during the period from
August
20th-September
collaboration
1ih,
was signed.
1980 soon after the draft memorandum
The ROC Working
of nuclear
Group was invited to assess many
~spects of Ucor's Z-project, including its Z1 site, building layout, surface treatment,
project management,
nuclear
licensing,
detail design, procurement,
pollution
control,
feed,
assembly, erection, safety, design,
product
and waste
plant
management,
services reticulation, the main process components (e.g. compressors, heat exchangers
and valves), compressor blade forging and machining, and the practical cascade and
theoretical aspects of cascade.103
The purpose of the subsequent visits of the RSA Working Group to the ROC was to
seek further assistance from the ROC in the above aspects.
Apart from the afore-said
job description, the ROC Working Group was also entrusted with the task of reviewing
the cost and feasibility of the Z-project and presenting an economic evaluation to the
ROC Advisory Committee.104
As a matter of fact, in the meeting held in Taipei on August 18th, 1980 before the ROC
Working
Group's
departure
concerning their mission.
for South Africa, the Group was briefed
by K.T. Li,
They were instructed to co-operate fully with their South
African counterparts, but they should avoid causing international misunderstanding.
Li
told them very frankly that the main objective for the ROC in collaborating with RSA in
nuclear industry was to ensure the diversification
of the ROC's uranium supply.
Li
made known that the ROC had no intention to obtain the secret know-how of South
Africa's unique uranium enrichment process, and that the two sides had reached a tacit
understanding that no sensitive or highly confidential technology would be transferred,
excepting the exchange
of unclassified
information and technology.
Therefore, the
members of the ROC Working Group were specifically directed not to pry into South
Africa's well-guarded secret nuclear extraction process.105
Stringent measures were also taken by Ucor to keep the ROC scientists from learning
the secret of South Africa's nuclear weapons' programme and technological expertise of
processing uranium.
When the ROC nuclear physicists were working in South Africa,
they were subjected to the signing of a declaration of secrecy.
to talk about their work or even mention their visit to Pelindaba.
They were not allowed
For security reasons,
the members of the ROC Working Group travelled to South Africa in two or three
batches, under the guise of coal purchasers,
holiday-makers
or Taipower personnel
visiting Eskom, the South African electricity company.l06 In so doing, the CIA and the
international
media were prevented from learning about the ROC-RSA
endeavour.
But the closely-guarded
secret joint
secrecy also gave rise to various wild claims
ranging from the South Africa-Israeli-
Taiwan trio banding together to make and test
nuclear bombs, to their sharing of uranium enrichment secrets.107 As far as the nuclear
collaboration
between the ROC and the RSA is concerned,
these speculations
are
misleading.
To strengthen nuclear relations between the two countries, the RSA, on a reciprocal
basis, also sent its Working Group and various high-level officials to the ROC during the
1980s.
In addition to P.W. Botha's official visit to the ROC in October 1980, the most
notable visits made by high-ranking officials in charge of the RSA's nuclear
development programme were those of F. W. de Klerk, the then Minister of Mineral and
Energy Affairs, and AJ.A Roux, Chairman of Ucor.108 De Klerk, visited the ROC from
January 5th to 10th, 1981.
During his sojourn in Taiwan, he visited the ROC's two
nuclear power plants (Nuclear Plant I in Chin-shan and Nuclear Plant II in Wan-Ii) near
raipei, and discussed matters of common interest with his counterpart, K. S. Chang, the
ROC Minister of Economic Affairs, and F. S. Chu, Minister of Foreign Affairs,
respectively. The bilateral discussions were mainly focussed on energy co-operation
and the RSA's export of minerals to the ROC. It should be noted that in the ROC,
mineral and energy matters including nuclear power plants are the jurisdiction of the
Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). Taipower Co., which operates the nuclear power
stations, is subordinate to the MOEA109
In addition, De Klerk visited various industries in Taiwan including China Steel
Corporation, China Shipbuilding Corporation and Taiwan Aluminium Corporation in
Kaohsiung, the largest sea port in the south of Taiwan. Premier Sun and President
Chiang Ching-kuo received him.
Before his departure, he addressed the ROC
industrialists and politicians on the significance of South African minerals and energy
resources in the future relationship between the two countries. As a result of his visit,
apart from the strengthening of ROC-RSA nuclear energy collaboration. the two
governments further agreed to explore and expand the two countries' co-operation in
the fields of minerals and energy resources. The following were included:
1. The RSA agreed in principle to supply four million tons of coal per annum
to the ROC for 1981-85 and ten millions tons of coal per annum from 1986
to 1996.
. 2. The two governments had agreed to assess the feasibility of ROC-RSA
joint ventures in establishing an aluminium smelter plant, copper refinery
and zinc refinery, and increasing silicon production and exploration of
other rare metallic minerals.110
The above-mentioned
commitment to provide the ROC with South African minerals and
the previous six-year contract for the procurement of 4000 tons of uranium, signed in
1980 by the ROC and the RSA, confirmed that South Africa had become one of the
important
suppliers
of strategic
minerals
and energy resources
to the ROC.
In
exchange for South Africa's supply of strategic minerals and energy resources, the
ROC was willing to let the RSA utilise the former's relatively advanced manufacturing
industry
and skilled labour,
and provide financing
to support
the latter's nuclear
enrichment industry.
With a view to studying the situation of the ROC's nuclear industry and the potential of
nuclear co-operation between the two countries, A.J.A. Roux, Chairman of Ucor, paid a
visit to Taipei during April 8th_15th, 1981. He was well received by S. L. Chien, Chairman
of the ROC Atomic Energy Council (AEC). He was deeply impressed by the progress of
ROC's nuclear industry and its advanced manufacturing industry as well. Therefore, he
was firmly resolved to enhance the bilateral nuclear co-operation
countries.
between the two
As he was the highly respected founder and father of the RSA's nuclear
research
and development,
his favourable
launching
of the ROC-RSA
nuclear collaboration
conducive to the endeavour.
response
and strong
support
for the
helped to create an atmosphere
The joint venture was largely due to his recommendation
and proposals.111
After Roux's return to Pretoria, a Ucor team of the Working
Liebenberg,
the Manager of Precision Manufacture
Group led by S.W.
of Ucor, was sent to the ROC
Institute of Nuclear Energy Research in Lung-Tang in August 1982 to seek the provision
of various components, heavy electrical motors, aluminium or steel flange forging, the
adjustable core of the module, valve components and other specified equipment from
the ROC for the expansion of Ucor's enrichment plant.
A number of ROC industries
were visited and most of them were willing to participate
programme.
The
ROC industry
was thus involved
in such a challenging
in the nuclear
co-operation
programme to supply specified equipment and components as requested by Ucor for its
Z-plant extension project.112
During the period from 1980-1987, the nuclear co-operation between the ROC and the
RSA continued, the related agreement was enforced and the nuclear scientists and
engineers of the two countries worked closely together to accomplish the establishment
of the Z-plant
for uranium enrichment.
With the construction
of the Z-plant, South
Africa had become one of the few countries in the Western World, which had not only
the technology of uranium enrichment, but also the uranium resources and enrichment
facilities.
The success of the South African nuclear industry was so apparent that in September
1987, the AEC started to deliver its first locally-enriched
four uranium fuel elements,
which were produced by the pilot plant, to Koeberg nuclear power station.
commercial
Z-Enrichment
Plant was commissioned
The semi-
in 1988 and began to produce
enriched uranium at a rate that could meet the needs of Koeberg nuclear power station.
By 1989, the said semi-commercial
Notwithstanding
enrichment plant proved to be functioning
well.
the relatively high cost of production as compared with the USA, it
successfully manufactured
nuclear fuel, which was delivered to ESKOM in 1989 and
loaded into the Koeberg No. 2 nuclear reactor in March 1990.
According
to the
evaluation made by J.W.L. de Villiers, South Africa's ability to handle the complete front
end of the fuel cycle was "an exceptional achievement.,,113
The remarkable accomplishments
were, of course, mainly the result of the long-term
strategic planning, strenuous undertaking and unwavering efforts made by the South
African government, the AEC (previously the AEB before 1982), Ucor and those South
African
nuclear
scientists
and engineers
development programme, in particular AJ.A
who had the determination
who were
associated
with the nuclear
Roux, J.W.L. de Villiers and W. L. Grant
and vision to pursue South Africa's energy self-sufficiency
and independent nuclear capability.
It was AJ.A
Roux, former President of AEB and
Chairman of Ucor, who launched South Africa's nuclear research and development
programme in 1959 and it was he who befriended the ROC and initiated the nuclear
joint venture of the two countries.
The year 1985 witnessed the imminent end of an era
of close ROC-RSA nuclear collaboration when Roux passed away on April 22
nd
of that
year.
To be fair, the support and assistance
development
rendered by the ROC to the RSA in the
of South Africa's nuclear industry, to a certain extent, did have some
significant consequences.
At a time of international sanctions and embargoes against
the RSA, it was the ROC that provided necessary equipment and technical assistance
to the RSA. At a time of stringency with regard to financial resources, it was the ROC
that had shown great understanding
purchase South Africa's uranium.
placed its expertise,
technology,
of the needs of the RSA and willingness
On the logistic and technological
skilled labour and manufacturing
disposal of the South African nuclear industry.
to
side, the ROC
industry at the
In the course of the construction of the
Z-plant, the RSA received a wide range of assistance from the ROC.114
At the initial stage of the development,
investigation
into the geological
the ROC's assistance
comprised
a joint
suitability of the site, the selection of the site, the
preparation of preliminary plant layout, the plant design, cost estimation, a feasibility
study, the assessment
of the required components
cascade flow diagrams
and piping connections,
factors of the said plant.
manufacturing
In the intermediate
of basic components
and the elimination
of inefficiency
stage, the ROC participated
and equipment,
construction of the RSA's semi-commercial
the previous paragraphs,
and equipment, the adoption of
which were required
in the
for the
uranium enrichment plant. As pointed out in
the ROC provided some of the electrical and conventional
equipment and various components
required by Ucor.
Usually, the ROC industries
manufactured the necessary equipment and components ordered by the RSA for the
extension of the Z-plant in accordance
with detail specifications
and drawings.
A
number of the ROC industries were involved in the nuclear co-operation programme.115
From June 1982 to 1986, the ROC supplied a wide range of items to the RSA including
electrical and mechanical equipment, and process gas wetted components.
process control computer systems and programmable
But the
logical controllers which were
imported by the RSA for the development of the South African nuclear industry had
nothing to do with the ROC. According to the ROC's official records, it was the Reagan
administration that authorised the sale of the Control Data Corporation's Cyber 170/750
Computer to the South African CSIR in 1981. With this computer, the RSA could not
only design small nuclear weapons, but also build atomic bombs without the need for a
test.
The reason the Reagan administration
American-made
gave its consent to the sale of the
computer to the RSA was its desire for a South African settlement on
the issue of Namibia.116
This again indicated that the ROC had no direct link with the
RSA's nuclear military weapons' programme.
The ROC's co-operation with the RSA
was mainly concerned with nuclear energy development,
not the making of atomic
bombs.
All of the expenses pertaining to the activities of the ROC Working Group and nuclear
e'xperts in implementing the nuclear co-operation programme in the RSA were borne by
the ROC government.
Apart from the project spending, the most important financial
contribution made by the ROC to the development of the South African nuclear industry
was the financing of the projected expansion of the uranium enrichment plant by way of
payments
in advance
of deliveries
of uranium
coincident
with
the construction
programme, and loan capital to cover pro rata costs of the add-on plant. 117 The exact
amount of the financial advancement
and loan is not known.
support had made it possible for the embattled
The ROC's financial
South African uranium industry to
proceed with its expansion project. The ROC therefore played a meaningful part in the
expansion of the RSA's nuclear enrichment production.
Although the nuclear collaboration between the ROC and the RSA, as described above,
was intended only for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the USA government was
deeply concerned that the so-called "peaceful" nuclear co-operation
between the two
nations could well be used as a pretext for nuclear weapons production.
The enriched
uranium might be conversed for making atomic bombs.
The ROC and the RSA's
development of nuclear weapons would surely not only lead to international
nuclear
proliferation and regional conflicts, but also complicate the USA's strategic relations with
the PRC and black Africa during the Cold War.
The ROC government's
repeated
insistence of "recovering mainland China" and the RSA's refusal to sign the Nuclear
Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) gave the CIA some ground to suspect that the ROC and
the RSA banded together, with the assistance of the third partner, Israel, to manufacture
"a relatively small-scale tactical nuclear weapon.,,118 The discovery of two nuclear test
shafts in the Kalahari desert by American
and Soviet reconnaissance
satellites in
August 1977 and the flash detected by an American Vela satellite over the southern
Atlantic Ocean in September 1979 had further heightened the USA's suspicion that the
ROC and the RSA had worked together to produce nuclear weapons.
that the flash was most likely a nuclear explosion.119
The CIA believed
Oe Villiers later confirmed in 1993 that the site constructed in the Kalahari Desert was
used for the testing of South Africa's nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices.
According to De Villiers's revelation, the nuclear test site was built for a "cold test" - that
is, one without HEU, carried out in order to check the device's non-nuclear components,
logistics and instrumentation.12o The discovery of the nuclear test site in the Kalahari
Desert caused vehement international protest.
Pretoria subsequently abandoned the site.121
As a result of the international outcry,
As to the flash over the southern Atlantic Ocean, the true story ha.s not been publicised
yet. Was the flash really a nuclear bomb test? Who was responsible? These questions
remain to be answered by other scholars who have access to the relevant documents.
But one thing is certain: the ROC was not involved with the flash which occurred in
September 1979 as the ROC only started to enter into the bilateral nuclear energy cooperation agreement with the RSA in 1980.
commencement
of the ROC-RSA
It was unlikely that one year before the
nuclear co-operation
agreement,
helped the RSA to build a nuclear bomb or nuclear explosive device.
the ROC had
The test of a
n"uclear bomb required a sufficient range of bombers capable of carrying the bomb and
transporting
facilities
relevant sophisticated
and
its participation
delivery systems.
The ROC had none of these
in the afore-mentioned
flash
was,
geographically,
impossible.
However, there is a possibility that a third country such as Israel might have
collaborated
with South Africa in testing nuclear bombs over the southern Atlantic
Ocean in 1979. The Israeli-South African military co-operation relationship commenced
l1}uch earlier than the ROC-RSA co-operative links. The relations between South Africa
and Israel reached a peak in April 1976, when the RSA Prime Minister, B. J. Vorster,
visited Israel.122
As the USA was deeply alarmed by the erection of the nuclear test site in the Kalahari
and the subsequent flash over the southern Atlantic Ocean, those countries with nuclear
capability or on the threshold of becoming nuclear powers, in particular South Africa and
the ROC, were closely watched by the CIA. The CIA was extremely anxious to find out
the nature of the ROC-RSA
nuclear co-operation despite the strictest secrecy of the
operation of the two countries.123
In order to uncover the nature of the nuclear collaboration between the ROC and the
RSA, the CIA had undertaken a surprising range of actions in an attempt to find out
these two countries' nuclear secrets. In the ROC, the wife of the Chief of the Mission of
the CIA served as the English language "tutor" of the then ROC President, Chiang
Ching-kuo.
The ROC's nuclear research and development programme was also kept
under constant surveillance.
The CIA recruited the ROC's senior nuclear scientists and
high-ranking officials as its secret agents and planted them in the senior hierarchy of the
ROC
nuclear
research
institutes
such
as Chungshan
Institute
of Science
and
Technology (CIST) since the 1960s. The CIA even tried to bribe certain senior officials
to spy on all the activities of the ROC government.124
In December
1987, Colonel
Chang Hsien-yi, a CIA spy infiltrated the CIST, got hold of the confidential
nuclear
research files and escaped to the USA. The secret of the ROC's nuclear development
programme and the country's nuclear links with the RSA were exposed.125
In the wake
of the exposure
of the ROC's
nuclear
research
and development
programme, tremendous political pressure was imposed upon the ROC to terminate its
nuclear co-operation with the RSA and its nuclear links with other European countries,
such as France. The USA demanded that the ROC shut down the nuclear programme
or face a cut-off of American assistance, including the sale of nuclear technology for the
ROC's nuclear power plants.
The USA strictly regulated the provision of nuclear fuel-
elements and enriched uranium for the ROC nuclear power stations.
All of the used
highly enriched uranium had to be returned to the USA after it had cooled down.
Even
more importantly, the USA threatened to withdraw support from the ROC if it persisted
in contributing towards nuclear proliferation.
Following the American intervention, the
CIST reactor was sealed by the USA and the research facilities rigorously checked from
time to time. The USA undertook the supply of enriched uranium to the ROC at a USAgovernment
subsidised
price which was comparatively
Africa's enriched uranium.
cheaper than that of South
Under such difficult circumstances, it was almost impossible
for the ROC to continue its nuclear collaboration with the RSA.126 Therefore, the ROC's
source of enriched uranium was virtually narrowed to the USA, and the programme was
curtailed
thereafter.
The American
intervention-had
led the ROC government
to
127
gradually disengage itself from the nuclear co-operation with the RSA after 1988.
Although the CIA could not penetrate and detect the real nature of Pretoria's nuclear
development, the South African enthusiasm for ROC-RSA
nuclear co-operation
also
gradually dissipated after the death of Roux in 1985. The Z-plant was completed at the
end of 1986. The enrichment process launched by Ucor was a success.
In the eyes of
the South African authorities, the success was mainly the RSA's own achievement.128
The ROC, with its small-scale economy and acute international isolation, was not that
important.
As the era of P. W. Botha was drawing to a close, ROC-RSA
nuclear ties
were shifting.
The advent of F.W. de Klerk's presidency in September 1989 heralded the end of ROCRSA nuclear co-operation.
collapse
of the Soviet
After his assumption
Union, the independence
of office, the world witnessed
of Namibia
and, following
the
the
withdrawal
of 50,000
Cuban soldiers,
the establishment
of relative
peace in the
Southern African region. The RSA government realised that the nuclear deterrent was
no longer necessary.
In fact, signing the NPT would be advantageous to South Africa,
especially in the development of relations with other African countries.
The problems
the RSA faced were of a political, not military nature, and nuclear weapons and an
a·mbiguous strategy by no means provided the solution.
De Klerk approved the recommendation
Therefore, in November 1989,
made by an Expert Committee to terminate the
RSA's nuclear programme, and the decision was also made to dismantle the six nuclear
devices which had been fully assembled.129 The nuclear co-operation between the
ROC and the RSA thus came to an end. A new era of political reform and transition
dawned in the RSA as from the beginning of 1990.
The
nuclear
energy
co-operation
programme
between
commenced in March 1980 and came to a clos8in
the
ROC
and the
RSA
1989. The ROC's main objective
was to ensure and diversify its sources of supply of nuclear fuel for the needs of its
three nuclear power stations.130 For the RSA, the aim of the co-operation was primarily
to seek the ROC's support in the supply of mechanical components
and equipment,
fi.nancing for the procurement of uranium through advance payments, the exchange of
technology and visits, as well as the provision of logistic/technical
assistance for the
construction of a commercial uranium enrichment plant at Pelindaba.131
The nuclear co-operation
was not concerned with the military weapons'
programme.
South Africa did not need the ROC's assistance in the development of nuclear weapons
due to the fact that long before the commencement of ROC-RSA nuclear co-operation,
the RSA had already built a nuclear test site in the Kalahari Desert in 1977 and
developed its first atomic bomb in 1979, one year prior to the start of the ROC-RSA
nuclear relationship.132
Although the co-operation was commercial and logistical in nature, the ROC played a
significant role in the establishment
production.
and expansion of the RSA's nuclear enrichment
With the ROC's support, the RSA's nuclear research base and enrichment
foundation had been firmly established.
semi-commercial
uranium enrichment
The RSA completed the construction
plant (code-named
of the
the Z-plant) at the end of
1986, and the plant became operational in 1988. South Africa had become one of the
few countries in the Western World, which not only has abundant uranium resources,
but also its own enrichment plant to meet the need of Koeberg nuclear power plant.
This was a remarkable achievement.
The journey of the ROC-RSA
nuclear joint venture, however, did not last long.
The
high tide period was from 1980 to 1985 while Roux was still alive. From the year 1985,
the co-operation
programme.
nuclear
lost its momentum.
In 1987, the CIA exposed the ROC's nuclear
Under USA pressure and intervention, the interactions of the ROC-RSA
co-operation
dissipated
as from 1988.
The nuclear
links were officially
terminated towards the end of 1989 when De Klerk came to power and embarked on
the road of political reform to normalise the RSA's international relations.
Although the ROC did not go nuclear overtly and the ROC-RSA
nuclear co-operation
was not geared towards the production of nuclear weapons, the USA was concerned
that the ROC's nuclear programme, if not carefully supervised, posed a risk of nuclear
proliferation and could cause open war between the PRC and the ROC.
fact that the ROC's nuclear fuel-cycle
In spite of the
programme was aimed at the generation
of
electrical power, the ROC scientists, however, were able to extract weapons-grade
plutonium from the nuclear fuel. The USA feared that the ROC would provoke a military
confrontation with the PRC.133
In essence, the ROC's nuclear co-operation
with the RSA was part of its "survival
strategies" during the most difficult times of the 1980s when its main patron, the USA,
was preoccupied
opertaion.134
with the Soviet threat and strengthening
USA-PRC
strategic co-
There were dual purposes for the ROC's nuclear co-operation with the
RSA.
The ROC's main objective - the development of nuclear energy for the peaceful
use of its expanding industry - has already been analysed.135 Besides this objective,
the ROC wanted nuclear capability, which would be used as a deterrent.
It is believed
that "this [was] a purposeful effort to create speculation concerning Taiwan's potential
as a nuclear power.,,136 The ROC saw its progress in the nuclear programme and
potential to build atomic bombs as "a means to counter a military threat from the
mainland.,,137 It seems that the ROC tried to quietly move closer to the nuclear
threshold through the ROC-RSA nuclear co-operation programme.
By doing so, it was
apparent that, as the USA's commitment to the ROC was vague, its nuclear potential
and its purposeful strategy of keeping its nuclear intentions ambiguous were intended to
make the PRC leaders think twice should they attempt to invade the island.138 If the
USA had not intervened in 1987 to stop the ROC's nuclear research programme, the
joint achievements of the RSA's nuclear technology and its enriched uranium, together
with the ROC's entrepreneurship,
capital and organisational
skills could have enabled
both the ROC and the RSA to become countries in possession of nuclear weapons.
To
confirm this, near the end of 1987, the CIA's secret agent eventually found out that as
from 1974, Taiwanese scientists, most of them educated in the USA, were preparing to
extract weapons-grade plutonium from the nuclear fuel of a research reactor supplied
by Canada.139 They were also busy "working on the design of a ballistic missile that
equid deliver a warhead against mainland [the PRC's] targets."141 It was only after the
USA demanded that Taiwan "shut down the nuclear programme or face a cut-off of
American assistance, including sales of nuclear technology for Taiwan's electric power
industry" that the nuclear programme was curtailed.141 However, the ROC's research
base and the team of nuclear physicists still exist.142
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10
11
12
13
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
32.
33.
34.
35.
36.
37.
Barber & Barratt, South Africa's Foreign policy, 1945-88,p.241. See also Harkavy, "The Pariah State
Syndrome·, p.640.
F.W. de Villiers, R. Jardine & M. Reiss, "Why South Africa Gave Up The Bomb" in foreign Affairs,
NovemberlDecember 1993, Vol. 72, No.5, pp.98, 103; See also par1iamenta£Y
Debates, March 24th,
1993.
The Republic of China Yearbook 1996, pp.162-163.
The Central News Agency (CNA), 1996 ~
([he ChineseWor1dAlmanac 1996), p.33.
S. Long, Taiwan' China's Last Frontier, p.101.
Kuo, Economic policies, pp. 118-119.
Long, Taiwan' China's Last Frontier, p.102.
The RepUblic of China Yearbook, 1997, pp.166-167.
Chen-hsing Yen, "Taiwan's Nuclear Philosophy" in Nuclear Active, January 1977, published by
South African Atomic Energy Board (AEB), p.28.
TLO Archives, Pretoria:
(prime Minister P.W. Botha's visit to the ROC), Vol. 2, r:pll(J
lI(J~.r:pmd 189 *d~C» (The Minutes of the Meeting of Central Standing Committee of the
Kuomintang,October 2200,1980), pp.3-5.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
ftMl!¥I& ([he Journalist), June 14th-20th1998,
,
Vol. 588, pp.43-45 (J{fj1l'Ef1~~ff!:~t.I¥.J~~M
$, The historical secret of Chiang Kai-shek's nuclearweapons' programme).
Ibid.
Ibid, p.45.
Ibid.
The Republic of China Yearbook, 1997, pp.317-318.
Ibid.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: Letter of the ROC Ambassador, H.K. Yang, addressed to Dr A.JA Roux,
Chairman of UCOR, July 29th,1980, pp.1-2.
The Republic of China Yearbook, 1996, pp.164-165.
Z. Cervenka & B. Rogers, The Nuclear Axis, p.395.
Taiwan Provincial Government, ~!I!U~I¥[email protected]]Ii~~i!
([he Retrospection and Prospect of the
ROC Economic Development), p.457.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
CNA, The Chinese Wodd Almanac, 1995, pp.271-272.
The Journalist, June 14th-20th1998,
,
Vol. 588, pp.43-45.
K.J. Chi, MIIB ([he Biography of Chiang Ching-kuo), p.360.
Cervenka & Rogers, The Nuclear Axis, p.212.
The Journalist, June ~-13th, 1998, Vol. 587, p.59 (CIA tt~IJ&1&.mgg}lO.
Cited in Crozier, The Man Who Lost China, p.374.
See The Republic of China Yearbook, 1996, p.109; CNA, The Chinese Wodd Almanac, 1997,
pp.725,759.
Chi, The Biography of Chiang Ching-kuo, p.360.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), A Short History of Non-proliferation, pp.41-45. See
also A. Marwah & A. Schulz, Nuclear proliferation and the Near-Nuclear Countries, p.336.
Ibid. p.42 (Text of the Treaty of the Non-Proliferationof NuclearWeapons).
See J. Carter, "Relations with the people on Taiwan" in Memorandum for all Departments and
Agencies of the USA, Dec. 3D, 1978, 44 Fed. Reg. 1075 (1979), cited in M.E. Sharpe (ed.), Ibe
Future of Taiwan, p.148.
~~m.~
40.
41.
43.
44.
45.
46.
47.
48.
49.
50.
51.
52.
53.
54.
56.
See "President Chiang Ching-kuo's principles on US-ROC Relations", cited in Appendix 13 in
M.E. Sharpe (ed.), The Future of Taiwan, p.173.
See B.T.K. Joei, "Would Washington sell out Taiwan?" in In Search of Justice' The Taiwan Story,
pp.331-334.
Ibid., 309-316.
See "Premier Chiang's Administrative
Report, Feb. 23, 1973" in Chinese-English
Current
Documents 1973-74, p.55.
Atomic Energy Board (AEB) , Republic of South Africa (RSA) , Twenty-Fifth Annual Report, 1981,
April 30, 1982, p.6.
Ibid.
Nuclear Development Corporation of South Africa (Pty) Ltd., NUCOR Review, 1984-1985, p.7.
C.S. Mclean, "The Uranium Industry of South Africa" in Journal of the Chemical, MetallullJical and
Mining Society (JCMMS), No. 54, Aprilt 1954, p.346.
AEC Review 1988, p.3.
Yearbook of the Republic of South Africa, 1983, p.716.
Ibid., p.718.
AEC Review, 1988, p.1.
IAEA, A Short History of Non-Proliferation, pp.13-17.
Cervenka & Rogers, The NuclearAxjs, p.175.
Ibid., p.109.
Ibid., p.109-111.
Ibid., p.115.
E.J.G. Janson, The Development of the Uranium and Nuclear Industry in South Africa, 1945-1970' A
Historical Study, D.Phii. thesis, University of Stellenbosch, Dec. 1995, p.344.
AEC Review, 1990, p.3; Cervenka & Rogers, The Nuclear Axis, pp.164-166, 172-173.
F.W. De Villiers, R Jardine & M. Reiss "Why South Africa Gave Up the Bomb?" in Foreign Affairs,
NovemberlDecember 1993, Vol. 72, No.5, p.101.
Ibid.
D.B. Sole, "The Rise of Nuclear Sanctions against South Africa" in American Review, January 1986,
p.3.
61.
62.
63.
64.
65.
66.
67.
68.
69.
Ibid.
Ibid., p.5.
Atomic Energy Corporation of South Africa Ltd. (AEC), AEC Review 1988, p.7.
Sole, "The Rise of Nuclear Sanctions against South Africa", pp.3-4.
Barber & Barratt, South Africa's Foreign Policy, p.239.
Sole, "The Rise of Nuclear Sanctions against South Africa", p.4.
Ibid.
Ibid., p.5.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: tp~nf§~'F
(ROC--RSA Nuclear Energy Co-operation), Memorandum on
Collaboration Between the ROC and the RSA in the Fields of Conversion and Enrichment of
Uranium, March 21st, 1980, pp.3-4.
Yen, "Taiwan's Nuclear Philosophy", p.28.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: Memorandum, pp.1-4.
Ibid., p.1.
See TLO Archives, Pretoria: Agreement for Co-operation Between the Government of the ROC and
the RSA on the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, 1980, p.28.
111
See The Star, September 11",1980, p.23 (Nuclear bomb soon - claim); Rand Daily Mail, June 30 ,
111
1981 (South Africa 'part of an N-triangle); also The Star, June 29 , 1981, p.3 (SA in N-deal with
Israel, Taiwan, say US officials).
De Villiers, Jardine & Reiss, "Why South Africa Gave Up the Bomb", p.100.
AEB, "Joint Memorandum of Understanding Between the ROC and the RSA" collected in the TLO
Archives, Pretoria: tp~~nf§..g-f'F(ROC--RSA Nuclear Co-operation), 11/2 (s) - 16, p.1.
See China Times, September 13111, 1996, pp.1-3, ~Wf~~f5:gill~Hl~it~~
(The Report of
Henry L. Stimson Centre, USA, on Taiwan's Development of Nuclear Weapons).
Ibid.,p.3.
79.
80.
81.
82.
83.
84.
85.
86.
87.
88.
89.
90.
91.
92.
93.
94.
95.
96.
97.
98.
99.
100.
101.
Yen, "Taiwan's Nuclear Philosophyft, p.28.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: ep~~fiG~f'F
(ROe-RSA
Nuclear Energy Co-operation), the ROC
Embassy's telex to MOFA, Taipei, October 11th, 1979, Telex No. 512, p.1.
Ibid., January 2200,1980, Telex No. 630, pp.1-2. Also see ibid., the ROC Embassy's Comprehensive
Report on Premier Sun's Visit to the RSA, April 8th, 1980, p.12.
Ibid.
Ibid., the ROC Embassy's Comprehensive Report, April 8th, 1980, pp.23-24.
Ibid., p.29.
Ibid., Memorandum on Collaboration Between the ROC and the RSA in the Fields of Conversion and
Enrichment of Uranium, March 21 st, 1980, p.4.
Ibid.
Ibid., ~~W.~
(prime Minister P.W. Botha's Visit to the ROC), Vol. 2, the ROC Embassy'S
Telex No. 017 to MOFA, OCtober 15th, 1980, pp.1-2.
Ibid., Memorandum on Collaboration Between the ROC and the RSA in the Fields of Conversion and
Enrichment of Uranium, March 21st, 1980, p.2.
J.W. L. de Villiers, ftForeword by the Chairmanft in AECIAEK Review, 1990, p.3.
P. Jelinek-Fink, ftUrenco's Enrichment Experienceft in Nuclear Active, July 1984, p.11.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: ep~fiG~{'F (ROe-RSA
Nuclear Energy Co-operation), Memorandum,
March 21st, 1980, p.2.
Ibid., ep.~~iI&J(f~i¥i?F*~~iI&J(f~fiG~~JfH1f~{'F~JE (Agreement for Co-operation Between
the Government of the Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of South Africa on the
Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy), (hereinafter called ftAgreement for Nuclear Energy Co-operationj,
March 1980, pp.1-4.
Ibid., p.3.
Ibid., p.2.
Ibid., pp.1-2.
Ibid., Ambassador H.K. Yang's letter addressed to Dr. A.JA Roux, February 28th, 1980, pp.1-2.
Sole, -The Rise of Nuclear Sanctions against South Africaft, p.6.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: the ROC Embassy's telex to MOFA No. 817, June 21st, 1980, p.4.
Ibid., the ROC Embassy's telex to MOFA No. 915, August 20th, 1980, pp.4-5. See also R.S. Louser's
letter addressed to Prof. J.P. Chien, Director of the ROC Institute of Nuclear Energy Research
(INER), August 9th, 1982, p.1.
Ibid., Ambassador HK Yang's letter addressed to Dr. A.J.A. Roux, July 29th, 1980, p.2.
Ibid., UCOR's Programme for the Visit of the ROC Supervisory Committee, November -r'-12"', 1982,
p.3.
102.
103.
104.
105.
106.
107.
108.
109.
110.
111.
112.
113.
114.
Ibid.
Ibid., UCOR's Working Programme for Chinese Delegation, August 18th, 1980, pp.1-4.
Ibid., p.5.
Ibid., ep~Afl~{'Fm~.~
(Minutes of the Conference on ROe-RSA
Nuclear Energy Cooperation), Taipei, August 18th, 1980, pp. 4-5.
Ibid.
see The Star, June 29th, 1981, p.3 (SA in N-deal with Israel, Taiwan, say US officials); The star,
September 1-r', 1980, p.23 (Nuclear bomb soon - claim); and Rand Daily Mail, June 30"', 1981
(South Africa 'part of an N-triangle').
TLO Archives, Pretoria: ep~~fiG~{'F (ROe-RSA
Nuclear Energy Co-operation), the ROC
Embassy's Telex No. 793 sent by the ROC Minister of Economic Affairs to the ROC Embassy in
Pretoria, December 20th, 1980, pp.1-2.
Ibid. See also The Chinese Wond Almanac 1997 pp.203-206.
Ibid.
Ibid., ROC Embassy's official dispatch No.637, July 1st, 1982, pp.1-4. See also The star, June 30th,
1982, p.27('Dr Atom' steps down today).
Ibid., Summary on Supplying Equipment by the ROC for Z-2 Extension, pp.1-3.
AEC, AEC/AEK Review, 1990, p.3.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: ep~~fiG~{'F (ROe-RSA Nuclear Energy Co-operation), Agreement for
ROe-RSA Nuclear Co-operation, 1980, p.1.
115.
116.
117.
118.
119.
120.
121.
122.
123.
124.
125.
126.
127.
128.
129.
130.
131.
132.
133.
134.
135.
136.
137.
138.
139.
140.
141.
142.
Ibid., Supplied Status by Taiwan Manufacturers, pp.1-8.
Ibid.
Ibid., Memorandum on Collaboration between the ROC and the RSA in the Fields of Conversion and
Enrichment of Uranium, March 21 st, 1980, p.4.
The Star, september 1P', 1980, p.25 (Nuclear bomb soon - claim).
Ibid.; Also see Cervenka & Rogers, The Nuclear Axis, p.325.
De Villiers, Jardine & Reiss, "Why South Africa Gave Up the Bomb", p.100.
Ibid.
Cervenka & Rogers, The Nuclear Axis, p.326.
The Journalist (ftIifD, June P'-13th, 1998, Vol. 587, p. 59 (CIA 1J~g&J&mg§~.
Ibid.
Ibid.
China Times, August 6th, 1998, pp.1-4 ( ~~M: JJ!~~Dd6\J!~~~Jft, The fonner ROC Chief of
Staff, General Pei-tsun Hau's Interview: There is no need to develop nuclear weapons at the present
stage).
!bid.
The Star, June 30th, 1982, p.27 ('Dr. Atom' steps down today); Also see A.J. van Wyk, M. Iturralde,
J.D. Esser, P.J. Foune, J. Offenneier, O. Oliver, "SA's unique 131 I-MIBG process" in Nuclear Active,
July 1984, pp.15-18.
De Villiers, Jardine, Reiss, "Why South Africa Gave Up the Bomb", p.103.
Yen, "Taiwan's Nuclear Philosophy", p.28.
TLO Archives, Summary on Supplying Equipment by the ROC for Z-2 Extension, pp.1-3.
De Villiers, Jardine, Reiss, "Why South Africa Gave Up the Bomb", pp. 99-100.
P. Tyler, A Great wan, p.190.
Ibid.
See J.F. Cooper, "Taiwan's Strategy and America's China Policy", in Qrbis, Vol.21, No.2, Summer
1977, p.270
Ibid.
Ibid.
Tyler, A Great wan, p.190.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Apart from political-diplomatic,
economic and nuclear co-operation, there were military
and other important aspects in ROC-RSA bilateral relations which had been developed
prior to the severance of the diplomatic ties in January 1998.
This chapter considers
the relationships in the military, academic, sport and socio-cultural
spheres during the
period from 1976 to 1997. In particular, specific attention will be paid to the military cooperation between the two countries.
It will explore the ROC's past military agreements
with South Africa, including the implementation,
results, constraints and limits thereof.
As to the academic, sport and socio-cultural dimensions, efforts are also made in the
chapter to provide insight into the origins and subsequent developments of the relevant
links for the duration of the two decades.
Military links between the ROC and the RSA were established as from 1977 when the
two countries
exchanged
military
attaches.
But the official
military
co-operation
between Taipei and Pretoria began only on March 11th, 1980 when the then Prime
Minister of South Africa, P.W. Botha, signed a secret Agreement on the Co-operation of
the Defence Industries between the government of the RSA and the government of the
ROC with the then Premier of the ROC, Yun-suan Sun, in Cape Town.1
Both the ROC and the RSA were isolated in the military domain, and both countries
faced severe security threats.
The ROC was and still is under constant threat from its
arch-enemy, the PRC, although its military equipment supply from the USA, and its
international
economic
links remained
largely unaffected
by its external
diplomatic
isolation.
Nevertheless, the ROC was and is denied access to other foreign sources of
military hardware, know-how, training, aid and co-operation.
By 1975, the superiority of
the ROC Air Force over the PLA of the Chinese Communists was eroding as the ROC's
main all-weather operational fighter planes, the American Lockheed F-104, designed in
1950, were ageing and becoming increasingly obsolescent.
Taiwan
lacked all-weather
capability.
The F-5Es assembled in
2
The ROC Navy faced a similar situation.
Therefore, the ROC military eagerly sought superior technology and more advanced
~eaponry,
especially radar-guided air-to-air, air-to-ship and ship-to-ship missiles, with
greater range.
In response to the PRC's military threats, the ROC has sought to
develop its own strong national defence capabilities.
The primary objective of the
ROC's defence policy is to defend Taiwan, the Pescadores, Kinmen, and Matsu.
As
Taiwan is an island, to deter the possible invasion of the PRC from the sea and air,
naval and air supremacy is a priority of its military defence strategy.
The need for the
ROC to maintain a strong military force numbering approximately 400,000 was clearly
expounded by the then ROC President Lee Teng-hui in his speech addressed to the
newly-promoted generals of the ROC armed forces on December 30th, 1994:
Although
we
have
already
unilaterally
abrogated
the
Temporary
Provisions of the Mobilization and Suppression of Communist Rebellion,
and our policy is no longer aimed at reconquering mainland China or using
military force to solve the issue of national unification, the PRC never
renounces the use of military force against us.
continuously
have
isolating and bullying us.
no other
choice
but to develop
Moreover, the PRC is
Under these circumstances,
our own
military
we
armament,
strengthen our national defence and upgrade our fighting power, so as to
ensure that we have no fear of the PRC's military threats, and that we can
initiate and conduct the normal development of the cross-Straits relations.3
The normalisation
of relations between Washington
and Beijing in 1979 was another
serious blow to the ROC's national security. As a result of the severance of USA-ROC
diplomatic ties, the cornerstone of the ROC national security, namely the 1954 USA-
ROC Mutual Defense Treaty, was abrogated as from January 1st, 1980. Although the
USA Congress enacted the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) in March 1979 to substitute the
1954 defence pact and to regulate the USA's substantive relations with the ROC, the
ROC government
termination
was deeply alarmed by the change of American
of the USA-ROC
alliance
in favour of recognition
policy and the
of the PRC for a
rearrangement of the international balance of power. Although the TRA authorised the
USA government to provide the ROC with such defence articles and defence services
as was necessary to enable the ROC to maintain a sufficient self-defence capability, the
PRC pressured the USA government to impose quantitative and qualitative restrictions
on arm sales to the ROC as from August 17th, 1982. The ROC was also denied access
to the more advanced
military products. The American
mainly on the USA's political considerations
arms supplies were based
and national interests.
The ROC's arms
procurement requests for upgraded F-5 fighters and the Harpoon ship-to-ship missiles
were both rejected by the Carter administration on the grounds that the requested arms
sales would be too provocative
to Beijing.4
Under these circumstances,
the ROC
leadership felt that although the ROC government would continue to lobby the American
government and congress to sell defensive arms to the ROC, there was a need to seek
other sources of military technology to safeguard its national security.
To this end,
South Africa, with its fairly advanced arms industry, defence research projects and its
manufacture of various armaments developed by the Armaments Corporation of South
Africa (Armscor)
was considered
a useful partner to upgrade
the ROC's military
equipment, armaments, tests and training.5
To cope with the unreliability of its major arms supplier, the ROC was in quest of the
production of high performance weapons and alternative sources of arms supply and
military training so as to strengthen its national defence, especially to maintain sufficient
naval and air superiority to counter the threat posed by the Communists.
It was for
these reasons that the ROC began its military co-operation with South Africa in 1980.
Yet the ROC's major security guarantor and arms supplier was still the USA from where
they obtained weapon systems and military technology.
In fact, with the American
connection, in particular the TRA, the ROC was militarily far less isolated than South
Africa from the 1960s to the 1980s.
By contrast, South Africa was relatively more isolated than the ROC during the same
period.
Before 1960, Britain was South Africa's main arms supplier.
After the 1960
Sharpeville killings and subsequent harsh repressions elsewhere, however, the British
government
was reluctant to provide arms to South Africa.
Kennedy administration
In August
1963, the
announced that the USA government would start to impose a
selective arms embargo on South Africa as from the end of 1963. The arms embargoes
imposed by the USA and the UK were shaped in the Cold War environment primarily as
a symbolic gesture of opposition to South Africa's apartheid policies in response to the
increasing international outcry against Pretoria's internal policies~ In the same year, the
UN Security Council for the first time called on all states to voluntarily observe an arms
ban against South Africa.
France and Italy, however, ignored the UN's voluntary arms
embargo and emerged to substitute the UK and the USA as the two major arms
s.uppliers to South Africa during 1963-1977.6
Many other countries including Israel,
Belgium, Canada, Jordan, India and Spain also sold arms to South Africa during the
1970s.7
Israel and the ROC were often singled out as having close military co-
operations with South Africa.
Israel reportedly sold South Africa six long-range gun-
boats equipped with guided Israeli-Gabriel
missiles, Uzi submachine
guns, counter-
8
insurgency equipment, and improved tank armour.
However, in November
1977, the UN Security Council imposed a mandatory
embargo on South Africa.
arms
UN member states were obligated to collectively implement
the Security Council's mandatory arms embargo against South Africa in compliance
with this resolution.
However,
it was reported that several communist
countries,
including Bulgaria and Communist China, continued to flout this arms ban, and that
South Africa had secret arms dealings with the PRC even at the height of sanctions and
the UN arms embargoes during the late 1980s and early 1990s.9
This arms embargo
remained in effect until the dawn of the new democratic South Africa in July 1991.
The UN's mandatory
arms ban was an impediment
onwards, most of the major Western
refrained from selling weapons
to South Africa.
From 1978
powers and other member states of the UN
to South Africa and military
assistance
was also
suspended.
Even Israel announced its commitment to abide by the Security Council's
mandatory arms embargo on South Africa.1o Although covert Israeli arms dealings with
South Africa continued until 1987, when the USA put pressure on Israel to end its
clandestine sales to Pretoria,11 overt Israeli military co-operation was gradually drawing
to a close by the year 1980.12
In the face of the gradual enforcement of the international
arms embargo on South
Africa, Pretoria was determined, on the one hand, to develop its own arms industry as
from 1964, and on the other hand, turned to the ROC for military collaboration as from
1980. The ensuing military co-operation between the ROC and the RSA came about
mainly due to four motivations.
Firstly, South Africa perceived the ROC as being in a relatively advantageous
position
because she still retained the USA as her de facto military backer and she was a
wealthy country which needed to import an enormous quantity of armaments for her
self-defence.
military
Therefore, the South African government hoped that through the mutual
co-operation,
Pretoria would be able to obtain components,
spare parts,
technology and know-how of the more advanced American arms system from the ROC
to enhance its own arms industry. As the ROC was not a member of the UN after 1971,
she was not legally bound to observe the UN arms embargo on South Africa.
13
Secondly, the South African arms industry had achieved remarkable progress in selfsufficiency and had grown to become one of the world's top arms exporters by the
1980s.
The ROC was therefore considered an ideal market for the products of the
Armaments Corporation of South Africa (Armscor) and its ten subsidiaries.
However,
from 1984 to 1995, the total value of Armscor's arms export to the ROC was merely
NT$2 billion dollars which is equivalent to R465 million.
The ROC only accorded 1.5
per cent of its defence budget to South Africa. Armscor was deeply disappointed by the
discrepancy between the reality and the originally perceived potentiality of the ROC
market. From Pretoria's perspective, the ROC's arms procurement, mainly ammunition,
from Armscor was insignificant.
The disillusion eventually led to the winding down of
the ROC-RSA military co-operation.14
Thirdly, to counter the Communist expansion in southern Africa, the ROC assisted the
RSA in setting up a monitoring station in a Pretoria suburb as from 1980 to decipher the
Chinese Communist broadcasts,
intelligence communications,
radio announcements,
electronic transmissions
and
and to gather information on the broadcasts from Moscow
in the Chinese language as well.
The exchange of intelligence and the monitoring of
Communist activities in South Africa were important facets of the military co-operation
between the ROC and the RSA.
Last but not least, the ROC-RSA
countries'
common
anti-communist
military co-operation was underpinned
stance and common
survival in their respective uncertain environments
by the two
desire to safeguard
at the time.
their
This was reflected by
the remarks made by the then Prime Minister, P.W. Botha, on March 1ih, 1980 when
he welcomed the then ROC Premier Yun-suan Sun to Cape Town during the state
banquet.
common
In response to Premier Sun's assertion that the two countries
threat from international
communism
faced a
and, for this simple reason,
stood
together and co-operated with each other, P.W. Botha stated clearly that, indeed, both
countries had not only become the victims of international political expedience, but were
also under the threat of aggressive alien communism.15
In a similar line, General Magnus Malan, the then Minister of Defence of the RSA, also
stressed the need for South Africa to cope with the onslaught of Marxist enemies:
The threat against the principles and values we stand for continues to this
day ... Today we have a different enemy.
But the SACP and its terrorist
puppets that we face on our borders and inside South Africa have exactly
the same objective
as the enemy of the Second World War.
That
objective is to destroy our values and what we stand for.
They want to
overthrow our present dispensation ... If we capitulate in the face of this
threat, we will wipe out everything that South Africans have worked for
through the ages and have fought for in two World Wars.16
Therefore, for South Africa, it was the desire to obtain American
arms technology
through the ROC and to sell South African arms to the ROC, combined with the two
countries' common beliefs and mutual need that led her to pursue military co-operation
with the ROC.
The ROC's military co-operation with South Africa was mainly in the
technological field. This involved the development of the defence industries of the two
countries, the exchange of information and know-how in respect of military equipment,
the procurement of military armaments for the ROC's navy and air force, the reciprocal
visits of personnel, and the training of the ROC's military personnel, in particular the
ROC's air force pilots and naval officers, in the RSA.
Of specific interest to the ROC
was the South African Naval training courses for submarine commanding officers and
the RSA's experience in flying the mirage fighter jets.17
The reason the ROC was so keen on learning warfare tactics and gaining experience
from the RSA's navy and air force was the strategic consideration
country,
defence.
naval and air supremacy
were deemed
most important
that as an island
for her national
The military threat of mainland China was mainly from the PRC's missiles,
submarines and air force.
The ROC had two submarines during the 1980s and the
ROC's air force intended to procure 60 French-made new Mirage fighter jets to augment
its combat aircraft wings in addition to its 150 F-16 fighters as from 1993.18 Since the
French-made
Mirage fighter jets were the mainstay of the RSA's air force, and the
RSA's navy had a Submarine
Flotilla consisting of three modernised
Daphne-class
submarines, with one submarine training school in Simon's Town, and a Strike Craft
Flotilla with nine missile-armed strike crafts based in Durban, complemented by a Mine
Countermeasurer
Flotilla comprising
eight River and Ton class minehunters,19 the
relevant training conducted in South Africa would be beneficial to the ROC military
towards boosting its fighting capability.
Therefore, for the ROC, the procurement of armaments was not the main motivation.
was the above-mentioned
It
broad strategic considerations of the two countries that had
kept the ROC and the RSA on a course of military co-operation
for one and a half
decades from 1980 to 1995.
In 1980, the ROC and the RSA secretly entered into an Agreement on the Co-operation
of the Defence Industries of the two countries.
The military co-operation
was signed by P.W. Botha and Yun-suan Sun on March
Sun's official visit to South Africa.
General
Staff, Admiral
11th,
1980 in Cape Town during
Sun was accompanied
Chang-chih
by the then ROC Chief of
Soong, during this visit.
agreement marked the beginning of ROC-RSA
agreement
The signing of this
military co-operation.
The purpose of
the agreement was to "promote and expand all areas of mutual interest in the military
field in order to economise man-power, materials, finance and time, thereby facilitating
the defence industry development of both parties.,,20
The ROC-RSA military co-operation covered all areas of military co-operation, and was
not limited to the collaborative
agreement
development
was called "Agreement
b.etween the ROC and the RSA."
of defence industries
on the Co-operation
alone, albeit the
of the Defence
Industries
In accordance with Article II of this agreement, the
ROC-RSA military co-operation encompassed the following fields:
1.
Research,
development
military/para-military
2.
and
exchange
of know-how
in respect
of
equipment or armaments;
Exchange of information in other related fields as may be determined from
time to time;
3.
Bilateral training and reciprocal visits of personnel; and
4.
Reciprocal
armaments.21
sale
of
military/para-military
equipment,
materials
or
For the collaborative development of their defence industries, it was necessary for the
two countries
designated
to facilitate
two
implementing
levels
co-operation
bilateral co-ordination.
of
corresponding
programmes.
The two governments,
organisations
as
On the policy-making
the
therefore,
mechanism
for
level, the Ministry of
National Defence of the ROC and the Armaments Corporation (Armscor) of the RSA;
and on the execution level, the Combined Service Forces of the ROC and the senior
management of Armscor of the RSA, while all liaison and correspondence
between the
two countries was directed to the Senior General Manager (Commercial) of Armscor of
the RSA and to the Commander-in-Chief
of the Combined Service Forces of the ROC
respectively via the respective accredited defence attaches stationed in Pretoria and
~aipei.
In order to determine the type of co-operation programmes undertaken and to review
their progress, a semi-annual
ROC-RSA
Defence Industry Co-operation
was convened in Pretoria and Taipei alternately.
visiting
delegates
in all conference-related
Conference
The hosting country sponsored the
activities
during
their
sojourn.
The
delegations of the two countries attending the conference were designated as follows:
1.
The ROC Delegation:
•
Vice Chief of the General Staff, Ministry of Defence
•
Deputy Chief of the General Staff for Logistics, Ministry of Defence
•
Deputy Chief of the General Staff for Planning, Ministry of Defence
•
Vice President, Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology
•
Ad Hoc members as may from time to time be required to facilitate
specific projects entered into.
2.
The RSA Delegation:
•
Chairman of Armscor
•
Executive Vice Chairman of Armscor
•
Nominee of the Chief of the Defence Force
•
Senior General Manager (Commercial) of Armscor
•
Ad Hoc members as may from time to time be required to facilitate
specific projects entered into.
Along with the said semi-annual ROC-RSA Defence Industry Co-operation Conference,
each country
also established
its own permanent
Defence
Industry
Committee to effect the execution of the approved co-operation
Co-operation
programmes and to
handle any matters of technical, financial or contractual nature which were agreed upon
at the Co-operation Conference. 22
The ROC Ministry of Defence and its armed forces and the South African Defence
Force (SADF) generally handled the reciprocal training and exchange of personnel
visits programmes.
Due to the restriction
of Article VII of the said Co-operation
Agreement which stipulated that "the co-operation contents shall not be disclosed to a
third country without prior consent of the originating country", 23 the existence of this
agreement and its contents were kept secret.
Based on the above-mentioned
agreement, the ROC-RSA
formally
The first ROC-RSA
launched from 1980.
military co-operation was
Defence
Industry Co-operation
Conference was held in Taipei on May 15th 1980, and the second in Pretoria on October
30th of the same year.
From the third conference
(1981) onwards, till the seventh
conference (1985), the conference was held alternatively in Taipei and Pretoria each
year.
However, from 1986 to 1995, the conference took place every nine months
instead of yearly.
All together, there were eighteen co-operation
conferences for the
duration of the fifteen years from 1980 to 1995.
In 1995, as a result of its policy shift, the South African government
decided to
unilaterally put an end to the military co-operation between the ROC and the RSA as
from 1996, although the ROC was looking forward to the continuation of co-operation
even after South Africa's establishment of diplomatic relation with the PRC. Therefore,
1995 witnessed the last ROC-RSA
was held in Pretoria in May.24
Defence Industry Co-operation Conference, which
During the fifteen-year
time span from 1980 to 1995, the ROC made considerable
efforts to expand military co-operation with South Africa in a number of areas.
was, then, a close relationship
between the ROC and the RSA.
There
Some significant
accomplishments were achieved in Research, Development (R&D) and the exchange of
technology
programmes.
implemented
Many
co-operation
over the 15 years with varying
programmes
degrees
were
discussed
of success.
The notable
successful projects included co-operation in the field of aerodynamics,
tunnel
model
testing
and
the
obtaining
of special
software;
and
especially wind
quality
assurance
programmes; composite materials; the research and development of smart shell ballistic
system
design;
cellular
automata
and
parallel
processing;
superalloys
and ring laser gyros; the development
technology,
sonar technology,
the
development
of RPV engine
of
and airframe
underwater acoustics, sea mines, and anti-aircraft
air
defence systems.25
Exchanges
of technology
were also conducted
with regard to the maintenance
of
Gabriel missiles, target acquisition methods, the development of the air-to-air missile
programme and fibre-optic guided missiles.
In addition to the technical exchanges,
there were many other joint R&D programmes
countries.
that were implemented
by the two
These included tank designs, installation of night vision on M41 tanks,
plating chromium of 76mm quick gun barrels, millimetre wave radar, infrared ray (IR)
countermeasures
and simulation technology, third generation image intensifier tubes,
155mm artillery systems, explosive changes, autonomous target acquisition, FT5 rocket
systems, 127mm artillery rocket systems, and even submarine attachments and mine
countermeasures.26
Most of these joint co-operation programmes were handled by Chung Shan Institute of
Science and Technology
and CSIR.
Development
(CSIST) and Armscor.
Some were implemented
by CSIST
The remainder were pursued by the ROC Metal Industries' Research &
Centre and various organisations
of the ROC military,
Combined Service Forces (CSF) and the planning and maintenance
such as the
divisions of the
ROC Armed Forces, as well as subsidiaries of Armscor such as Denel (Somchem),
Denel (Naschem), Atlas Aircraft Co., Kentron (pty) Ltd., Pretoria Metal Pressings (Pty)
Ltd., and Eloptro.
Eloptro specialised
in military electro-optics;
Somchem supplied
propellants and explosives; and Kentron made guided missiles. It was generally agreed
upon by both sides that the ROC-RSA
R&D co-operation and exchange of technology
were successful from the commencement
of the military co-operation
in 1980 till its
ending in 1995.27
Bilateral training and reciprocal visits of personnel, as well as exchanges between the
respective defence forces took place on a frequent and alternate basis.
As regards
bilateral training, the exact total numbers of military personnel who underwent various
training courses in the respective defence forces, institutions and universities are not
available to date, as military co-operation was shrouded in secrecy.
According to the
compilation of the ROC Embassy in 1995, 85 military officers from the ROC underwent
various training courses in South Africa during 1989-1994; and in the same period,
2,647 military personnel were dispatched by the ROC to pay a short visit to South
Africa. Among them, 2,469 were ROC naval officers and cadets.28
The ROC Naval Goodwill Squadron visited South Africa twice during the period (19891994) - in 1989 and in 1992. The Squadron consisted of two destroyers, one supply
vessel and approximately
1300 naval officers and cadets.
Before 1989, the ROC had
sent the Naval Goodwill Squadron to visit South Africa several times.
In July 1985, the
ROC dispatched a Naval Task Group of three ships with 1,400 officers and midshipmen
to visit South Africa for 15 days. The visit coincided with the South African Navy Week,
July 8_13th, and the Durban Tattoo.
From 1994 until the severance
of ROC-RSA
diplomatic links in 1998, the ROC twice dispatched the Naval Goodwill Squadron to visit
South Africa - in 1996 and in 1997. The ROC Naval Goodwill Squadron visited Cape
Town, Simon's Town and Durban during 2ih
May - 8th June, 1996. The main purpose
of the 1996 visit was to enable the ROC naval officers and cadets to engage in longdistance navigation
training with the South African Navy (SAN).
The ROC Naval
Goodwill Squadron's visit in April 1997 was at the invitation of the SAN in celebration of
its seventy-fifth anniversary.
This visit in 1997 marked the last presence of the ROC
naval squadron on South African seas in the naval histories of the two countries.
add the figures of the above-mentioned
If we
ROC Naval Goodwill Squadron visits to those
from 1980-1988, the total number of ROC military personnel who visited South Africa or
attended various training courses in the RSA is estimated at approximately 10,000.29
Visits by the ROC military top personnel also took place.
Twenty-three
senior ROC
military delegations with a total of 83 senior officers including generals, admirals and
commanding officers were invited by the South African Defence Force to visit the RSA
during 1989-1994.
Altogether,
approximately
203 officers of the ROC military's top
personnel visited the RSA during 1980-1997.30
General Staff, and Commanders-in-Chief
This included the ROC Chiefs of
of the ROC Army, Navy and Air Force.
of the ROC Chiefs of General Staff visited South Africa.
Most
The Chief of General Staff is
the highest commanding general of the ROC military command system and is in charge
of military affairs and operational matters.
The ROC-RSA
military co-operation was initiated during the term of office of Admiral
Chang-chih Soong, the ROC then Chief of General Staff from 1976 to 1981.
Admiral
Soong accompanied Yun-suan Sun, on his official visit to South Africa in March 1980
and witnessed
the signing of the Agreement
on the Co-operation
of the Defence
Industries between the ROC and the RSA on March 11th in Cape Town.
While he was
in South Africa, Admiral Soong met his counterpart General Magnus Malan, the then
Chief of Staff of the SADF, and the then Chief of the South African Navy, Vice-Admiral
R.A. Edwards, to discuss the framework of ROC-RSA
bilateral military co-operation.
Admiral Soong visited the South African Army College, Simon's Town Naval Base,
Armscor, the SADF military bases and the frontline in South West Africa (Namibia) near
the border of Angola to assess the regional military situation.31
But the ROC-RSA
military co-operation
truly flowered under the tenure of Admiral
Soong's successor - General Pei-tsun Hau, the longest-serving
of the ROC (1981-1989).
Chief of General Staff
Hau visited South Africa during April 24th
-
May 3rd, 1983.
During his visit, Hau met the then Prime Minister, P.W. Botha; the then Minister of
Defence, General Magnus Malan; the then Chief of the S.A. Defence Force, General
Constand Viljoen; the then Chief of the South African Navy, Vice-Admiral A. P. Putter;
and the then Head of Armscor, Commandant
held between the two sides.
Piet Marais.
Various discussions were
It was agreed by both that the ROC-RSA
military co-
operation, in particular the co-operation of defence industries, should be founded on the
basis of non-profit seeking and that no subsidy would be provided by either country to
the other. It was agreed also that the two countries would play different roles in the joint
endeavour and share equally in the development of cost-reduced
military equipment
and armaments.32
South
African
According
military
personnel
visited
the
ROC frequently
during
1980-1995.
to the statistics compiled by the ROC Embassy, 31 high-ranking
African commanding
officers and 171 middle-ranking
South
South African military officers
visited the ROC during 1989-1994; and 19 South African military officers underwent
military training in the ROC.33 In addition, there were approximately 64 middle-ranking
South African military officers and officials who attended the political warfare course at
the ROC Fu Hsing Kang College from 1980 to 1996. Each year, the ROC government
sponsored 3 to 5 South African trainees to attend the above-mentioned
course. The Fu
Hsing Kang College (literally means Renaissance Hill College) was established in 1951
in a suburb of Taipei to train political warfare cadres for the ROC armed forces and
those of countries friendly to the ROC. The college has 11 departments and a graduate
school offering both master's and doctoral degree programmes.
focused on the understanding
of the doctrine of international
The training course
communism,
various
communist parties' political systems and their common tactics including the warfares of
ideology, organisation,
intelligence, psychology, mobilisation of masses, and strategy.
The political warfare course was open to not only the South African military personnel,
but also to the South African Police (SAP) and officials from other South African
governmental organisations including the State Security Council, Bureau of Information,
Department
governments.
of National
Education,
Department
of Home
Affairs
and
provincial
The majority of the South African trainees of the said course were
nominated by the SADF.
In 1989, at the height of ROC-RSA military co-operation, the
ROC government unilaterally offered to set up a special political warfare class NO. 102
(training duration 6 weeks: from July 8th to August 19th) to train 25 South African military
officers to combat the growing communist threat. However, the SADF was only able to
send 2 military officers to attend the said course in 1989 and 5 officers in 1990.34
Most of the top South African generals and military commanding
officers at the time
either visited the ROC or received various medals in recognition of their contributions
towards promoting the close military exchanges and co-operation
between the ROC
and the RSA. As early as 1981, the ROC had presented medals for political warfare to
the then South African Minister of Defence, General Magnus Malan; then Chief of the
South African Defence Force, General Constand Viljoen; then Chief of the South African
Army, Lt-General Jannie Geldenhuys; then Chief of Staff: Operations, Lt-General John
Dutton; then Chief of the South African Navy, Admiral Ronnie Edwards; and other top
South African officers including Major-General
Pieter Hanekom, Major-General
Pieter
van der Westhuizen and Brigadier George Wassenaar.35
Although there was a common ground for the ROC and the RSA to pursue military cooperation, the fundamental divergence of interests between the two countries inhibited
the deepening of the military co-operation during 1980-1996 and eventually led to its
demise.
The divergence of interests was primarily due to four factors.
countries are geographically
national security threat.
Firstly, the two
far apart, and there was no common enemy or common
Therefore, it was difficult for the ROC and the RSA to form a
real military alliance.
Secondly, from a security point of view, the threats to national security for the two
countries were different.
The ROC is an island country.
She faced a serious external
military threat from the Chinese Communists - a real menace of seaward and airborne
military attack.
Therefore, the ROC was, and still is, primarily concerned with her air
and sea supremacy, while the army is for defence purposes.
By contrast, South Africa
is primarily a land power, and thus concerned with her landward defence.
South
Africa's national security threats mainly originated from internal civil resistance against
political, economic and social inequalities or injustices.
The low-level bush war in SWA
border areas and southern Angola was not a serious military threat to South Africa. The
guerrilla menace of SWAPO and the ANC was limited; even the Cuban forces stationed
in Angola
at the time dared
Furthermore, other neighbouring
not launch
a head-on
attack
against
the
SADF.
countries lacked the military capacity to pose a real
offensive military threat to South Africa.
Under these circumstances,
air defence and
sea control were not that important for the RSA. The South African Navy is smaller than
the Navy of the ROC.
South Africa phased out most of the deep-sea patrol vessels,
and built small high-speed missile-carrying vessels with limited operational radius.
the then Chief of the South African Navy, Rear-Admiral
As
R.A. Edwards, indicated, the
~outh African Navy was "a small ship fleet.,,36
South Africa developed a wide range of military products for landward defence purpose
such as G5 & G6 artillery systems, the Eland-90 armoured cars, Olifant tanks, Ratel-90
vehicles, the 127mm multiple Rocket launcher, the Hotnotsgod mine-detecting
vehicle,
the Casspir armoured personnel carrier, the Rooivalk attack helicopter, and Cactus
surface-to-air
missile system.
This landward military equipment,
required for the ROC defence establishment.
however, was not
The defence strategy of the ROC was
different from that of the RSA. For the ROC military, the war would first be fought in the
air and on the sea, not on the ground of the densely populated island.
Naval and air
supremacy, therefore, were given priority. From the ROC's perspective, the most likely
threats from mainland China were and still are a naval blockade, low-level harassment
(such as the missile tests) and missile attack.
The PRC's deployment
of its first
generation of intercontinental
ballistic missiles (ICBM) and its testing of sea-launched
ballistic missiles (SLBM) as from the 1980s raised serious concerns in the ROC.37 The
ROC needed to upgrade its sea and air defences with modern warships, an anti-missile
defence system, warning and surveillance equipment, F-16 fighter aircrafts from the
USA and the French-built Mirage 2000 fighter planes.38 None of these armaments were
being produced by South Africa.
The divergence
of military strategies of the two countries was clearly specified by
General Pei-tsun Hau on May 2nd, 1983 when he met Commandant Piet Marais during
his trip to South Africa. Hau stated:
We are facing similar international
ground for anti-Communism.
country is different.
situations, and we share a common
But the intensity of military threat to each
At this point in time, South Africa has no credible
military threats from the sea and the air; but for the ROC, its major threats
are from the air and the sea. Therefore, the priority of the ROC defence
policy is to ensure the control of air and sea superiority.
For South Africa,
the priority of its defence policy is to focus on landward mobile fighting
power and its capability of anti-insurgency or anti-guerrilla warfare.39
The third factor of divergence was the difference of weapon systems between the two
countries.
In the 1950s and early 1960s, most of South Africa's weapon systems were
of British origin with a mixture of American aircraft; and as from 1967, the French 'DMA'
military-industrial
system was selected by the South African government as a model for
the development of the South African arms industry under the threat of an international
arms embargo.4o By 1972, South Africa's defence industry had made tremendous
progress in the production of defence-related
ammunition and armaments.
On April
26th, 1972, the then Minister of Defence, P.W. Botha, announced that South Africa was
absolutely self-sufficient in terms of internal demand.41 Thus, South Africa was no one's
military client. On the contrary, in order to recoup the escalating cost of developing new
weapons systems and to maintain the technological competence of its defence industry,
there was a need for South Africa to pursue arms export.
By comparison,
relying on American
military and diplomatic
support, the ROC has
always been one of the faithful military clients of the USA, because it is not allowed to
develop its own nuclear forces and arms industry.42 The ROC's weapons system was
and is still a mainly American
system, and its defence policy is firmly linked with
American security planning in East Asia. All of the American arms sales to the ROC are
controlled by the Office of Munitions Control of the Department of State of the USA.
The licensing for the sale of arms, components
s"trictly forbade
her to
resell
these
and military equipment to the ROC
armaments
and
components
to the
RSA.
Furthermore, although the ROC was no longer a member of the UN in the 1980s, the
ROC had no intention of violating any UN ban on arms exports to South Africa.
The
main consideration for the ROC military's refusal to sell American military equipment,
components
or even technology
to South Africa was due to the ROC leadership's
longstanding guiding principle of its defence policy that any military co-operation with
other foreign countries, including Israel, should not affect the continuance of American
arms sales to the ROC.43 It was apparent that the ROC did not want to displease, and
so disrupt, its security links with the USA. After all, the military co-operation with South
Africa was more peripheral, than vital, to the ROC.
The fourth factor was the difference of perception.
The South African government
expected the military co-operation not only to accelerate the rapid development of its
defence
industry
through
the
attainment
of
sensitive
foreign
technology
and
components, but also to enable Armscor to expand its arms sales to the ROC, so as to
earn foreign exchange to maintain the competitiveness
industry.
of the South African defence
In contrast, the ROC perceived the bilateral military co-operation as a means
to strengthen and safeguard the diplomatic ties between the two countries.
In other
words, the ROC emphasised the form which served merely as a means to an end, while
the RSA emphasised the substance which was expected to bring about real results for
its defence industry and big export orders from the ROC.44
Due to the above-mentioned
divergence of interests and perceptions, with the passage
of time, there was growing disillusionment
in South Africa, particularly
leadership of Armscor, with the results of the military co-operation
and the ROC.45
sophisticated
As the ROC was dependent
military equipment,
assured arms-supply source.
among the
between the RSA
on the USA for the supply of its
the ROC had no intention to upset its relatively
Besides the acquisition of some ammunition, torpedoes
and various electronic and avionic accessories,
the ROC was reluctant to purchase
South African arms products such as G5 and G6 artillery systems and Rooivalk attack
helicopters.
She preferred technology
transfers, exchange of visits and training of
personnel.
In the face of PRC military threats, the ROC spent massive financial resources on
national defence.
The ROC's defence budget took up between 50.8 and 66.1 per cent
of central government
budget during
24.51 % in 1995, and 15.8% in 2000.
spending was approximately
1970-1987,
but has decreased
gradually
to
On an annual average, the ROC's defence
10% of its gross national product (GNP) and over 40% of
the national budget during the period of 1970-1989.
The percentage of the defence
spending of the ROC decreased to approximately 25.3% of its total government budget
in 1993 and then to 24.2% in 1994.46 In the 1993 fiscal year, the ROC total government
expenditure was USA$71.5 billion, and the total national budget increased to USA$73.5
billion in 1994.47 In dollar terms, the ROC's defence spending was USA$18.09 billion in
1993 and USA$17.79
billion in 1994.
more than one-quarter
Military procurement
of the ROC defence
USA$4.49 billion on military procurement.
budget. 48
spending
accounted for
In 1997, the ROC spent
From the above data, it can be seen that the
ROC is one of the biggest arms importing countries in the world.
But the ROC's
acquisition of military equipment and weapons was mainly limited to American arms and
French-made frigates and Mirage jet fighters that were sold to the ROC during 19911992.49
During 1991 and early 1992, Armscor proposed to jointly develop the Rooivalk CSH-2
Combat Support Helicopter with and sell G6/G5 systems to the ROC.
However, the
ROC indicated that it had no interest in these items, and instead, purchased American
helicopters and weapons.
The failure of marketing South African arms products to the
ROC upset relations between the two countries.
Armscor were deeply disappointed
throughout 1980-1995.
The South African government and
at the scant amount of arms sales to the ROC
For the six years from 1984 to1989, the RSA managed to sell a
mere R4.9 million worth of ammunition and components to the ROC; and during 19901995, the ROC's total military procurement from South Africa was in the region of R140
million, with ammunition being the main item. 50. The ROC increased military purchases
from the RSA to try safeguard the shaky diplomatic ties between the two countries.
According to Armscor's
statistics, the grand total of ROC military acquisitions
from
South Africa during the period from 1980 to 1995 was R465 million, approximately 1.5%
of the ROC's annual defence budget.51 Consequently, the leadership of Armscor was
extremely unhappy about the insignificant arms sales to the ROC and the fact that the
ROC's large contracts were not awarded to the RSA.
On May 12'h, 1992, in its
memorandum to the then President F.W. de Klerk, Armscor severely criticised ROCRSA military co-operation by bemoaning that "the RSA is getting only the crumbs from
the rich man's table.,,52 One year later, Armscor belittled the significance of the annual
ROC-RSA Defence Industry Conference as nothing but "drink drink, talk talk.,,53
By 1995, both Armscor and the SANDF were determined
military co-operation
to terminate
and establish diplomatic ties with the PRC.
ROC-RSA
This could be seen
from the following presentation made by Armscor's Foreign Procurement Manager, T.G.
Shaefer, on May 23rd, 1995 at a meeting chaired by Aziz Pahad, Deputy Minister of
Foreign Affairs, at the Diplomatic Guest House in Pretoria to review South Africa's
relations with the two Chinas:
The ROC-RSA
operation
Therefore,
technology,
Agreement
has petered out to a large extent and co-
in the technological
field
has died down to almost
although there have been some successes
especially
in terms of aerodynamics,
substantial involvement in recent years.
zero.
in the field of
there has been no
The armaments bought by the
ROC are relatively substantial in a South African context (R465 million),
but in relation to the ROC's defence budget, it is insignificant
1.5 per cent was accorded to South Africa).
The type of equipment
bought was never of a long-term system investment
ammunition
was the main item.
(i.e. about
In comparison,
commitment,
and
the PRC has shown
considerable interest, and Armscor already has a representative in Beijing.
Armscor has also indicated to the ROC that the six-monthly meetings in
terms of the ROC-RSA Agreement, should be winded down gradually.
In contrast, the PRC presents a huge potential, especially in the field of
technology.
Co-operation
exploratory visits.
is increasing
and there
have been some
Whereas the ROC declined in the past under the UN
embargo to assist Armscor to procure sensitive material, the PRC did not
refrain from assisting Armscor.
to the PRC in the past.54
Equipment of about R230 million was sold
It was apparent that Armscor was in favour of a shift in South Africa's diplomatic policy
towards
the PRC and the termination
representatives
of ROC-RSA
military
co-operation.
The
of the SANDF, namely Brigadier J.L. de Beer, Brigadier Groenewald
and Colonel J.L. Croukamp, also revealed that the SANDF was dissatisfied with the
ROC's failure of arms transfer. They indicated that "the ROC always kept its arms trade
with South Africa within the limitations of the UN arms embargo, and would not facilitate
access for South Africa to third countries in terms of military technology.,,55
From the SANDF's perspective,
South Africa received little benefit from the bilateral
military co-operation between the RSA and the ROC, and therefore South Africa's real
long-term interests lay with the PRC.
and the lack of substance of ROC-RSA
The PRC's international position and influence,
military co-operation in the past were cited as
main reasons for the SANDF to support the idea of establishing full diplomatic relations
with the PRC:
The PRC is very influential in the Security Council.
Even the USA is
seeking a closer relationship with the PRC although the latter perceives
the USA as a potentially major threat.
The PRC has strong ties with and
influence in Africa. Of specific interest to the SANDF is the modernization
programme of the PRC defence force which includes a vast improvement
in technological hardware and which presents an important opportunity.
There has been a great deal of "noise" from the ROC, but not much
substance.
The PRC is a major power, and the potential ties with the
PRC look very goOd.56
The "noise" mentioned above was the pledge made by the ROC in 1994 to make a
USA$40 million dollar grant available to the Service Corps of the SANDF for the
establishment of a vocational training centre as from 1995 for the training of rationalised
servicemen.
This project was perceived by the SANDF as an effort made by the ROC
to save its diplomatic relation with South Africa.
It was alleged that "according to the
Department of Defence, the ROC will attempt to foster military co-operation in order to
deflect South African interest in the PRC.,,5?
Actually,
before the above-mentioned
meeting, the South African
government
had
already sent Lt. General Verbeek, the then Chief of Staff in charge of intelligence; Major
General Thikare, the then Deputy Chief of Staff (intelligence);
and Brigadier J.L. de
Beer, the then Director of External Affairs of the SANDF to pay a clandestine visit to
mainland China in January 1995. The main aim of this trip was to commence a process
of military contact and information exchange with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of
the PRC. After returning to Pretoria, the delegation recommended that as the RSA had
derived very little benefit from its military co-operation
with the ROC, the SANDF
58
regarded it of importance to build relations with the biggest military power in East Asia.
One year after the RSA had secretly established military links with the PRC in January
1995, the South African government
officially
decided to terminate
its military co-
o'peration with the ROC and to stop its arms sales to the ROC as from September 1996.
The official decision was taken by the Cabinet meeting of the RSA on September 13th,
1996 chaired by President Mandela.
The passing of the resolution was based on No.
13 Memorandum of September 5th, 1996 (File Ref. No. OS 5/1/9B) submitted by the
National
Conventional
Arms Control
Committee
(NCACC).59
The Chairperson
NCACC was Kader Asmal, then Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry.
of
The main
consideration that prompted the NCACC to request the South African Cabinet to end its
arms sales to the ROC was probably due to the concern that the continued arms sales
and military co-operation
future/further
expansion
with the ROC would have a detrimental
of South Africa's
political and economic
impact on the
relations with the
PRC.6o Strong reaction could be expected from the PRC as it regarded the sale of arms
to the ROC as interference in its own internal affairs.
The last ROC-RSA
Defence Industry Co-operation
(Armscor' s office) from May 10th to May 1ih,
From 1995 onwards,
the South African
Conference was held in Pretoria
1995.
government
This was the 18th Conference.
was no longer interested
in
continuing its military co-operation with the ROC, and by 1996, most of the original arms
sales had been terminated,
with the exception
of a small amount
ammunition which was sold to the ROC during 1996-1997.
of insensitive
Other than that, ROC-RSA
military ties have ceased to exist as have the bilateral visits of military personnel and
naval squadrons since April 1997.61
In sum, the ROC and the RSA secretly entered into an Agreement on the Co-operation
of the Defence Industries between the two countries in 1980. The ROC-RSA
military
co-operation lasted for 16 years from 1980 to 1996 when, in a cabinet meeting held on
September 13th, 1996, the South African government decided to terminate its military
ties with the ROC.
The geographically far-flung military co-operation came to an end
soon after the ROC naval squadron paid its last visit to South Africa in April 1997. The
ending of ROC-RSA
military co-operation was timed for the shift in the RSA's China
policy.
6.3
ACADEMIC.
CULTURAL
AND SOCIAL
LINKS BETWEEN
THE
ROC AND
THE RSA
This section examines the development of academic, educational and socio-cultural ties
between the ROC and the RSA and their respective impacts on the two countries, as
well as the limits of the politically motivated socio-cultural relationship.
Prior to the 1970s, the ROC's academic ties with South Africa were insignificant.
t~o countries have different cultural and educational traditions.
The
The ROC's education
system is USA-oriented and most of the ROC university graduates choose the USA as
their destination for advanced studies.
In 1986, there were 25,660 ROC students
and colleges.52 Other favourite destinations for ROC
enrolled at USA universities
students to pursue their studies, according to statistics compiled in 1986, were Japan
(182), West Germany (103), France (80) and Britain (36).53
In 1988, over 98,000
students from the ROC went overseas for advanced education, with more than 90% of
these students being educated in the USA.54 As regards foreign students studying in
the ROC, these are mostly South Korean and American students.
In 1986, among the
3,660 foreign students at ROC institutions of tertiary education, 1,089 came from South
Korea, 747 from the USA, 610 from Japan, 367 from Indonesia,
Germany,
179 from
France,
165 from Thailand
181 from West
55
and 120 from the Philippines.
Overseas Chinese students are excluded from the above statistics.
Students from
these countries choose the ROC because of geographic proximity such as in the case
of Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines, or because of the existence of
co-operative
arrangements
between
the related
countries
and the
ROC.
Germany, France and the USA have entered into various governmental
West
and non-
governmental agreements with the ROC to provide scholarships for students from each
other's countries.55
In comparison with the ROC, the RSA's education system and cultural relations with
foreign countries before 1994 were European-oriented.
This was particularly evident in
the 1970s prior to South Africa's establishment of diplomatic relations with the ROC in
1976. The RSA's Eurocentric disposition in culture during the 1970s is reflected in its
cultural
countries.
agreements,
interactions
and assignment
of cultural
attaches
in foreign
In 1975, eight foreign cultural delegations visited South Africa, and in turn,
eight South African cultural delegations went abroad; most of the destinations
of the
visits of the South African cultural delegations were European countries such as the
Netherlands, Belgium and the Federal Republic of Germany.
South Africa concluded a
number of cultural agreements, also mainly with European countries or countries with
Western culture such as the Netherlands, Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany
and Paraguay.
South Africa maintained
cultural
links mostly with institutions
in
countries with Western heritage, viz. the academic links between the South African
Institute at Amsterdam
Pretoria.
and the Dutch Cultural History Institute at the University of
South Africa assigned its cultural attaches to the respective embassies in
accordance with the cultural agreements.67
As a result of cultural differences,
cultural agreements,
the lack of interchange
and the void of bilateral
very few contacts occurred in the fields of education,
culture,
science and technology between the ROC and the RSA before 1976.
The year 1976 marked the beginning
between the ROC and the RSA.
of increased
cultural and academic
In April 1976, the diplomatic representation
South Africa and the ROC was elevated from that of consul-general
contact
between
to ambassador.
One of the consequences of the elevation of diplomatic representation was the budding
of ROC-RSA
cultural and academic
interactions.
In 1976, the then ROC Deputy
Premier, Ching-chung Hsu; the then Deputy Minster of Foreign Affairs, H.K. Yang; and
the then Director of the Institute of International Relations of the ROC, Wei-ping Tsai
visited the RSA. 68
Although formal governmental
cultural agreements
had not been concluded
during
1976-1988, the ROC and the RSA governments made a concertered effort to initiate a
more than a decade's long process of information interchange and exchanges of visits
between the two countries.
In the course of twelve years, there was an increased
exchange of visits by cabinet ministers, high-ranking educational officials, chancellors,
vice chancellors, professors, scholars, educationists and teachers from one country to
the
other.
Artists,
actors,
journalists,
writers,
performers,
musicians,
sports
administrators and athletes were also encouraged by the two governments to engage in
exchange visits, performances,
tours, competitions
"study tours" were
for the academics,
organised
and social association.
scientists
and students
Various
of the
respective
universities,
colleges
and research
institutions.
The ROC government
regularly sent its official publications such as The Republic of China Yearbook, The
Free China Journal and Free China Review to South African universities and libraries at
no cost. After 1976, the ROC's Central News Agency stationed a special correspondent
in Johannesburg to gather news items on South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa for the
mass media in Taipei.59
The ROC-RSA
figures
of
socio-cultural
persons
academic/educational
who
contacts took diverse forms.
visited
the
other
country
Nevertheless,
under
the
the exact
relevant
and socio-cultural exchange programmes are not available.
This
is due to the fact that many such exchange programmes were conducted in a low profile
manner and no press releases were issued.
Some visits were concealed for fear that
association might be construed as violating the cultural and sports boycotts imposed by
the United Nations against South Africa and furthermore, some individual players and
visitors simply arranged their own visits with their counterparts without informing the
relevant authorities.
As a matter of fact, most of the ROC sports persons who visited
South Africa were either professional or junior players.
They were not members of the
ROC National Olympic Teams, which had to observe the regulations of the International
Olympic Committee (IOC).
The ROC National Olympic Committee affirmed its sports
boycott position and refrained from engaging South African teams at the national level
so as to avoid becoming embroiled in the international sanctions and being blacklisted
by the Special Committee Against Apartheid of the UN.70
The evidence of this can be seen from the following two historical events.
Firstly, in
January 1980, the ROC Badminton Association organised and hosted an International
Badminton tournament in Taipei. As this tournament was an international event, many
member states of the IOC were invited to send their national badminton
participate.
teams to
In order to abide by the international sports boycott, the ROC Badminton
Association, however, denied the South African national badminton team's participation
in the event by making the excuse that the submission of the South African team was
too late to be included in the tournament.
An apology was conveyed to the South
African Badminton Union to avoid hurting the South African side's feelings.71 Secondly,
in UN Special Committee Against Apartheid's report, published on October 25th, 1989
and in other related documentation, the ROC was never in violation of the international
boycotts against South Africa.
Special Committee.
These boycotts were constantly monitored by the UN
The UN Special Committee Against Apartheid's
1989 Register of
Sports Contacts with South Africa contained the names of 3,404 athletes who had
violated the international
boycotts; among them, USA sportspersons
constituted
the
highest number (868), followed by those of the United Kingdom (770), while those from
the ROC did not appear in the UN Registry.72 This proves the author's point that the
ROC's cultural and sports exchanges with South Africa were mainly conducted
university and college students, as well as professional and junior players.
by
Examples of
these exchanges include the visits made by orchestra of the University of Pretoria and
the orchestra of the University of Port Elizabeth (in 1989), the participation of four ROC
female
golf players
in the 1984 Western
Province
Women's
Championships
at
Rondebosch, the Free State Youth Symphony Orchestra's 1986 tour to Taipei, the 1986
vjsit of the University of Pretoria's rugby team to the ROC (led by Naas Botha), the 1984
tour of SA Trim Gym Association, and exchanges of various youth goodwill teams of the
two countries.
If national Olympic team players wished to visit the respective country,
they were usually advised to join the tour in their individual capacities, not as players of
national Olympic teams.73
Moreover, the two sides also ensured that the diverse cultural and sports exchanges
were implemented
in the name of different
clubs, universities,
colleges
and civic
organisations as ordinary civilian teams, not as the national teams or as governmentinvolved interchange activities.
For instance, in October 1983, the National Bowling
Operations of South Africa invited the Bowling Association of the ROC to send a 16strong bowling team to tour South Africa in February 1984. To avoid being registered
by the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid and the IOC as violating international
boycotts against South Africa, the ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised the ROC
Bowling Association to dispatch its team to tour South Africa under the name of "Chu
Kuang (Light) Youth Visiting Mission", rather than "the National Bowling Team of the
th
th
ROC". The said bowling team toured South Africa from February 16 to February 28
1.984 for 12 days without confronting any protest or bad publicity by the press.
Africa was expected to do likewise.74
,
South
By exercising extreme caution and keeping a low profile, the ROC continued to maintain
academic, educational,
cultural and sports contacts with South Africa throughout the
y.ears 1976 to 1988.
During this period, a two-way educational
interchange was actively pursued.
The ROC-RSA
and socio-cultural
bilateral exchanges in the fields of
academics, education, sports, art, science, medical and socio-cultural
relations were
largely motivated by the two countries' common situation of international isolation and
the desire of the ROC to utilise educational/academic and socio-cultural exchanges to
consolidate its diplomatic relations with the RSA.75 By affirming the importance of these
interactions
and various types of co-operation,
the ROC government
was heavily
involved in the process of building bridges of understanding between the ROC and the
RSA.
A number of inter-governmental
scientific
and
agreements
in regard to academic, medical,
meteorological
co-operations were concluded between
government and the RSA government.76 (For details, please see Table 9).
the
ROC
The conclusion of these agreements and the increased frequency of the exchange of
visits between the two countries illustrate that, as from 1979 onwards, there was a
prevalent feeling that South Africa should "start broadening its fields and international
friendships beyond the traditional ones of Europe and America.,,77
In the midst of general feelings of good faith and gradual warm friendship,
the two
governments further stepped up the bilateral contacts and the exchange of visits at all
levels - from cabinet ministers, speakers of parliaments and university rectors at the
high level to the students, artists and reporters at the low level.
interchanges,
Of these bilateral
the most notable visits included at the local government
and inter-
parliament level, the exchange of visits of the mayors of local governments
Speakers of the two Parliaments.
and the
In 1979, the then Speaker of the House of Assembly
of the RSA, J.J. Loots, was invited by the ROC government to pay an official visit to the
ROC from November
6th to November
18th, 1979.
In return, the then President
(Speaker) of the ROC Legislative Yuan (Parliament), Wen-ya Nieh, visited South Africa
during 10th_19th June, 1981.
The mutual visits of the two Speakers enabled the two
parliaments to have some understanding of the real situation of the other country and to
become friendlier towards each other, particularly as regards to the awkward status of
the Chinese community in South Africa.
improvement
apartheid
Loots' visit not only resulted in the gradual
of the treatment of the Chinese in South Africa as from 1982 under
policies,
but also heralded the beginning
of many more such visits by
members of parliament from South Africa to the ROC. Reciprocal visits were also made
by the members of Parliament
of the ROC.
parliamentarians,
by 13 dependants,
accompanied
In 1985 alone, there were 17 ROC
who visited South Africa.
The
exchange of visits between the two parliaments was frequent during the 1980S78
In addition
to the steady
strengthening
of the ROC-RSA
national
parliamentary
relationship through exchange of visits, bilateral links between local municipalities of the
two countries were also established by the mayors and speakers of city councils.
A
notable case was the visit of C.P. Chang, the then Speaker of Taipei City Council, to the
city of Johannesburg to attend its centennial celebration during August 30th-September
6th, 1986. Mayors of various cities also called on their counterparts to establish sistercity relationship.
A number of mayors of ROC cities and counties such as Kaosiung,
Hsinchu, lIan, Keelung, Nantou, Taipei and Yungho visited South Africa during 19801988.79
In reciprocation, many mayors and city councillors of the local governments of
South Africa also visited the ROC during the same period.
Of these, the then Mayor of
Pretoria,
1982; the then
P.R. Smith,
Johannesburg,
visited
the ROC in September
Mayor
of
Danie van Zyl, in October 1982; the then Mayor of Pretoria, S.R. van
Jaarsveld, and the then Mayor of Stellenbosch, D.E.W. Schumann, in October 1983; the
then Provincial Administrator
Provincial
Administrator
of the Cape, E. Gene Louw, in October 1982; the then
of Transvaal,
W.A.
Cruywagen,
successive mayors of Pretoria and Johannesburg
in October
1983; other
in 1984 and in 1985; G.J. Coetzer,
the then Mayor of Queenstown, in September 1987; and J.M. Pretorius, the then Mayor
of Bloemfontein, in October 1987. The then Governor of Taiwan Province, Lee Tenghui, also visited South Africa in November 1982.80
In the academic and educational field, the period 1980-1988 saw an intense desire
among leading academics and educationists to explore the possibilities for academic
and educational co-operation
collaborations,
between the ROC and the RSA.
The quest for such
in particular between the institutions of tertiary education, can be seen
from the exchanges of academics and educationists.
The ROC's traditional trend of no
academic contact with South Africa was reversed, and the ROC became, instead, very
keen to develop bilateral academic/educational
1980.
exchanges with South Africa as from
This is indicated by the frequency of the exchange of visits of high-ranking
government
countries
officials and academics of various universities
to establish
either "sister" relationships
and colleges of the two
with their counterparts,
or a co-
operative mechanism for the exchange of teachers and students and joint research.
To this end, the then Minister of Education of the RSA, P.J. Clase, visited the ROC in
July 1980, and the then Director-General of the Department of National Education of the
RSA, J.J. van Wyk, visited the ROC in November 1980. Many South African academics
visited the ROC during
1980-1988:
Daniel Du Plessis, then Vice Chancellor
Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand
and
in October 1980; C. Garbers, the then
President of Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), in July 1982; F.T. van
Wijk, the then Vice Chancellor and Principal of UNISA, in October 1982; D.M. Joubert,
the then Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, in March 1983; M.
de Vries, the then Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Stellenbosch
in
October 1983; T. Van der Walt, the then Vice Chancellor and Principal of Potchefstroom
University, in October 1984; Jacob van der Westhuizen, then Director of the Institute for
Criminology of UNISA, in December 1987; the Student Representative Delegation of the
University of Pretoria in June 1988; R.E. van der Ross, the then Rector and Vice
Chancellor of the University of the Western Cape, in June 1988; W.L. Mouton, the then
Rector of the University of the Orange Free State, in October 1988; and R.W. Charlton,
the then Vice Chancellor
and Principal of the University
of the Witwatersrand,
in
November 1988.81 Apart from the above bilateral visits of academics of the ROC and
the RSA, the Ministers of Education of the two countries also exchanged visits.
The
then Minister of National Education of the RSA, F.W. de Klerk, visited Taipei in October
1985, and the ROC's then Minister of Education, Lee Huan, visited South Africa in May
1987.82
During the period 1987-1990,
activities was heightened
Stellenbosch
the ROC-RSA
by the two sides.
interchange
of academic/educational
In the year of 1987, the University of
alone sent three delegations to visit the ROC: one was led by P.R. de
Wet, the then Director of Student Affairs in March 1987; the second was the 23-p'erson
SRC Delegation of the University of Stellenbosch led by De Vries from March 25th to
April 4th, 1987; and the third was led by S.J.P. (Faan) Oosthuizen, the then Head of
Central Media Centre and Deputy Director of the Bureau for University and Continuing
Education of the University of Stellenbosch,
1987.83
The acceleration
of ROC-RSA
1987 -1990 was attributable
from November
academic/educational
to two factors.
1ih to December 4th,
and cultural interactions during
One was South Africa's
worsening
international pariah status after 1986. The other was the renewed action on the part of
the ROC government to reinvigorate the ROC-RSA academic/educational
co-operations so as to strengthen its diplomatic links with South Africa.
and cultural
On June 19th,
1989, the ROC government and the RSA government signed a cultural agreement in
Pretoria for accelerated
co-operations
scientific, sports, educational
in the fields of cultural,
and technical activities.
intellectual,
artistic,
According to Article 3 of this
agreement, "the citizens of both countries shall be encouraged
to study and attend
training courses in the other country, and to support the exchange of youth groups,
sports
teams,
individuals,
scholarships
and scientific
experience
with a view to
promoting cultural co-operation and contact between the two countries.,,84
In order to facilitate the bilateral educational/academic
and cultural co-operation,
the
Ministry of Education (MOE) of the ROC established an Office of the Cultural Counsellor
in Pretoria in July 1990. The first Cultural Counsellor was Edward Chien-kun Yeh, who
was succeeded by Oar-sheng Liu in 1994. With the bilateral cultural agreement and the
ROC Office of the Cultural Counsellor in place, the ROC-RSA
institution-to-institution
exchange programmes were further expanded after 1990. Many prominent academics
from various South African universities such as the Universities of Pretoria, Medunsa,
Vista, Witwatersrand,
Techikon
Fort Hare, Western Cape and UNISA as well as the Peninsula
had been invited to visit the ROC.
educationists
visited the ROC during 1990-1996.
Rector of the Peninsula Technikon,
institutions in 1993.
established
Many
prominent
academics
and
Of these, Franklin Sonn, the then
contacts with the ROC's technical
S. Bengu, prior to his inauguration as the first black Minister of
Education in the government of National Unity (GNU) of South Africa on May 10th, 1994,
visited the ROC while he was the Rector of Fort Hare University.
A number of high-
ranking officials and educationists from the Department of Education and Culture, the
Certification Council for Technikon Education, the Transvaal Education Department and
other educational institutions in South Africa were also invited to visit the ROC during
1990-1996.
A great number of reciprocal visits was made by the ROC academics and educationists
to the RSA during this period.
Among these visits, noteworthy ones included those of
the ROC Deputy Minister of Education and three members of the Vocational
Technical
Education
Visiting
Delegation
who were
invited
and
by the South African
Department of Education and Culture to visit the RSA during 1990-1991.
The Director
oJ the ROC National History Museum and many Taiwanese civil engineers and scholars
came to South Africa to test the feasibility of academic/educational
In the social-cultural
dimension,
a similar
phenomenon
co-operation.85
of frequent
interchanges
between the ROC and the RSA occurred during the years 1980 until 1996. This period
s.aw the two governments,
in particular the ROC government,
as indicated in the
preceding part of this chapter, trying hard to bridge the cleavage between the two
fundamentally
different societies, so as to sustain the faltering
between Taipei and Pretoria.
diplomatic
relations
The ROC government exerted itself to strengthen the
ROC-RSA
resources
academic/educational
for the sending
of various
groups to visit South Africa.
ROC-RSA
communities.
existed.
social-cultural
links
local-governmental,
The ROC government's
academic/educational
on its diplomatic
and
and social-cultural
by allocating
educational
and cultural
primary aim in implementing
co-operations
was largely based
need and, to a lesser extent, the demands of overseas
The plans were mostly short-term
financial
and no real long-term
Chinese
plan ever
The ROC's state intervention was, for example, reflected in the allocation of
ROC governmental funds for sending cultural and music troupes to South Africa. When
the ROC was maintaining
diplomatic relations with the RSA, the ROC government
would budget approximately
NT$10 million (equivalent to R2 million) to send youth
goodwill teams to visit South Africa to stage or to attend the International Eisteddfod at
Roodepoort.
Other socio-cultural exchanges between the two countries were carried
out in a similar manner. Most of the ROC-RSA interchange activities were governmentsponsored
or funded
by the ROC public money of various
institutions.
individuals seldom took the initiative to engage in the strengthening
socio-cultural
Private
of the ROC-RSA
links, with the exception of a few students who pursued their studies in
each others' countries.
As a result of the ROC government's active intervention, financial support and fervent
encouragement,
performances
16 ROC cultural groups came to South Africa either to stage cultural
or to conduct arts exhibitions during 1990-1997.
sport teams participated
In addition, 12 ROC
in a variety of sport events during this period.
The ROC
National Museum of History entered into a sister relation agreement with the Museum of
Culture and History in Cape Town.
Approximately
87 ROC students per year studied
either short-term language courses or regular courses at South African universities or
colleges.86
Moreover, from 1993 to 1996, the ROC government
through the ANC Youth League, to 230 disadvantaged
provided
youth scholarships,
black students to study in
various South African tertiary educational institutions including universities, colleges and
technikons.
In 1994, the amount for scholarships granted by the Office of the Cultural
Counsellor of the ROC Embassy in Pretoria was R232,644, and in 1995, the figure
increased to R274,365.
Approximately
scholarship scheme each year.
55 black students benefited from the youth
The total amount for scholarships spent during 1993-
1996 was R1, 180,094.87
In addition,
the ROC government handed over an educational grant of R25 million in
mid-July 1996 to the South African government for the betterment of South Africa's
overall education.88
postgraduate
years.
Special scholarships were also offered to seven South African
students to study Mandarin Chinese language in Taipei for one to two
Among these, five students were from the University of the Witwatersrand
two from the University of Durban-Westville.
advanced
studies on East Asia.
and
Most of the students intended to pursue
The ROC government's
special scholarship
thus
enabled them to have not only Mandarin training, but also personal exposure to East
Asia which was helpful to their future research and career development.89
The ROC-RSA
academic/educational
legacy of positive achievements,
ROC-RSA academic/educational
and socio/cultural links during 1976-1997 left a
but also limitations.
On the achievement
side, the
exchanges resulted in the establishment of more than
eleven sister relations between South African universities and their ROC counterparts.90
(For details, see Table 10).
Through
the establishment
of sister relations,
inter-
i(lstitutional exchange programmes were organised to advance mutual co-operation and
to share research expertise.
In addition to these sister relationships, various South African universities also set up
several
East Asia
research
projects.
The
University
of South
Africa
(UNISA)
established its Centre for Contemporary Asian Studies in February 1989, and from 1990
onwards, Mandarin Chinese was offered by the Centre as a UNISA distance teaching
course.
The Centre not only promoted research on East Asia, but also provided a
series of audio visual programmes, video tapes and slide shows for interested persons,
businessmen,
diplomats and government
officials on a variety of subjects including
Chinese dance, music, painting and literature, as well as lectures on Asian business
opportunities,
management
methods and general economic
affairs.
language course focused on giving a firm grounding in conversational
basic grasp of Chinese characters.
The Centre's
Mandarin and a
The course was suitable for beginners who wished
to have some understanding of the culture and civilisation of China and its neighbouring
countries.91
T-he University of Stellenbosch and the University of the Witwatersrand
of the research on East Asian politics and economics.
undertook most
The Department of Political
Science of the University of Stellenbosch, under the leadership of Philip Nel, received
USA$100,OOO from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation to launch a research project of
Chinese Studies for the duration of three years from 1996 to 1999.92
Under the
auspices of this research project, scholars such as Ian Taylor, a doctoral candidate in
the Department of Political Science, University of Stellenbosch,
were able to publish
articles relating to the PRC's foreign policy and East Asian situation in various journals
e.g. Journal of Commonwealth
(Taipei).93 Arrangements
il}cluding Yeong-kuang
& Comparative Politics (London) and Issues & Studies
were also made for several academics from Taiwan, ROC
Ger of the National Taiwan University, to visit South Africa in
1996.
The Department
of International
Relations
of the University
of the Witwatersrand
established the East Asia Project (EAP) in 1992 with funding to promote a greater
awareness and understanding
of East Asia.
The aim of the EAP was, through "its
teaching and research programme", to "educate South Africans as to the complexities of
the Asian political, economic and social environment and, concurrently,
capacity and knowledge in all aspects of the study of the International
develop local
Relations of
Asia.,,94 The EAP was funded by private donations, and thus maintained its political and
administrative independence.95 Chris Alden and Garth Shelton were responsible for the
co-ordination of the research programme.
The EAP publishes its own Working Paper
Series, in which a number of research reports on topics relevant to East Asia have
appeared.
The above-mentioned
projects
established
ROC-RSA
academic/educational
by the various
South African
sister relations and research
universities
not only promoted
research and studies on East Asia, but also aroused a few scholars' interest in the field
of Asian studies.
It was through these scholars' articles or academic works that the
South African scholastic community was able to have a better understanding
of the
situation in East Asia.
As regards inter-relations
between cities and provinces, by the end of October 1990,
eight ROC cities had established
Africa.96
sisterhood
ties with their counterparts
in South
The list of ROC cities that twinned with the relevant cities of South Africa
during 1980-1997 is shown as Table 11.
Apart from the existence of sisterhood ties between various cities in the ROC and in the
RSA, a Sister-Province
Agreement was also entered into by the then Governor of the
~aiwan Provincial government,
Province, D.J. Hough.97
province
agreement
Lien Chan, and the then Administrator
of Transvaal
The signing of the above sister-city agreements
opened
the doors for local government
officials
and sisterto visit the
respective countries in the name of sisterhood ties. The exchange of visits between the
officials of the local governments
of the two countries enhanced the officials' mutual
understanding of the culture and situation of the other country.
Despite the language barrier and cultural differences, there was a mood of genuine
goodwill between the two countries in the people-to-people
dimension
during 1976-
1997. South Africa had really won the ROC nation's heart. The RSA was considered
the largest diplomatic ally and most important trading partner in Africa.
government
The ROC
devoted much of its attention to South Africa, and even the opposition
party, namely the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was deeply impressed by the
miracle
of South Africa's
peaceful
democratic
transformation.98
When the ROC
government lavished massive diplomatic expenditure on maintaining its diplomatic links
with South Africa, the ROC people were behind the government.
~he ROC's second Armed Forces Attache in Pretoria, Colonel Tang Fei, and its former
Economic Counsellor, P.K. Chiang, voluntarily formed a "Protea Club" in Taipei in 1982,
when they returned from South Africa to the ROC, to organise annual get-together
functions for those who had been to South Africa for work or studies and also to
promote friendly relations with South Africa.
The "Protea Club" has more than five
hundred members at present, some of whom have played prominent roles in the ROC
political and military arenas.
For example, Colonel Tang Fei later became General
Tang, and held the positions of Commander-in-Chief
of the ROC Air Forces, Minister of
Defence, as well as Premier (Prime Minister) (May-October
2000).99 P.K. Chiang was
successively promoted to the Director-General of the ROC Board of Foreign Trade, Vice
Minister of Economic Affairs, Minister of Economic Affairs and Minister (Chairman) for
Economic Planning and Development.
Among the members of the "Protea Club", there
were 3 generals (including General Tang), 6 ministers or minister-rank officials, 3 vice
ministers, 10 ambassadors
ambassadors
in
or ambassador-rank
non-diplomatic
countries),
representatives
five
(the ROC's unofficial
consul-generals
and
several
distinguished scholars. The potential influence of the members of the "Protea Club" can
hot be underestimated.
This corps d'elite of the ROC was far more sympathetic to the
idea of maintaining strong links with South Africa.
The legacy of historical friendship
and human goodwill hidden in various invisible corners of the ROC society was the
most important achievement of the ROC-RSA diplomatic links for the past two decades.
If the South African government could tap this human goodwill in time, the prospect of
maintaining cordial relations between the RSA and the ROC remains optimistic.
100
However, following the presidential election of March 18th, 2000 which brought an end
to the fifty-year
independence
rule of Kuomintang
(KMT) and saw the rise of the pro-Taiwan-
DPP, the political landscape of the ROC is changing fast.
the above-mentioned
Members of
elite who are sympathetic to the cause of cementing strong ROC-
RSA links are fading away with the passage of time or are about to retire in due course
from public life.
The three most important ROC ambassadors
who had made great
contributions in forging and defending the maintenance of cordial ROC-RSA relations namely Edward Y. Kuan (1976-79), H.K. Yang (1979-89) and I-cheng Loh (1990-1997)
- have either passed away or bowed out of the ROC political arena. Tang resigned the
premiership in October 2000.
P.K. Chiang also lost his power to the DPP during the
March 2000 presidential election. Others of the elite who have had vast experience with
South Africa in the past may soon face a similar fate. The younger generation, unlike
the generation of the post-Cold War elite, are more concerned with the ROC's domestic
economy, its cross-Taiwan
Straits relations and security links with the USA than its
international engagement in the remote African continent.101 The passage from the proSouth Africa old generation to the younger generation of political elite in the ROC will
mark a major departure from the historical epoch of ROC-RSA
rapport during 1976-
1997.
Even if the ROC's political landscape had not changed, the attempts of the ROC
government to deepen ROC-RSA academic/educational
1976-1997 had insurmountable
limitations.
and cultural/social links during
The endeavour was beset with three major
problems. The first is that the two cultures are fundamentally too different to be bridged
in a relatively short time span.
government
focused
Until 1990, the cultural policy of the South African
mainly on Eurocentrism,
dominated by white South Africans.
and the cultural affairs were largely
For decades, South African cultural identity bore
the characteristics of European culture. Against this background, the value of all South
African cultural expressions during the 1970s-1980s was measured against European
standards.
There was a common assumption that Western music, dance, literature and
fine arts were better than those of the Third World.102
I~]erk's opening
unconditional
speech
in Parliament
on
February
After 1990, following F.W. de
2nd,
1990
announcing
the
release of Nelson Mandela and the lifting of the ban on all unlawful
organisations, the international community gradually started to lift the cultural boycott
against South Africa.
As from January
1991, several international
cultural groups
including an 18-strong Lambada group from Brazil, the Romanian State Circus and the
first Russian film festival group, began to visit South Africa.103
The end of cultural
isolation cleared the ground for South Africa to gradually become a normal African state
which finds its cultural roots in both European and African traditions.
As South Africa
moves towards a full democracy, its cultural identification with Africa and the West has
been acknowledged to be the focal points of its cultural development.
1
04
Under such socio-cultural circumstances, most South Africans are simply not interested
in Chinese cultural performances or Chinese culture.
This is partially due to the great
cultural divide and partially because of the unfamiliarity of the ROC culture.105
The
majority of South Africans incline more towards African culture or the historically more
familiar cultures of Europe and North America.106
Some might be impressed by East
Asia's economic success; but apart from that, East Asian civilisation is perceived as a
kind of mystery.
East Asia.
107
It will take time for the average South African to accept the culture of
For example, in 1997, the then ROC Consulate-General
in Durban devoted
~ great deal of effort to arrange for a well-known Taiwanese Christian cultural group,
namely Va-tung Drama Troupe, to perform in Durban North on May 17'h. To the group's
great disappointment, only four South Africans attended the performance - the pastor of
Durban North Baptist Church, the deacon of the said Church who was responsible for
the circulation of invitation letters, and another white South African couple.
The rest of
the audience was made up of local Chinese residents and the officials of the ROC
Consulate-General
performances,
in Durban.10B
traditional
Similar situations
marked other Chinese cultural
Chinese festivals and dragon-boat
races.
Very few South
Africans bother to participate in traditional Chinese cultural activities.
The people from
the ROC also chose to do things their own way. They live in a distinctly different world.
The two cultures lack convergence and acculturation despite the bridge built between
the ROC and the RSA. At the end of the day, the two nations failed to draw on the best
practices and values from each other's rich civilisations.
The second problem is the language barrier. The teaching media and official language
in the ROC is Mandarin, while English and Afrikaans are the most important of South
Africa's eleven official languages.
To master the language of Mandarin, especially its
four intonations and written characters, is fairly difficult.
As a result of the language
barrier, very few South African students dared to embrace the opportunities provided by
the ROC. This is why, in 1992, no South African student accepted the ROC bursary to
study in Taiwan despite the goodwill of the ROC government, which had made five such
bursaries available to South African students on an annual basis as from 1992 until
1997 to promote educational exchanges and strengthen cultural ties between the ROC
and the RSA,109 Between 1992 and 1997, only 7 South African students had been to
the Mandarin Training Centre of the National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei to
study Mandarin for one year and then pursue their East Asian studies for one further
year. 110
The third problem
is that the ROC-RSA
educational/academic
and socio/cultural
exchanges during 1976-1997 were basically government-controlled,
not people-driven.
The ROC's educational/academic
part of the multi-dimensionality
and socio/cultural
of ROC diplomacy.
links with South Africa were just
In other words, the endeavour was
just another aspect of the ROC's multifaceted pragmatic foreign policy which was
politically/diplomatically motivated in essence.111 This is shown from the remarks made
by the ROC's former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fredrick F. Chien, and the former
Premier of the ROC, Lien Chan, during their terms of office.
Premier Lien indicated
that:
The fact is that 29 nations maintain full diplomatic
country.
these
While observing the obligations
formal
substantive,
relations,
we
also
and enjoying the benefits of
understand
if not political, relationships
relations with our
that
we
have
many
with a much larger group of
nations.
These less formal relationships are of several types: economic,
cultural, scientific and philanthropic.112
In upgrading substantive ties with those countries without formal ties with
us, we have increased economic, scientific-technical,
contacts.
cultural and tourist
At the present time, we have relations of this type in more than
120 countries, with main focus on the United States, Europe, Japan and
Southeast Asia.113
It is clear that the ROC government's efforts in launching the drive of educational and
cultural ties with South Africa were aimed at strengthening
relations.
As Chien emphasised, "breakthroughs
the ROC-RSA
diplomatic
in our foreign relations will have to
come through battle with the Chinese Communists internationally.,,114
In brief, due to the above-mentioned three factors, the ROC-RSA academic/educational
and socio-cultural ties did not get off the ground.
South African cities and their counterparts
November
The sisterhood ties between various
in the ROC exist merely in name.
Since
1996, most of the afore-mentioned
sister cities have not been actively
implementing bilateral interactions and socio-cultural exchanges.115 Expectations that
these ties would bring the two nations closer were not met. In terms of hard results, the
achievements
were limited.
Although the bilateral academic/educational
and socio-
cultural contacts during 1976-1997 helped to break down the walls of mutual ignorance,
the great divide between the two societies remains insurmountable.
During the period 1976-1997,
apart from close diplomatic,
economic
and nuclear
relations, the ROC and the RSA also developed co-operative relationship in the military,
academic, educational,
sports and socio-cultural
started to seek military, academic/educational
spheres.
The ROC and the RSA
and socio-cultural
1976. In 1977, the two countries exchanged military attaches.
operation between Taipei and Pretoria commenced
co-operation as from
But the real military co-
from March 11th, 1980 when a
secret military co-operation agreement was signed by the two Prime Ministers at Cape
Town, and ended in 1996.
The ROC-RSA
academic, educational,
sports and socio-
cultural ties were mainly developed in the 1980s, peaked in the first half of the 1990s,
and dissipated at the end of 1996.116
Contrary to some long-held notions, military co-operation
between the ROC and the
RSA was not simply due to the international isolation and "pariahtude" of the two
countries.117 The nature of ROC-RSA military co-operation was, in fact, based mainly
on diplomatic,
strategic
and pragmatic
considerations.
For the ROC, its military
G.ollaboration with South Africa was not intended as a means to form a "Fourth World" or
"Fifth World" of pariah States,118 nor "to escape from its pariah status."119 As the Taiwan
Relations Act of the USA has guaranteed the ROC against the PRC's armed aggression
by authorising
the USA government
to provide the ROC with necessary
defence
weapons, the ROC, unlike South Africa in the 1980s, did not suffer arms embargoes.
So long as the ROC did not offend the USA, arms supply was never a serious problem
for the ROC. Aside from the ROC's relatively assured security commitments and arms
sales, there was the wide divergence
deepening
of national conditions, which constrained
of the two countries' full military co-operation.
the
The two states' defence
strategies were different. Therefore, Armscor's military products such as the G5 and G6
artillery systems and the Casspir armoured personnel carrier were not suitable for the
ROC's defence need.12o The ROC's weapons system was mostly of American origin,
and the selling to a third country was not allowed. 121
The most serious dividing line was that the expectations of the two countries were also
totally different.
The RSA expected to attain, through the ROC-RSA
military co-
operation, sensitive American military technology and to expand its arms sales to the
wealthy ROC. All of these hopes were dashed.
In order not to break the rules of the
USA arms sales and violate the UN arms embargo, the ROC refused to assist South
Africa to obtain military technology from third countries.122 Over a decade and a half,
the RSA's arms sales to the ROC was disappointedly scanty in terms of the ROC's total
defence budget.123 From the ROC's perspective, the ROC-RSA military co-operation
was simply a means to strengthen its diplomatic ties with South Africa.
as an instrument to a much higher strategic end - to safeguard
exchange know-how and visits of personnel,
navies and air forces of the two countries.124
It served merely
its diplomacy,
to
and to effect bilateral training for the
As a result of the above-mentioned
insignificant
differences, South Africa was disappointed by the
result of the ROC-RSA
South African government
military co-operation.
unilaterally
In September
passed a cabinet resolution
1996, the
to terminate
its
military co-operation with the ROC and to stop its arms sales to the ROC as from
September 1996.125
In the sphere of sports interactions, although there was a frequent exchange of visits
between various sports teams of the two countries, the ROC avoided dispatching its
national teams to compete with their South African counterparts.
declined
to accept the national
The ROC also
sports teams of South Africa to compete
in the
international tournaments that were hosted by the ROC's sports authorities, so as to
abide by the rules of the International Olympic Committee.126 The ROC-RSA sports
interchanges were not particularly significant because of the fact that the ROC has
never been a great sporting nation.
Baseball, basketball and Chinese martial arts are
very popular in the ROC, but rugby and cricket are not. However, rugby, cricket and
soccer are South Africa's favourite sports.127 The RSA's sports contact with the ROC
did not help South Africa to make a meaningful breakthrough in its international sports
isolation.
South Africa could only normalise its sports relations once the South African
government started to abolish its apartheid policies and build a non-racial democratic
society.128
As regards
academic/educational
and socio-cultural
links, a framework
of inter-
governmental co-operative agreements and sister relations between various universities
of the ROC and their RSA counterparts were established during 1976-1997.
ROC local
city governments and the Taiwan Provincial government forged sisterhood ties with a
number of South African city councils and the former Transvaal Province.129
The ROC
~Iite who had served or studied in South Africa also formed a very influential "Protea
Club" in Taipei
acquaintances.
to promote
people-to-people
friendship
and the reunion
of old
Some of the members of the "Protea Club" became prominent figures
in the ROC government and its Foreign Service. This elite group was more sympathetic
to the idea of maintaining
recognition of the PRC.
cordial relations with South Africa despite South Africa's
In a true sense, the ROC elite's in-depth understanding
of
South Africa and the human good-will that accumulated during the course of the ROCRSA bilateral engagement are some of the most important achievements of the ROCRSA social interactions.
However, owing to the fundamental
differences
of the two cultures, the language
barrier, the lack of real interest, and the lack of grass-roots support, the ROC-RSA
academic/educational
and
academic/educational
co-operation
motivations.
socio-cultural
ties
programme
never
was
took
driven
root.
by
The
bilateral
political/diplomatic
The ROC's main focus is on the USA, Europe, Japan and Southeast Asia,
and the RSA focuses on the West and Africa. 130 The efforts made by the two countries
to establish academic/educational
and socio-cultural ties were of limited achievement.
The studies of this chapter proved part of the hypothesis pertaining to the limits of a
"Pariah International" expounded by Robert E. Harkavy, a Senior Research Fellow of
Cornell University, to be correct.
The unstable relationship between the ROC and the
RSA substantiates Harkavy's argument that "small-state alliance have historically been
of questionable value" and that "the pariahs can be uneasy bedfellows at best, since
c.lose relations with anyone
of them constitutes
an overall international
liability.,,131
However, some of the myths about the ROC's violation of international arms embargo
and the ROC-RSA pariah alliance have been proved to be unfounded. 132
In short, the ROC pursued a diplomacy of multidimensionality
including military, cultural,
economic,
and
aid/developmental,
educational,
governmental
towards South Africa to safeguard the full diplomatic ties.
party
interchanges
Although its aim was to
defend its own national interests, the ROC's behaviour towards
South Africa was
to the RSA, 1-
basically pragmatic and "correct.,,133 The ROC's former Ambassador
cheng Loh, had this to say:
The ROC, unlike South Africa or Israel, has done nothing wrong.
1976, our relations
have been correct.
We have broken
Since
no arms
embargo; we have violated no oil embargo.
We buy our arms even elsewhere.134
We have no oil ourselves.
1.
*~~
tp~MVibJEgf*, (The Agreements between the ROC and the RSA),
~Wi¥J?FjHO~~WiI~ft{'FViba~(The Agreement on Defence Industries' Co-operation between
TLO Archives, Pretoria:
29.
the RSA and the ROC), March 111h,1980, pp.1-6.
Feldman, Kau, & Kim, Taiwan in a TIme of Transitjon, p.148.
Government Information Office, ROC, *H!Hm2't:~I\+='¥EfIDfiJ!m (Anthology of President Lee
Teng-hui's Speeches), p.242.
Feldman, Kau, & Kim, Taiwan in a Time of Transition, p.149.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: The Agreement on Defence Industries' Co-operation, p.3.
Geldenhuys, Isolated States, p.504.
Ibid., pp.504-505.
Adelman, -Israel/South Africa: The Club of Pariahs· in Africa Report, Vol. 25, No.6, NovemberDecember 1980, p.10. See also G. St.J. Barclay, -Strategy of Despair: South Africa and the
Alignment ofthe Alienated, 1974-82· in Journal for Contemporary History, December 1982, Vol. 7, No.
2, pp.2-11 for RSA-Israel military co-operation.
The Sunday Independent, June 23rd, 1996 (Apartheid South Africa had secret dealings with
communist China, says businessman).
Adelman, -Israel/South Africa·, p.10.
Barber & Barratt, South Africa's Foreign policy, p.237.
K. Adelman, -Israel/South Africa·, p.10.
Interview with Cmdr. Cheng-wu Chen, the ROC Naval Attache in the RSA, on December 2nd, 1999 at
847 Thomas Ave., Arcadia, Pretoria.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: The ROC Armed Forces Attache's Report on the ROe-RSA Military Cooperation, July 41h, 1995, No. 07042, p.4.
Ibid., ~~~Wi~~
(The visit of Premier Sun to the RSA), Vol. 2, P.W. Botha's speech delivered
during a state banquet at the Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town, on March 12th, 1980, p.2.
General M. Malan's address to the SAR&H War Services Union, on October 2P', 1988, Pretoria, in
South African Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 14, 1988-1989, pp.242-243.
Interview with Cmdr. Cheng-wu Chen, the ROC Naval Attache in the RSA, on December 2nd, 1999.
The Republic of China Yearbook, 1996, p.125.
A. Du TOit,South Africa's Fighting Ships' Past and present, p.180.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: Agreement between the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the
Government of the Republic of China on the Co-operation of ROe-RSA Defence Industries, March
111h, 1980, p.3, which is collected in TLO Archives, Pretoria: tp~~WiI~ftf'FHiI~tmfl'"
(The
Briefings on ROe-RSA Co-operation of Defence Industries).
Ibid.
Ibid., pp.3-5.
Ibid., p.5.
Ibid., The Briefings on ROe-RSA Co-operation of Defence Industries, p.5.
Agreement (Minutes) of Thirteenth Defence Industry Co-operation Conference Between the RSA and
the ROC, No 11, June 16th, 1990, pp.4, 14 & 17. The said minutes are collected in TLO Archives,
Pretoria:
+l1B,ijjtp~~WiI~fta~ (The 13th and 14th ROC/RSA Defence IndUstry Cooperation Conferences).
Agreement (Minutes) of Eighteenth Defence Industry Co-operation Conference Between the RSA and
the ROC, May 12th, 1995, p.29.
Ibid. p.28.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: -fLJ\fL~~-Ml1B~tp3€.$ft{'FWXU*
(The Result of ROe-RSA
Military Co-operation, 1989-1994): ~~.1:JWi~*1t~t (The Statistics ofthe visits ofthe ROC Military).
Ibid.
30.
Ibid.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
m+=.,
26.
27.
28.
31.
32.
33.
34.
35.
36.
37.
38.
39.
40.
41.
42.
43.
44.
45.
46.
47.
48.
49.
50.
51.
52.
53.
54.
55.
56.
57.
58.
59.
60.
61.
62.
63.
64.
65.
66.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: The ROC Embassy's Report on Premier Sun's visit to the RSA, April 8th,
1980, No.0260, pp.26-28.
Gen. Pei-tsun Hau O'fl!3*Sf't), I\MB:R B ijc (The Diary of the Eight Years as the Chief of General
.staff) , p.317.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: -fL/\fL1:f.~-fLfLlm1:f.tp~1fl$~f'F&3(~*
(The ROe-RSA Military
Co-operation and Its Outcome, 1989-1994): ~1fl.1:JW5r~~mMCgt(The Statistics of the Visits of South
African Military Personnel to the ROC).
Ibid., jiMffi~ (Political Warfare Course): 9f.3(~;1F?Jtl~ 1989.3.28 B~mltti~~~raf'F~~m
0506
M~ (MOFA's correspondence to MOD, No. 0506), March 28th, 1989, pp.1-2.
S A Digest, January 23rd, 1981 (Taiwan Medal).
L. H. Gann, "The USSR, The West and South Africa" in the ISSUP Strategic Review, September
1984, p.23.
P. Godwin, "Towards a New Strategy?", in G. Segal & W. T. Tow (eds.) Chinese Defence Policy, p.37.
M. Gurtov & B. M. Hwang, China's Security, p.270.
General Pei-tsun Hau (9N5*Sf't) , 1\[email protected]:R B ijc (The Diary of the Eight Years as the Chief of
General Staft), p.316.
J.P. McWilliams, Armscor South Africa's Arms Merchant, pp.17-18.
Ibid., p.21.
United Daily News, January 5th, 2000, p.12 (T*f$im#OjitfJ/J\~~Ri:t~ / D. Dean alleged that
Taiwan tested small nuclear devices).
General Pei-tsun Hau, The Diar:yof the Eight Years as the Chief of Ger1eralStaff, pA07.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: tp~mltti~~f'FU.~
(ROe-RSA Co-operation on Defence Industries):
The ROC Embassy's telex to MOFA no. 166, March 30th, 1995, p.1.
Ibid.
Chao-yung Hsueh, "The Political Economy of Defence Spending: Implications for TMD in Taiwan" in
Issues & Studies, Vol. 35, No.5, September/October 1999, ppA8-49.
The Republic of China Yearbook 1996, p.171.
Hsueh, "The Political Economy of Defence Spending", p.51.
South African Chinese Newspaper, January 28th, 2000, p.10 (Taiwan's arms procurement: the highest
in the world).
TLO Archives, Pretoria: tp~mltti~~fnt.~
(ROe-RSA Co-operation on Defence Industries):
The ROC Embassy's telex to MOFA No. 166, March 30th, 1995, p.2; and the official dispatch No.
2769 sent from the ROC Deputy Chief of the General Staff for Logistics, Ministry of Defence, to
Ambassador I-cheng Loh, dated April 21st, 1995, p.5.
Ibid., The Minutes of the Meeting on the RSA's interests in the Greater China region, held on May 23rd,
1995, at the Diplomatic Guest House, Pretoria, pA.
Ibid., The ROC Embassy's telex to MOFA No. 166, p.3.
Ibid., p.2.
Ibid., The Minutes of the meeting of May 23rd, 1995, pA.
Ibid., p.3.
Ibid., pp.3-4.
Ibid., p.3.
Ibid., Report of the ROC Military AttacM in Pretoria to the Ministry of Defence, Taipei, on February
28th, 1995, p.1.
National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC), the RSA Cabinet Memorandum No. 13,
September 5th, 1996, Cape Town, File Ref. No. OS 5/1/9B. Collected in TLO Archives, Pretoria: tp~
mIttiI~~fnt.~(ROe-RSA
Co-operation on Defence Industries), pp.1-3.
Ibid., NCACC, the RSA Cabinet Memorandum No. 13, September 5th, 1996, p.3.
Ibid.
Free China Review, Vol. 38 (7), July 1988, p.8.
Republic of China Yearbook 1988, p.279.
Ibid.
Ministry of Education of the ROC, Education in the Republic of China, 1984, Taipei, pA8.
Republic of China Yearbook 1988, p.384.
67.
68,
69.
70.
71.
72,
73.
74.
75.
76.
77.
78.
79.
80.
81.
82.
83.
84.
85.
86.
87.
88.
89.
90.
91.
92.
South Africa, 1977' Official Yearbook of the Republic of South Africa, pp,721-722.
South Africa 1977, p.873, See also TLO Archives, ROC-RSA Exchange of Visits, Vol.1, 1976 List of
Visitors.
See The Chinese World Almanac, 1995, pp,1006-1007 (Report on the RSA),
TLO Archives, Pretoria: 68,7-69,9~{tf: (The Confidential Files During July 1979-Sep.1980):MOFA's
telex No. 442, December 17"', 1979, pp.1-2.
Ibid.
The General Assembly of the United Nations, Report of the Special Committee Against Apartheid,
October 25th, 1989, p,53.
TLO Archives, Pretoria, MOFA's telex No. 768, dated August 14th, 1984. It was clearly stated in this
telex that the ROC was not in a position to compete with the South African national teams in the
sports items of the IOC games,
Ibid.: 3t1tm"ffxmt~,1981-1989 (ROC-RSA Cultural and Sports Exchanges, 1981-1989), MOFA's
telex No, 650 dated January 22nd, 1984; and the letter of Roy Menachemson, Managing Director of
SA National Bowling Operations, addressed to H. K. Yang, the ROC Ambassador, dated January 30th,
1984.
Ibid" tp3€iI&~l[w~([g) (ROC-RSA Exchange of Visits, Vol. 4), tpm~mi&~F?JfI!I!!~~Wl1t.jUj
&lk3 (The Resolutions and Discussion Points of the Conference of Heads of Missions, August 10th,
1978), pp,3-4.
Ibid., tp3€f~f-3~~Hf~~ (Agreements between South Africa and the ROC), pp.1-3.
The Citizen, November 13th, 1979 (Taiwan to boost contacts with SA).
TLO Archives, Pretoria: tp3€il&~l[w~([g) (ROC-RSA Exchange of Visits, Vol. 4), m~F.~itmw
(The Report and Programme for the Visit of the Speaker of House of Assembly of
the RSA and Mrs. J.J. Loots to the ROC), No. 23015, 29/11/1979, pp.1-2. See also iI&~l[w~
(ROC-RSA Exchange of Visits, July 1985-Nov. 1986), ROC Embassy'S Note No. 74-702, July 5th,
1985, p.1.
Ibid., ~~l1t~~
(Co-ordination Conferences), ~m-t+-t~J\.fJ
J\'~[gfJ ffi$1m~F~.fll~~
l1t~*c~ (The Minutes of Co-ordination Conferences, August 1988-April 1989), Minutes of 171
meeting, p.4 and Minutes of 172 meeting, p.3.
Ibid., iI&~l[w~ (ROC-RSA Exchange of Visits, July 1985-November 1986), AppendiX - A List of
Recent Exchange of Visits.
Ibid., ~"ff(~~w.) (Education: Visits of South African Academics to the ROC), MOFA's official
dispatch to MOE, No. 77322310, dated September 7"',1988, pp.1-2.
Ibid., ~~f§B~w3€~ (The Visit of the ROC Minister of Education to the RSA), the ROC Embassy's
official dispatch No. 390, dated April 16th , 1987, p.1.
Ibid., m~FA±w.~(-)
(The Visits of South African Academics II), MOE's official dispatch to Sun
Yat-sen University and the ROC Embassy, No. 54453 dated November 11th, 1987, p.1.
Ibid., tp3€3tft~~ (Agreement between the Government of the ROC and the Government of the
RSA Relating to Cultural Matters), June 19th, 1989, p.6, Article 3.
T. Sono, From the East· Lessons from Taiwan for South Africa, p.74.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: .nm~FR~3tftMI.~~JIj~ (Briefings of the Cultural Division of the TLO in
the RSA), December 10th, 1999, pp.3-5.
Ibid., p.6.
Interview with Dr. Oar-sheng Liu, Chief of Cultural Division of the TLO in the RSA, Pretoria,
December 17"', 1999.
Ibid., See also M.J. Davies' personal letter to the author dated April 24th, 2001. In the letter, Davies
indicated that his academic research in Taiwan was "both academically productive and personally
fufilling:
T. Sono, From the East· Lessons from Taiwan for South Africa, pp.74-75. See also University of
Pretoria Research and Creative Work, 1998, Vol. 1 - Review, p.23.
UNISA, The Introduction to the Centre for Contemporary Asian Studies of the University of South
Africa (UNISA), pp.1-2.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: .nm~FR~J;!3t
1~~JIj~
(The Briefings of the Cultural Division of the
TLO in the RSA), December 10th, 1999, p.4.
.~*~w.Bfi
--t+
93.
94.
95.
96.
97.
98.
99.
100.
101.
102.
103.
104.
105.
106.
107.
108.
109.
110.
111.
112.
113.
114.
115.
116.
117.
118.
119.
120.
121.
122.
123.
124.
125.
126.
127.
See I. Taylor, "Africa's Place in the Diplomatic Competition between Beijing and Taipei" in Issues &
Studies, Vol. 34, No.3, March 1998, pp.126-143; and "The 'Captive States' of Southern Africa and
China: The PRC and Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland" in Journal of Commonwealth & Comparative
politics, Vol. 35, No.2, July 1997, pp.75-95.
Davies, South Africa and Taiwan' Managing the Post-Diplomatic Relationship, the Editor's Foreword,
lines 3-7.
Ibid., 4th paragraph.
TLO Archives, Cape Town: tt~tf~MtH~~mJ;l?lGrtHMftg.~t*~m~11l~1Mft(Briefings of the
TLO in Cape Town on the Sister Cities between the ROC and the RSA), May 2nd, 2000, p.1.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: g.~~t±~t*~m~~~
(The Establishment of Sisterhood Ties between
the Province of Taiwan and the Province of Transvaal, 1990), Dr. W. R. Hood's letter to Dr. LIEN
Chan, October 23rd, 1990, p.1.
Taipei Forum, jj1EMW:p~IJIt%(The
Situation of South Africa and the ROe-RSA Relations), p.6.
Macroview weekly, Taipei, April 13th, 2000, p.1 (~~.m~~J!mtm*flOO,The KMT Approved Tang
Fei to form his Cabinet).
Interview with MrWouter Zaayman, Deputy Representative of the Liaison Office of South Africa, May
2nd, 2000, in Pretoria.
Central Daily News, Taipei, April 21st, 2000, p.1 (Editorial: Assessment of US Arms Sale to Taiwan).
Official Yearbook of South Africa, 1992, p.201.
Ibid., p.206.
Ibid., p.201.
Sunday Times, September 14th, 1986, p.22 (Editorial: Go East, young man).
Official Yearbook of South Africa, 1992, p.201.
Yap & Man, Colour Confusion and Concessions, Introduction, p.1 & pp.48-49.
The author, as the then Consul-General of the ROC, and Mrs. S.H. Lin, accompanied by the two
ROC Consuls, Messrs. Roger G.C. Su and Vietor H.M. Liu, attended the cultural performance on May
1~, 1997 in Durban North Baptist Church, Durban, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.
Official Yearbook of South AfFica-,-1993,p.231.
Interview with Dr. Dar-sheng Liu,.Chief of the Cultural Division of the TLO, Pretoria, December 1~,
1999.
Sono, Lessons from Taiwan for South Africa, p.142.
Lien Chan, Heading for the 21st Century, p.108.
Fredrick F. Chien, Opportunity and Challenge, p.30.
Ibid., p.55.
TLO Archives, Cape Town: Briefings of the TLO in Cape Town on the Sister Cities between the ROC
and the RSA, May 2nd, 2000, p.1.
Sono, Lessons from Taiwan, pp.73-75.
M. J. Davies, South Africa's Relations with the PRC and the ROC, 1949 to 1995: The Question of
Diplomatic Recognition, M.A. Thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, p.46.
Harkavy, "The Pariah State Syndrome", p.623.
M. Spring, "The Fifth World Concept" in ISSUP Strategic Review, University of Pretoria, April 1982,
p.25.
General Pei-tsun Hau, The Diary oOhe Eight Years as the Chief of General Staff, p.316.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: ROe-RSA Co-operation on Defence Industries, Ambassador Loh's telex
(report), No.166, March 30th, 1995, p.2.
Ibid., jj~F~-X~-1L1L1i1f.ftrrJl!ta
(The RSA Heads of Mission Conference), September 4th_
th
8 ,1995, Feedback Reports: Asia, p.31.
Ibid., The ROC Embassy's telex to MOFA No. 166, March 30th, 1995, p.3.
Ibid., p.1.
National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC), Cabinet Memorandum No.13, September
5th, 1996, DS 5/1/9B.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: ROe-RSA Cultural and Sports Exchanges, 1981-1989, MOFA's telex No.
768, August 14th, 1984, p.1.
The Official yearbook of South Africa 1993, pp.268-269. Also see South Africa at a Glance 2000,
p.166.
128.
129.
130.
131.
132.
133.
134.
Geldenhuys, Isolated States, pp.630-631.
nd
TLO Archives, Cape Town: Briefings on the Sister Cities between the ROC and RSA, May 2 , 2000,
p.1. Also see TLO Archives, Pretoria: The Establishment of Sisterhood Ties between the Province of
Taiwan and the Province of Transvaal, Dr. W. R. Hoods' letter, October 23rd, 1990, p.1.
Chien, Opportunity and Challenge, p.30.
Harkavy, "The Pariah State Syndrome", pp.644-645
Barber & Barratt, South Africa's Foreign policy, p.241. Also see K. Adelman, "The Club of Pariahs" in
Africa Report, Vol. 25, No.6, November-December 1980, p.8 & p.1 O.
Sana, Lessons From Taiwan for South Africa, p.142.
Ibid., p.143.
THE END OF ROC-RSA
SUBSTANTIVE
DIPLOMATIC
TIES AND
THE ESTABLISHMENT
OF
RELATIONS BETWEEN THE RSA AND THE ROC, 1994-1998
The year 1994 saw the end of a period of political transition
emergence of a new South Africa.
(1989-1994)
and the
As a result of the multi-party negotiation process
(1993-4), the first non-racial general election on a one-man, one-vote basis was held in
South Africa on April 2ih,
1994. The ANC won 62.65% of the popular vote and gained
for itself 252 seats in the National Assembly.
The National Party (NP) scored 20% with
82 seats, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) 10.5% with 43 seats, the Freedom Front
(FFNF) 2.17% with 9 seats, the Democratic Party (DP) 1.73% with 7 seats and the Pan
Africanist Congress (PAC) 1.25% with 5 seats.1
On May 10th, 1994, Nelson R. Mandela was sworn in as the President of the Republic of
South Africa at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Thabo Mbeki and F.W. de Klerk were
sworn in as Executive Deputy Presidents on the same day. A government of National
Unity (GNU) was formed for five years. The parties that won more than 5% of the seats
in the National Assembly were given Cabinet portfolios on proportional basis. The ANC,
NP and IFP took part in the GNU.
Among the 25 Cabinet posts, the NP had four
ministerial portfolios and a deputy presidential position, the IFP had three ministerial
portfolios, and the ANC eighteen.2
dominant governing
power.
The ANC, as the majority party, exercised
The political power of the Afrikaner
its
elite was greatly
weakened as from May 1994.
Following the transformation
of South Africa's political landscape after May 1994, the
country's foreign policy also underwent a process of dramatic change.
The changes
affected South Africa's objective and perceived position and role in the world. In moving
forward to a new era, South Africa had not only broken with the international isolation of
its dark apartheid years, but had also begun to chart its new foreign policy objectives
and the direction of its international relations in accordance with its needs as a new
democratic nation.
South Africa's post-apartheid foreign policy focuses mainly on restoring its rightful place
as an important regional power and a key player in the international arena, its vision of
forging
partnerships
and strong ties with international
neighbouring countries in southern Africa.
major powers
as well as
The new South Africa also strives to serve
as a spokesman for the cause of developing countries so as to help create the situation
in which "South Africa would exist and develop as a democratic, non-racial, peaceful,
non-aligned and prosperous country".
3
The eagerness of the new South African government to return to the fold of world
nations and play a high-profile
role on the world stage following the inauguration
of
Nelson Mandela in May 1994 was reflected in the speech made by Alfred Nzo, the then
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the RSA, in Parliament on May 2yth, 1994. Nzo stressed
the need for the RSA to break with its isolated past and integrate with the world
community.
He stated that, in the age of rapid global communication,
South Africa must
expand its role and integration into that global village. Nzo also emphasised that being
part of the African continent, the first step of South Africa's foreign policy programme
was to apply for the membership of the Organization of African Unity (OAU).
Africa's next step was to re-enter the UN and the Commonwealth,
South
and to resume
participation in, and contribute to, other international organizations.4
The priority areas and primary concerns for the South African government were defined
as follows:
Firstly, peaceful co-existence and the promotion of economic development
in the southern African region is a major priority.
Secondly, constructive
interaction with Africa, especially to address the challenges of the next
decade and to find mechanisms
to resolve conflict, is very important.
Thirdly, interaction with the international community at large. in multilateral
organizations,
is becoming
improvement
increasingly
important.
Fourthly,
further
of our relationship with the G7 nations, as well as South
Africa's other major trading partners, is important for the wellbeing of
South Africa's people.
Lastly, the continuation of traditional friendships
and the promotion of new partnerships
in the rest of the world is also
important.5
As South Africa had successfully transformed
itself into a non-racial democracy,
the
Republic has also proceeded to normalise its relations with the rest of the world and
was indeed warmly
welcomed
back into the international
important role in global affairs as from May 1994.
community
to play an
In order to reintegrate
into the
community of nations, the ANC-Ied GNU strove to establish, resume or upgrade its
relations with many foreign countries and multilateral intergovernmental
organisations.
South Africa's dream of reintegration into the family of nations came true during 1994.
Soon after Mandela's
inauguration,
international organisations.
the RSA was admitted
to a large number of
On May 23rd, 1994, South Africa was officially admitted as
the 53rd member of the OAU; at the end of May 1995, the country joined the NonAligned Movement (NAM); in June 1994, South Africa rejoined the Commonwealth after
an absence of 33 years and resumed her seat in the UN General Assembly; two months
later, South Africa became the 11th member of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC).6
The restoration of South Africa's seat in the UN General Assembly signified the official
ending of the RSA's international isolation and the beginning of a partnership with the
world community.
The normalisation
of the RSA's relations with the UN and its
specialised agencies enabled the country not only to join major global international
organisations, but also to benefit from multilateral treaties and conventions.
The achievement of the normalisation of international relations was proudly announced
by Nzo in parliament: "Our flag flies high in Addis Ababa, New York and the capitals of
the world; the democratisation
of South Africa has created an historic opportunity for
South Africa to play its rightful role on the world stage for the first time in its history".?
By the end of 1994, South Africa had diplomatic relations with 162 countries, with a
further 11 in a final stage of conclusion.
Compared to 115 countries prior to Mandela's
inauguration, this was an increase of 47 countries; furthermore, the RSA was physically
represented in 90 foreign countries.8 According to the statistics given by Nzo, a total of
3.8 countries established new diplomatic ties with the RSA in 1994 and 18 countries
upgraded already existing relations during the same period.9
The normalisation
of South Africa's international relations and its emergence on the
world stage as an important player marked the end of the pariah bond that had existed
previously between the ROC and the RSA. While the new South African government
was in the throes of reshaping its foreign policy, the new administration
faced the
dilemma of recognition between the PRC and the ROC. The new government had to
decide whether or how to continue its bilateral relationship with the ROC and how to
relate to the PRC. This was a difficult issue. On the one hand, it was widely expected
that, following the advent of a new democratic South Africa in May 1994, the ANC-Ied
GNU would follow international
practice and shift its foreign
policy orientation
and
recognise the PRC instead of the ROC. On the other hand, the GNU inherited formal
diplomatic relations with the ROC and the absence of diplomatic relations, or, rather,
unofficial relations with the PRC.
There was a strong case for the recognition of the PRC.
The PRC is a major world
power: the most populous state in the world, a nuclear power, a permanent member of
the
UN Security
Council,
and
one
of the world's
fastest
growing
economies.
Historically, the PRC assisted the liberation movements during the apartheid years.
Without forging diplomatic ties with the PRC, the universality of South Africa's foreign
relations would be incomplete.
Raymond Suttner, the then Chairperson of the Portfolio
Committee on Foreign Affairs of the South African National Assembly, compared the
situation of having diplomatic relations with all states other than the PRC with "having
relations with the European Union (EU) and not Britain and Germany, or southern Africa
without South Africa."l0
This would also differ from the international
trend as most
countries have recognised the PRC as "the sole legal government of China.""
Equally, there was a strong case against the derecognition of the ROC in favour of the
PRC. The ROC and the RSA had developed strong economic relations during 19761994. The ROC was South Africa's seventh largest trading partner.
In 1994, the ROC-
RSA bilateral trade totalled R5.35 billion with South Africa enjoying a trade surplus of
R664 million.
In terms of investment,
the ROC had the second
highest foreign
exchange reserves.12 The ROC was the seventh largest investor in the world and
invested about R1.4 billion in South Africa with more than 280 factories creating more
than 40,000 jobs.13 In contrast to the mere huge potential market of the PRC, the ROC
was already an important investor for the RSA. Even from a trade perspective, although
South Africa's trade with the PRC grew faster than that with the ROC, the ROC was a
,
large and more important market than" the PRC in terms of its purchasing
power.14
Moreover, as indicated in Chapter IV, the ROC offered Pretoria a great number of
economic incentives, grants and aid packages to assist the RSA in financing its RDP. If
South Africa were to sever its relations with the ROC, it was quite likely that the ROC
government
rescinding
would retaliate by suspending
its pledged development
its aid packages,
assistance
or withdrawing
grants and loans, and
its investments
from
South Africa. The ROC's retaliatory action against South Korea was a case in point. In
1992, Taipei avenged the insult of an abrupt break-up of diplomatic
South Korea by terminating
between
Taipei
relationship.
and
Seoul.
preferential
trade treatments
Retaliation
would
hurt
relations upon
and the direct air links
the
ROC-RSA
economic
These were the main concerns of the ANC-Ied GNU in handling its
relationship with the ROC.15
In the face of the above-mentioned
two Chinas dilemma, the ideal solution for the ANC-
led GNU would be the "dual recognition option" - to accord diplomatic recognition to
both the ROC and the PRC. A number of divided nations such as the two Germanies,
the two Vietnams
and the two Koreas were recognised
international community.
as separate states by the
If this approach could be effected, South Africa could avoid
making a choice and so overcome the zero-sum nature of the recognition problem.
The ROC was willing to accept dual recognition to coexist with the PRC.16 Since 1991,
when the ROC's then president, Lee Teng-hui, abolished the "Temporary
Provisions
Effective During the Period of National Mobilization for Suppression of the Communist
Rebellion",
the ROC has formally
recognised
the reality that "Taiwan
is currently
separated from the Chinese mainland" and that "the ROC government and the Chinese
communists must coexist peacefully."l? In other words, the ROC finally abandoned its
long-held claim that it was the sole legitimate government of all China.
As from 1991
onwards, the ROC did not challenge the undeniable fact that the PRC government
effectively rules the mainland.
Based on this flexible stance, the ROC government has
adopted the policy of pragmatic diplomacy.
In line with this policy, the then Minister of
Foreign Affairs of the ROC, Fredrick F. Chien, declared in January 1991 that:
In terms of seeking formal ties, all those countries which are willing to be
friends with us under the principles of independence,
self rule, equality
and mutual benefits know that we are willing to be their friend.
Since last
year we have established or re-established ties with Bahamas, Grenada,
Liberia, Belize, Lesotho, Guinea-Bissau
and Nicaragua.
Grenada and
other countries have formal ties with the Chinese Communists,
yet they
insisted on establishing ties with us as well. These facts fully demonstrate
the fact that we have turned proactive in our foreign relations.18
However, in contrast to the ROC's growing flexibility, the PRC refused to accept "dual
recognition"
and is still uncompromising
on this issue.
The PRC has taken an
unequivocal position on the "One China" policy and insists on the premise that there is
only one China in the world.
From Beijing's perspective,
the PRC is the sole legal
central government of all China and the ROC, (on Taiwan) which was defeated by the
19
Chinese Communists in the civil war in 1949, a mere renegade province of China.
The PRC advocates the unification of China through the formula of "One Country, Two
Systems" to place the ROC (Taiwan) on the same level as Hong Kong and Macao
which are merely "Special Administrative Regions" of the PRC.20 This "One China"
position is a non-negotiable
issue for the PRC government.
The PRC regards this
stance as a most important question of national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and
allows no room for compromise on this issue.
Asia-Pacific
deduced
Programme
correctly
at the Royal
Therefore, Richard Grant, Head of the
Institute of International
Affairs
in London,
that "China (the PRC) will not accept dual recognition,
Nelson
Mandela or no Nelson Mandela.,,21
The PRC's refusal to accept dual recognition was confirmed by Qian Qichen, the PRC
Foreign Minister,
in no uncertain
terms to a visiting
South African
parliamentary
delegation to Beijing in July 1995:
There is only one China in the world.
The government of the People's
Republic of China is the sole legal government of China, and Taiwan is an
inalienable part of China. We will never accept dual recognition.22
For the ROC, the PRC's "One China, Two Systems" formula is not acceptable.
The
reasons were clearly spelled out by the ROC Vice-President and Premier, Lien Chan, in
1.996 as follows:
The
"one
country"
Peking
[Beijing]
insists
on
in
this
transitional
arrangement would presumably be the "People's Republic of China," and
the ultimate
system
would
thus be communist
autocracy.
Peking's
proposal therefore amounts to reducing the ROC to the status of a local
government,
while forcing
the people
of Taiwan
to accept
Chinese
communist rule and to forsake the democracy, freedom and prosperity
they enjoy today.23
As a result of the PRC's uncompromising
stance on the "One China" policy, the PRC
has rejected several attempts made by a number of small countries including Burkina
Faso, Nicaragua, Grenada, Gambia and Senegal to pursue "dual recognition.,,24 The
PRC is not prepared
to have diplomatic
relations
with any state that maintains
diplomatic ties with the ROC. Hence, the option of "dual recognition" had no chance of
success.
South Africa was left with only two choices: either to maintain the status quo,
or to downgrade its diplomatic relations with the ROC and establish diplomatic relations
with the PRC.
7.3
THE
POSITION
OF
THE
GNU
ON
THE
SEVERANCE
OF
ROC-RSA
DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS
At the time of its assumption of power in May 1994, the GNU did not develop a unified
stance on the question of the establishment
of diplomatic
relations with the ROC.
Mandela, the NP and the IFP, some of the cabinet ministers including
Minister of
Defence, Joe Modise, and the then Director-General
of Foreign
of the Department
Affairs, Rusty Evans, favoured maintaining the status quo.
The three partners of the
ruling alliance, namely the ANC, the South African Communist
Party (SACP) and
COSATU, as well as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and most of the
senior officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) were in favour of the rapid
establishment of diplomatic relations with the PRC.25
As the China issue was complex and extremely sensitive, it appeared that the GNU
preferred to initiate a process of gradual consensus building on reshaping its China
policy, rather than taking a quick decision to break off diplomatic relations between the
RSA and the ROC. This would allow various views to emerge and encourage different
role players to debate on the proper way to deal with the conundrum the RSA faced.
The GNU's delaying of the decision to switch diplomatic recognition from the ROC to
the PRC for two and a half years from May 1994 to November 2ih,
1996 was due to
several factors:
The first and foremost was Mandela's support for the ROC and his reluctance to sever
diplomatic relations with Taipei in the course of the two years after May 1994. As the
head of state of the new democratic South Africa, the senior leader of the ANC and a
well-respected
international
statesman with his great stature of moral high ground,
Mandela exerted great influence.
His favouring of maintaining South Africa's diplomatic
ties with the ROC was one of the decisive factors in the GNU's delaying of its decisionmaking.26 The possible reasons for Mandela's unwillingness to cut off South Africa's
diplomatic relations with the ROC are analysed in the ensuing paragraphs.
Secondly, with the normalisation of the political situation in South Africa, the RDP was
the cornerstone of the GNU's domestic social planning.27 As Thabo Mbeki, the RSA's
then Deputy President, stressed, the RDP "remains the policy anchor on which all
government programmes have been and will continue to be based.,,28 The ANC-Ied
GNU needed foreign economic and financial support to achieve the objectives of the
RDP. Nzo also clearly emphasised the importance of the RDP to South Africa's foreign
policy:
In our internal policies, the paramount importance of the RDP needs no
stressing.
My department has recognised the need for foreign trade and
investment that will make a substantial contribution to the reconstruction
and development
of the South African economy, and hence to growth,
ensuring peace and prosperity for our people.29
It was under such circumstances
that the ROC was able to offer various types of
assistance to the new South African government and to attempt to induce it with the
advantages of not breaking diplomatic relations.
As indicated in Chapter IV, prior to
1996, the ROC had rendered and pledged to provide substantial
economic
and
development
funding to South Africa to support its RDP.
Thus, the ROC's strong
economic links with South Africa and the former's contributions
to the RDP were the
main inducements for the new South African government to maintain the status quo for
as long as it could do so.
However, the GNU's desired objective
was still the
establishment of diplomatic relations with the PRC, but not at the expense of existing
ties with the ROC.
occasions.
Mandela and Nzo repeatedly reaffirmed this stance on various
Nzo reiterated this official position in Parliament on June 18th, 1996, stating
that "South Africa wishes to maintain and expand friendly and cordial relations with
Taipei and Beijing precisely because we wish to enhance the welfare and prosperity of
the people of South Africa, and because we wish to contribute to the new world order."30
Thirdly, apart from the practical economic factor, the new democratic South Africa was
also in a "moral dilemma". "How do you justify diplomatic recognition of a communist
one-party state, at the expense of a democracy which practices all the principles of
liberty?" exclaimed Ric Wilson, a journalist with the Eastern Province Herald in July
1994.31 Mandela's commitment to human rights and democracy were contributing
factors for his retaining South Africa's diplomatic relations with the ROC as long as he
could. This was made evident by his speech delivered on the occasion of his investiture
as Doctor of Law at Soochow University in Taipei in July 1993. He stated:
As a liberation movement, the ANC was unique in so firmly nailing its
colour to the mast of justice and human rights, decades before the issue
came onto our national
agenda.
We did so because
these things
mattered to us. This is what we have been fighting for. 32
Fourthly, the GNU was comprised of the ANC, the NP and the IFP. The NP and the IFP
were in favour of maintaining the status quo. In view of the different stance taken by the
cabinet members of the NP and the IFP from those of the ANC, it appeared that "the
president was not prepared to force a decision, preferring instead to persist with a
consensus decision-making
approach.,,33
Fifthly, the shift of diplomatic recognition would affect South Africa's long-term interests.
Before the actual severance of ROC-RSA diplomatic relations, it was necessary for the
RSA to have in-depth assessment of the consequences and possible impact on South
Africa's national interests.
September
The RSA heads of mission conference
that was held in
1995 at Espada Ranch, Pretoria had clearly acknowledged
the need of
evaluation by proposing that "South Africa's long-term interests in the Greater China
Region should be negotiated.
It is necessary to evaluate the consequences
if the
situation is not dealt with in the foreseeable future."34
Lastly, in order to obtain the best deal possible for South Africa, the GNU intended to
handle the China issue with great care and manage the process of extrication from the
inherited diplomatic
stakeholders
ties with the ROC at its own pace so as to ensure that "all
[were] consulted"
and that "all parties concerned
[were] treated with
respect and dignity.,,35 By doing so, it was hoped that "South Africa's immediate and
long-term interests [would be] adequately protected."36
As the ROC was, and still is one of South Africa's most important sources of investment
and because the ROC rendered substantial assistance to the RDP, the GNU tried not to
follow the precedence of Korea's sudden breaking of ROC-ROK diplomatic relations (on
August 24th, 1992) without any warning or consultation.
This had angered the ROC
government and damaged the economic relations between the ROC and South Korea.37
It was probably due to the above-mentioned
considerations
that the GNU deferred its
establishment of formal diplomatic relations with the PRC from May 1994 to January 1st,
1998.
7.4
THE ROC GOVERNMENT'S EFFORTS TO SAVE ROC-RSA DIPLOMATIC
~ELATIONS
From 1990, when the process of political change started to unfold in South Africa, the
ROC government endeavoured to safeguard its diplomatic ties with the RSA. As early
as January 1991, after his visit to South Africa, the then ROC Foreign Minister, Fredrick
F. Chien, discerned that while South Africa was in the process of normalising
the
country's external relations with the outside world and aspiring to take its rightful place
in the international community, it would inevitably establish relations with the PRC. This
he believed was because of the PRC's status as a permanent member of the UN
Security Council and Beijing's influence in the Third World.38 Nevertheless, President
nd
de Klerk had told Chien during the latter's visit to South Africa on January 22
,
1991
that as the NP government cherished the special relationship existing between the RSA
and the ROC, South Africa's development of relations with the PRC would be "confined
to unofficial level", and that there was "no hidden agenda.,,39
The then South African Foreign Minister, R.F. (Pik) Botha, also assured Fredrick Chien
that "as the ROC was South Africa's bad weather friend, the relationship between the
two countries would neither change fundamentally,
nor be influenced
by the PRC."
Botha foresaw that "for South Africa, it would not pay to forge diplomatic links with the
Chinese
Communist
regime
government leadership's
[at the expense
of the ROC].,,40
Despite
the NP
reassurances, the ROC government was deeply alarmed by
the increasing frequency of exchange of visits between the RSA and the PRC and in
particular the impending
announcement
of the agreement
reached
by Beijing and
Pretoria on December 19th, 1991 to establish representative
offices in the respective
capitals as from the following year.
was perturbed that the
The ROC government
process of setting up semi-official relations might lead to the eventual establishment of
full formal diplomatic relations between the RSA and the PRC. Hence Chien called the
then RSA Ambassador
at Taipei, Alan Harvey, into the Office of Foreign Minister to
express the ROC's grave concern about the PRC's increasing activities and diplomatic
manoeuvring
to improve its relations with Pretoria.
Chien that the South African [NP] government
Ambassador
Harvey reassured
would merely develop and expand
economic, trade and tourism relations with the PRC, but not formal diplomatic ties with
Beijing.41
In order to safeguard
its diplomatic
relations with South Africa, the ROC's largest
diplomatic ally, the ROC government started to strengthen ROC-RSA
economic and
financial relations as well as other co-operative projects between the two countries as
from January 1991. These booster measures included the establishment
of a branch
office of the Bank of Taiwan as well as a Vegetable Research Centre in South Africa,
the importation
of South African liquor and spirits, the offering of a Fixed Rate Re-
lending Facility for South African financial institutions, a proposed deposit of USA$500
million into the account of the Reserve Bank of the RSA, the small (black) farmers'
project, the USA$60 million loan to the IDC and the petro-chemical co-operation project,
among various other co-operation programmes and financial assistance.42 Apart from
these booster measures, the ROC government also intensified the high-level exchange
of visits.
As a result of this effort, the then South African Foreign Minister, R.F. (Pik)
Botha, was invited to visit the ROC in October 1991; F.W. de Klerk went to Taipei in
November 1991, and the ROC President, Lee Teng-hui, attended President Mandela's
inauguration in May 1994.43
Moreover. the ROC ski/fully utilised the transitional
period (1991-1994)
to cultivate
relations with the ANC, which was seen to be the ruling-party-in-waiting.
Many leading
figures of the ANC including Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Archbishop
Desmond Tutu
were invited to visit Taipei. Mandela's visit had an important impact on his perception of
the ROC and resulted in the delay of the ANC-Ied government's severing of diplomatic
ties with the ROC.
F:rom May 1994 until November
1996, the ROC government
went even further,
launching a massive lobbying campaign amongst all of South Africa's political ranks and
opinion leaders aimed at mobilising support for the maintenance of diplomatic relations.
This campaign was characterised
by the extension of invitations to prominent South
Africans and pledges of assistance to the RDP.
Most of the South African cabinet
ministers and over 200 parliamentarians were invited to visit the ROC during this period.
This was perceived as having "succeeded
months, if not years.,,44
in delaying the policy decision for many
Mandela was invited by the ROC government to visit Taipei during July-August,
1993
for four days. This was Mandela's first visit to Taiwan in his capacity as president of the
ANC. Mandela's trip was also the first by an ANC leader to the ROC. During his visit,
Mandela met the then ROC President Lee Teng-hui
and the ROC's other political
leaders including the then Premier Lien Chan, and the KMT Secretary-General
Hsu
45
Shui-teh, and the then Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Hsu Hsin-liang.
At the conclusion of his visit, Mandela remarked that this visit to the ROC marked "the
opening of a new chapter in [ROC-RSA]
he was deeply
impressed
by the ROC's
educational policies, well-educated
technology
and agriculture.
relations.,,46 He had been warmly received and
economic
progress,
highly
successful
labour forces, its democratic reforms and advanced
Therefore,
he anticipated
that "the government
of the
Republic of China and the business community on this island of Taiwan [would] become
important partners in the developmental programmes in a democratic South Africa. ,,47
As from 1994, one of the ANC's most pressing tasks was to resettle and demobilise the
returned cadres of the Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the ANC.
with this policy, Mandela was particularly
demobilisation
impressed
In line
by the ROC's experience
and resettlement of its retired soldiers and its well-managed
in
vocational
centres. Mandela visited the Vocational Training Centre (VTC) in Taichung on July 31 st,
1993, and was highly impressed
by the ROC's system of vocational
training.
He
expressed the wish that the ROC government would donate a training centre on the
scale of the one in Taichung to the new South Africa, and assist the RSA in training the
relevant
personnel
including
instructors
for its operation.
The ROC government
responded very positively to Mandela's request. It was agreed in principle that the ROC
government would assist in building and equipping such a training centre worth USA$40
million for the democratic South Africa, once the Interim government of National Unity
was in place. Apart from the proposed VTC, Mandela also discussed other topics with
the ROC government
leaders
including
the development
businesses, in which the ROC had considerable experience.48
of small
and medium
In addition, to secure the ROC's assistance for the RDP under an ANC-Ied GNU, the
other important purpose of Mandela's
visit was to "get funds for the ANC election
campaign" and to "reassure the country's business community that its economic future
would not be threatened in the new South Africa.,,49 At Mandela's request, the ROC
government agreed to give 10 million USA dollars (equivalent to R33 million) to the ANC
for the April 2ih, 1994 election campaign.5o Furthermore, the ROC Premier, Lien Chan,
promised to provide the new-South African government with a total amount of USA$1 00
million as a development loan. 51
Despite Mandela's well-disposed rapport with the ROC leadership, the ANC's friendship
with the PRC dated back to the 1950s 52. The ANC and other African liberation
movements enjoyed cordial relations with the PRC long before 1994.53 As a result of
this historical allegiance, "there was a strong ideological affinity with communist China
[i.e. the PRC] in the ranks of the ruling ANC-South
Mandela felt likewise.
African Communist Party alliance".54
When he was invited by the ROC government to visit Taipei, he
made it clear during the press conference held on his arrival at Taipei on July 30th,
1993, that "the democratic South Africa [would] not abandon its long-term friend [the
PRC] who assisted the ANC movement during its worst time".55 By contrast, the ROC
had no relations with the ANC and other black liberation movements before 1993. On
the contrary, the ROC was perceived by members of the ANC-SACP-COSATU
as supportive
Therefore,
of the South African white government
and its apartheid
alliance
policies. 56
most of the members of the alliance were in favour of establishing
full
diplomatic relations with the PRC. This stance was reflected by Mandela's remarks on
his arrival at Taipei when he was asked about the ANC's future policy on the existing
ROC-RSA formal diplomatic relations. Mandela honestly declared that:
After the election next April, South Africa will remain a member of the
United Nations, and that of many international organisations.
We will thus
be bound to the policies and decisions of these organisations.
these organisations do not recognise the Republic of China. 57
So far,
In other words, Mandela implied that as the UN and other international organisations
only recognised the PRC, South Africa, in line with international practice, would break
diplomatic relations with the ROC in favour of the PRC as soon as a multi-racially
elected new government was formed in South Africa.
Although no finality was reached
by the ANC, it seemed that Mandela originally intended to use his visit to serve as a
warning to the ROC to brace itself for the impending diplomatic readjustment that would
take place if the ANC won the 1994 general election.
58
However, after his visit to Taipei in 1993, although he was still committed to building
diplomatic relations with the PRC, Mandela appeared to back down over his plan to cut
diplomatic ties with the ROC immediately after the 1994 election.
Mandela was willing
to recognise Beijing, but at the same time he was pragmatic enough to allow the new
ANC-Ied government to seek partnership relations to the fullest extent with the ROC, as
this was in the best economic and financial interests of the democratic South Africa. As
long as the situation would allow the RSA to do so, ROC-RSA
unchanged.
relations remained
Most analysts believe that one of the factors that may have contributed
towards the turnaround of Mandela's attitude towards the ROC was the USA$10 million
donation that the ROC made to the ANC for its 1994 election campaign59
Aside from the donation and the pledged assistance, the other important factor that
influenced Mandela to maintain ROC-RSA diplomatic links was his good impression of
the ROC and his appreciation of the ROC's positive response to his requests during his
1.993 visit. However, with Mandela's world-acclaimed
image of "sainthood", a donation
of USA$10 million from a small country like the ROC would not necessarily be able to
"buy" Mandela's friendship.
It was reported that Mandela had received considerable
financial support from the Arab World, Malaysia, Indonesia and also the PRC before
1994.60 The ROC's donation was just a small drop in the ANC's coffers.
It should also
be noted that the ANC received the same amount in donations from the PRC when
Mandela paid his first visit to mainland China a few months before his trip to Taipei.
The PRC's donations and grants breakdown were as follows: USA$2 million in cash, a
credit of USA$3 million to purchase Chinese manufactured
military uniforms, shoes,
weapons and other products, and one consignment of goods that was valued at USA$5
million.61 Therefore, it would be reasonable to deduce that the donation alone was not
the only factor which led Mandela to change his mind pertaining to his China policy. For
him to do so, there must have been something more than naked material self-interest.
This was reflected from the comments he made at a news conference at Taipei before
his departure from the ROC. Mandela admitted that he was deeply impressed by what
he saw in the ROC and said that this trip had left "an indelible impression" on him and
his delegation.62 As a result of this good impression and his gratitude for the various
types of support that the ROC accorded to the ANC, Mandela changed his attitude
towards the ROC.
He was willing to maintain South Africa's diplomatic relations with
the ROC, however, at the same time he aspired to establishing diplomatic ties with the
PRC. At the news conference before he left the ROC, Mandela said that his trip had
laid a firm basis for the development of ever-closer relations between the ROC and
South Africa.
sector's
He did his best to alleviate both the ROC government's and the business
fears
democratic
regarding
South
an ANC-Ied
Africa
[would]
government
by indicating
be an independent
country
that ';the future
that
has
its own
independent policies; so our attitude towards the ROC [would be] based on the benefits
we receive[d] from the ROC government".63
From May 1oth, 1994 when Mandela was inaugurated as the President of the RSA to
November 2ih,
1996 when he announced the severance of ROC-RSA
diplomatic ties.
Both Mandela and his Foreign Minister, Nzo, espoused the principle of a dual approach
to deal with the question of China.
On the one hand, they repeatedly reaffirmed the
RSA's commitment to retain her relations with the ROC, and on the other hand they
made it clear that the democratic South Africa would not abandon its long-time friend
(the PRC) and wished to strengthen and improve relations with her.
For two and a half years, the Mandela administration had kept the dual approach stance
towards the two Chinas and maintained the RSA's diplomatic ties with the ROC. Based
on this approach,
Mandela
and Nzo repeatedly
reiterated
their reassurances
that
Pretoria would not cancel its diplomatic relations with the ROC even if it established
formal relations with Beijing.
its trade, investment,
During this period, the ROC tried its utmost to strengthen
financial
operation with South Africa.
assistance
as well as economic
and technical
co-
The ROC's development assistance to South Africa was
largely motivated by its foreign policy objectives and the maintenance
of ROC-RSA
ties. Mandela reassured Lee Teng-hui of the firm diplomatic relations between the two
countries during his inauguration as head of state in May 1994.
two months before the announcement,
In September 1996,
Mandela and Nzo still assured the visiting ROC
Vice-Premier, Hsu Li-teh, that it would be "immoral" to sever diplomatic ties with the
ROC.64 Therefore, from the ROC government's and public opinion's perspective,
Mandela's personal support for the continuance of diplomatic ties with the ROC was
seen as the most important pillar which stood in the battering sea of the ANC-SACPCOSATU alliance.
Mandela's various statements led the general public of the ROC to
believe that as long as Mandela remained in office, the ROC's diplomatic relationship
with the RSA was guaranteed.65
Nevertheless, the ROC government and people expected too much of Mandela.
There
is no denying that Mandela played a pivotal role in the transition and that he carried
considerable
influence in the international
forum because of his towering image of
human dignity, racial reconciliation and unconditional forgiveness.
By rising above his
time of suffering, injustice and oppression, Mandela consciously embraced the spirit of
humanity and the virtue of forgiveness.
Because of this, he was reckoned one of the
"Great Souls" in mankind's history.66 But Mandela's support had its limitations.
not the only role-player in the RSA's foreign policy decision-making
pressure and influence were brought to bear on his decision.
He was
process and much
While Mandela was
hoping to maintain the status quo until a consensus could be reached, the ANC, SACP,
COSATU combined
with academics,
the business
sector, public corporations,
the
Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs of the South African National Assembly, the
South African government and the PRC government were out to exert pressure on him.
Notwithstanding
forestalled
Mandela's good intentions, the PRC's rigid "One China" stance still
the possibility of "dual recognition".
In reality, Mandela's
could not be translated into a real operational policy.
dual approach
Therefore, what Mandela was
doing during this period was simply delaying the inevitable, and this caused uncertainty.
This uncertainty in turn led to serious public debate in South Africa on the China issue
during 1994-1996.
The SACP and COSATU were not happy with Mandela's delay of recognition of the
PRC. They failed to understand why the government delayed the inevitable.
South Africa's
relationship
Regarding
with the ROC, the three partners of the ruling alliance
basically shared the same position-the
democratic South Africa should end diplomatic
relations with the ROC and establish diplomatic ties with the PRC.
policy of the ANC-SACP-COSATU
The consistent
tripartite alliance was that they perceived diplomatic
relations with the ROC as an historical injustice that had been inherited from the
apartheid government.
The tripartite alliance's position was evident from a secret letter, written in the name of
Mandela, conveyed by a SACP delegation to Beijing led by the its chairman, Joe Siovo,
in August 1993 to the PRC leaders. In the secret letter it was clearly stated:
The new South Africa will correct the historic injustice which apartheid
perpetrated
in relation to China when it gave diplomatic
Taiwan [ROC].
It will undoubtedly
give diplomatic
recognition
recognition
to
to the
People's Republic of China [PRC] as the sole representative of the whole
Chinese nation.67
The content of the letter was published by the PRC's official Xinhua News Agency on
th
August 10
,
1993.68 However, the ANC's Department of International Affairs denied the
report on August 18th, 1993 and assured the ROC that a democratically-elected
South
African government would not sever its ties with the ROC in favour of Beijing.69 Despite
the ANC's denial, it was obvious that the letter was sent to Beijing shortly after
Mandela's visit to Taipei to assure the PRC that the ANC-Ied government would not
abandon an old friend. This letter was a reflection of the tripartite alliance's policy. The
denial was merely intended to allay the ROC's fears so as to ensure that ROC
investment and assistance would not be disrupted by the revelation of the alliance's
position. This explained why the Xinhua News Agency, on August 19th, 1993, defended
the correctness of its report after the ANC issued its denial on the previous day.70
The tripartite alliance's stance regarding its future diplomatic relations with the ROC was
also reflected in the ANC's working document entitled "Summit on Foreign Policy for a
New Democratic South Africa" published on October 9th, 1993.
In this document, the
ANC's Department of International Affairs stressed the importance of the concept of
human rights and the links with the rest of the African continent and the need to reshape
South Africa's foreign policy.71
On the issue of the future of ROC-RSA
diplomatic
relations, it was stated that "in issues of recognition, we will be guided by international
law and practice at the United Nations".72 The real meaning of the phrase "practice at
the United Nations" was "the code word for Beijing's policy objective of depriving the
Republic of China on Taiwan of everything it stands for, indeed its very existence".73 In
other words, it was code language implying that the RSA should "sever all relations with
the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan, and establish full (diplomatic) relations with the
People's Republic of China (PRC), as the United Nations had done".74 As a matter of
fact, the initial wording of the ANC policy document clearly indicated its intention to
readjust ROC-RSA
diplomatic relations, but this wording was quietly revised after the
ROC Ambassador, I-cheng Loh, approached
concern.75 The original wording was as follows:
Taiwan
[the ROC] was accorded
African government.
the ANC
recognition
A democratically-elected
and expressed
by the apartheid
government
his deep
South
will have to
consider the question once it takes office, bearing in mind both our
national interest as well as the international practice with regard to the
question.76
Among
the
ANC-SACP-COSATU
tripartite
alliance,
the
SACP
was
particularly
vociferous in its strong opposition to Mandela's retaining diplomatic relations with the
ROC. This standpoint was due to the SACP's ideological identity and its historical links
with the PRC. There was also a dislike of the ROC within the ranks of the SACP for the
ROC's previous close ties with the white-ruled South Africa.
the derecognition
The SACP hankered after
of the ROC and criticised the continued
relations.
From 1995
onwards, the SACP started to exert pressure on both Mandela and Nzo in cabinet
meetings
and in the ANC's
National
Executive
Committee (NEC) to immediately
downgrade South Africa's diplomatic relations with the ROC.77 The then Deputy Leader
of the SACP, Blaze Nzimande, and the then Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on
Foreign Affairs
of the South African
especially clamorous.78
National Assembly,
Raymond
Suttner,
The SACP itself was also actively involved in expediting the normalisation
were
of South
Africa's relations with the PRC. Several SACP delegations were dispatched to visit the
PRC for bilateral consultations.
Apart from Slovo's 1993 visit, the most notable SACP
delegations to the PRC took place in early 1996 and in November 1996. The November
1996 delegation
was led by the ANC's Deputy General-Secretary,
~owever, Nzo was still firm on the dual approach position.
Cheryl Carolus.
On January 31 st, 1995 when
he visited Japan, Nzo clearly reaffirmed that South Africa's official position was that "the
South African government would hope to strengthen and improve its relationship with
the PRC on the one hand, and the ROC on the other.,,79 He emphasised that he saw no
reason for South Africa to cut its diplomatic ties with the ROC.
Nevertheless,
to
alleviate the SACP's pressure, Nzo admitted that South Africa was in the process of
negotiating with the PRC on the question of establishing diplomatic ties with Beijing.8o
From this, it was clear that the SACP's pressure had a tremendous
impact on the
GNU's China policy.
The South African National Assembly's
Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs also
developed its position on the two Chinas issue.
The South African Parliament thus
became another pressure point and debating forum as the Committee was chaired by
Raymond Suttner during 1994-1998,
a very able and hardworking
member of the
SACP. Suttner was not hesitant to let his pro-Beijing stance be known in Parliamentary
debates, the media, ANC meetings and even during the workshop on the RSA's China
policy held by the Foundation for Global Dialogue (FGD) and the South African Institute
qf International Affairs (SAIIA) at Jan Smuts House on August 30th, 1995.
Suttner strongly advocated that the South African government
past and reprioritise
its relations.
From Suttner's
should break with the
perspective,
the rationale of the
change was due to the fact that during the apartheid era "foreign policy was forged
against the background of a small minority of states wanting close co-operation
[South
Africa]"
and
that
since
democracy,
the
RSA's
situation
had
with
"changed
domestically and internationally, both in relation to ourselves and to the world apart from
US.,,81From as early as August 1994, during a Parliamentary debate, Suttner urged the
South African government that there was a need to give "fresh consideration of what to
prioritise in our foreign relations policy, the international organisations we belong to and
what we seek to gain from them.,,82 In his view, the democratic
South Africa should
develop its relations with the Third World countries (Le. the South) because "the natural
sphere of operation of the foreign policy of the new South Africa is within South[ern]
Africa and Africa and in relation to the countries of the South.,,83
In respect of South Africa's China policy, Suttner was of the view that it was necessary
for the RSA to urgently establish diplomatic relations with the PRC and lower the level
of relationship with the ROC.84 However, he was pragmatic enough to point out that
"there are many areas of friendship and relations other than the official diplomatic level."
Therefore, Suttner suggested that if South Africa decided to opt for diplomatic relations
with the PRC and to break off relations with Taiwan, this should be handled in such a
way
that
South
jeopardised.85
Africa's
relationship
with
Taiwan,
as a whole,
would
not
be
During this period, numerous South African academics also put persistent pressure on
Mandela to cut diplomatic ties with the ROC and establish diplomatic ties with the PRC.
There was increasing
dissatisfaction
expressed
by many prominent
South African
scholars about the continuation of ROC-RSA diplomatic links and the uncertainty of the
two Chinas issue.
Foreign policy institutions such as the SAIIA and the FGD entered
into the debates as well. The GNU was slated for its indecision regarding this question.
There was a growing consensus in the South African academia on the need for the RSA
to recognise mainland China and improve its relationship with the PRC, as the PRC was
becoming an increasingly important global player. However, the question of what would
happen
to ROC-RSA
diplomatic
ties, if and when
South Africa
diplomatic relations with the PRC, caused intense public debate.
established
full
Should South Africa,
in particular with Mandela's towering international status, pursue a "dual recognition"
policy? The "dual recognition" approach was rejected outright by the PRC government.
Therefore,
it was not possible for South Africa to implement this policy in terms of
practical politics.
As dual recognition was impossible, many scholars in South African
academic circles felt that the normalisation of relations with the PRC was inevitable, and
that the timing of this decision should be sooner rather than later. Delaying the decision
would have a negative effect on South Africa's national interests.
This was especially
relevant to Hong Kong, which was scheduled to revert to the PRC on July 1st, 1997.
The most ardent proponent for recognising the PRC without further delay were Greg
Mills, the Director of Studies (later National Director) of the SAIIA.
Greg Mills was in
favour of exclusive recognition of the PRC and believed that dual recognition was not a
workable option because Beijing would not allow this to happen. Therefore, he asserted
that it would be in South Africa's long-term economic and political interests to establish
full diplomatic relations with the PRC and to manage the shift of relations with the ROC
so that Pretoria could continue to enjoy its beneficial economic relations, and other
levels of relationship, with the ROC despite the severance of ROC-RSA diplomatic ties.
As to the timing for the switch of recognition, he perceived that "the obvious time frame
[was] sometime between the March [1996] Taiwanese Presidential election and July
1997, the handing over of Hong Kong".86
Nevertheless, in spite of the above-mentioned
view held by the majority of scholars in
South African foreign policy institutions, attempts were made by some South African
intellectuals
to opt for a "dual recognition"
policy -
diplomatic relations with both the ROC and the PRC.
South Africa
should maintain
This option was advocated by
Willie Breytenbach, a professor of the Department of Political Science at the University
of Stellenbosch;
John Daniel, Head of the Department
University of Durban-Westville;
of Political Science of the
Themba Sono, Executive Director of the Centre for
Development Analysis in Pretoria; and Deon Geldenhys, Professor of Political Science
at the Rand Afrikaans University in Johannesburg.
accept the "dual recognition"
The ROC government was willing to
option and stated categorically
that it would not sever
diplomatic ties with South Africa if Pretoria entered into full diplomatic relations with
Beijing.87
Beijing.
But this option was, and still is, simply not allowed to be implemented by
The PRC will break off diplomatic relations with any country that dares to try
dual recognition.
Grenada, Burkina Faso, Nicaragua and Gambia are all cases in point.
As a result of the PRC's zero-sum stance, no country internationally has ever achieved
"dual recognition" of the two Chinas.88
However, the ROC government was of the view that as compared with these small
countries, which had tried and failed to achieve dual recognition, South Africa was in a
much stronger position. Therefore the ROC hoped that Mandela might be able to utilise
his unique high moral stature in international relations to interact with the PRC to tryout
the feasibility of dual recognition once again so that the ROC could use this as a
precedent for its relations with other countries.89
The pressure on the South African government to normalise its relations with the PRC
also emerged from the influential business sector and public corporations.
The PRC's
fast-growing economy and its rapidly expanding consumer market could not be ignored.
The South African
business
sector, particularly
its parastatal
enterprises
such as
Armscor, Denel, Eskom and Iscor, had a keen interest in exploring and establishing a
foothold in the huge and rapidly growing market of mainland China. Between 1991 and
1995, the PRC was the fastest growing economy in the world with an average annual
GDP of 12.2%.90
particularly
The
Taiwanese
PRC's
economy
was booming
and foreign
investment,
capital, were pouring in during the first half of the 19905.
Taiwanese investment in the PRC rose from 237 factories with a total of USA$2.7 billion
in 1991 to 11,700 factories totalling USA$35 billion in 1996.91 The ROC became the
second most important investor in the PRC, next only to Hong Kong.92 As the ROC
itself was doing business with the PRC, it was therefore very difficult for the ROC to
request the RSA not to have business transactions
with the PRC, the third largest
economy in the world, bigger in size than the ROC and Hong Kong put together.
The PRC began to wield its economic muscle from the beginning of the 1990s, and the
fact that the PRC would recover Hong Kong on July 151, 1997 and Macao on December
20th, 1999 further increased the importance and global strength of mainland China.
Trade between the PRC and the RSA had expanded from USA$14.6 million in 1991 to
USA$900 million in 1994.
In Rand terms, the PRC-RSA two-way trade surged from
R468 million in 1991 to R1.8 billion in 1994.93 The PRC-South Africa trade volume was
lower than the 1994 ROC-RSA total trade figure of R4.4 billion.
However, if the 1994
Hong Kong trade figure of R2.9 billion was included, the combined total trade between
South Africa and China-Hong Kong was higher than the ROC-RSA trade.94 From 1995
onwards, the PRC became South Africa's sixth largest trade partner.
The perceived
potential market and the impending absorption of Hong Kong thus impacted on the
balance of the Greater China region. From the standpoint of the South African business
community, there was a need for the South African government to normalise relations
with the PRC so as to have diplomatic leverage to protect South Africa's strategic
interests in the Greater China region and to maximise the RSA opportunity to reap the
potential benefits of gaining access to a new market of 1.2 billion people.95
It would have been untenable for South Africa not to look after its growing economic
interests in the PRC.
As discussed in Chapter III, long before the 1989 Tienanmen
Square incident, South Africa had tried to cultivate its relationship with the PRC. To this
end, secret contacts with the PRC were made from the 1970s and undisclosed trade
links with Beijing via Hong Kong were established dating back to 1960. The trade items
between the PRC and the RSA included military hardware, maize, uranium and other
minerals.96
With a view to expanding its arms trade with the PRC, Armscor established
its representation
in Beijing in the early 19805.97
From the establishment
of its
representative to 1995, Armscor sold a total of R230 million worth of weaponry to the
PRC.98 Armscor's desire for extensive military co-operation with the PRC was one of
the important factors that may have attributed to the switching of recognition to the
PRC. In 1994, Iscor exported 4 million tonnes of iron ore to the PRC.99 To facilitate the
handling of its ore exports, Iscor invested R35 million in an iron ore storage facility on
the PRC's north-east coast.100
In order to assist the PRC to commission and operate a
nuclear power plant at Daya Bay in Guangdong
Province,
Eskom entered into an
agreement with the China Light and Power Company in 1993 to exchange relevant
expertise,
information,
power plant.
technology
and personnel training pertaining
to the nuclear
In terms of this agreement, four Eskom staff worked at the said Chinese
nuclear power plant and a number of Chinese personnel were trained at the Koeberg
nuclear power plant, near Cape Town.101
Aside from the afore-mentioned
parastatal corporations, private enterprises were also
anxious to tap the business opportunities in the world's potentially biggest market.
In
March 1994, Nedbank opened a branch in Beijing to facilitate South African investment
in the PRC. Many joint ventures were set up between South African private enterprises
and their Chinese
counterparts
in the PRC.
Volkswagen
~reweries (SAB) established the most notable joint ventures.
of Germany established
AG and South African
In 1992, Volkswagen AG
a joint venture with the PRC's First Automobile
Changchun in North East China, and Volkswagen
sub-supplier to export semi-knocked-down
Works in
South Africa was contracted as a
(SKD) A2 Jetta vehicles to mainland China
in the first phase period before the joint venture could manufacture
its local vehicles.
During the period from May 1992 to August 1995, Volkswagen South Africa supplied the
PRC with 27,720 SKD A2 Jetta vehicles worth approximately R960 million.102
SAB made South Africa's largest investment in the PRC. SAB entered into a business
partnership with Chinese breweries in the PRC's province of Liaoning, Northeast China
(formerly Manchuria).
Brewery (CREB).
The joint venture company was called China Resources (Jilin)
Over the three years from 1994 to 1997, SAB acquired, through
CREB, joint control of five Chinese breweries with a total stake of more than USA$41.7
million.
These included one brewery each in Jilin City and Sichuan Province, the
Shenzhen
C'est Bon Food and Drink Company
in Guangdong
Province and two
breweries in Shengyang City (formerly Mukden) and Dalian in the province of Liaoning
(formerly part of Manchuria).103
In addition, many more South African companies were interested in doing business with
the PRC.
These included JCI, Investec Bank and MIH Holdings.
~upersport,
Multichoice
and M-web.
MIH owns M-Net,
The China Central Television
(CCTV) network
concluded an agreement with MIH to co-produce television programmes in 1997. In the
same year, the PRC's trade vice-minister, Shi Guang-sheng,
and the DTI of the RSA
signed a deal worth USA$550 million for various business transactions.
In accordance
with this deal, South Africa would sell diamonds, iron ore, steel, coal, copper, cobalt,
paper and other goods worth USA$269 million to the PRC.104
All in all, by 1998, there were 17 South African funded businesses operating in the PRC,
and the RSA's businesses had invested more than R4 billion in the country.105 As the
PRC's huge market and continuing high growth loomed large on the horizon of the
international
pressure
economic stage, the PRC subtly used the importance
South Africa to establish
formal diplomatic
ties.
of its market to
Among
South Africa's
influential business circles there was a growing concern that the absence of diplomatic
relations with the PRC might hinder South African enterprises from gaining economic
access to the PRC market and from receiving preferential treatment.
above-mentioned
economic reality that South Africa could not continue to ignore the
PRC's importance in the international community.
The South African business sector
was of the view that in order for South African entrepreneurs
opportunities
possible.
It was due to the
to maximise strategic
in the PRC, relations with the PRC had to be normalised
as soon as
The South African foreign policy establishment, particularly the DFA as well as the DTI,
was also in favour of the normalisation of relations with the PRC. As a matter of fact, in
as early as May 1995, both the DFA and the DTI had already completed cost-benefit
assessments of the policy option of normalising relations with the PRC.
1995, an interdepartmental
rd
On May 23
,
meeting was held at the Diplomatic Guest House in Pretoria
to assess South Africa's real long-term interests with regard to the two Chinas and to
what extent a shift in South Africa's policy position was necessary.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, chaired the meeting.
participated in this meeting.
Aziz Pahad, the
Twenty-one
departments
The meeting came to the conclusion that the PRC was a
major power, and therefore, in the RSA's long-term economic and political interests,
South Africa should seek to normalise its relations with the PRC and downgrade its
relations with the ROC.
Beijing's modernisation
The PRC is very influential in the UN Security Council, and
programme of its defence forces was seen as an important
opportunity for South Africa.
By contrast, the ROC was ridiculed as a country that
"made a great deal of noise" but "not much substance.,,106
Similar views emerged from the first post-apartheid Heads of Mission Meeting that was
held during September 4th_8th, 1995 in Pretoria. This meeting was chaired by Nzo, and
opened by Mbeki, then Deputy President of the RSA.
discussed in this meeting's workshop.
The two Chinas issue was
Consensus was reached on a number of issues,
which are indicated below:
•
It was decided that relations with China [the PRC] should be normalised, sooner
rather than later, and specifically with a view to Hong Kong, that this should be done
before the end of 1996.
South Africa's
strategic interests were central to the
normalisation of relations with mainland China.
•
The China issue affected South Africa's foreign policy across the board - both
bilaterally and in various multilateral forums. There were certain realities pertinent to
the issue, such as the fact that "dual recognition" was a non-issue.
It was agreed
that the Cabinet needed to address the realties of this situation soon.
•
It was concluded that there was a need to negotiate while South Africa still had
leverage, vis-a-vis a favourable dispensation for South Africa's long-term interests in
the Greater China region.
It was necessary to evaluate the consequences
if the
situation was not dealt with in the foreseeable future. This evaluation included Hong
Kong - if the situation with China was not normal ised before 1997, as well as
Taiwan - if the situation with China was normalised in the foreseeable future.
•
It was decided that South Africa should manage the process to ensure that all
parties concerned were treated with respect and dignity.
Therefore,
the parties
concerned were to be informed about South Africa's intentions at an early date in
order to obtain the best deal possible for South Africa. Timing was crucial.107
The conclusions of the above meeting and the views of the South African foreign policy
establishment
were presented
to the South African cabinet, which considered
r81ated policy option on two occasions.
the
Nevertheless, the final decision and the timing
of the announcement were left to Mandela to decide.108
In the meantime, the PRC was trying to put pressure on the South African government
to make a choice between the two Chinas before Hong Kong reverted to the PRC on
July 1st, 1997. Beijing utilised the Hong Kong issue to influence Pretoria to normalise its
relations with the PRC prior to the looming deadline, so as to protect South Africa's
it:lterests in Hong Kong.
Devoid of formal diplomatic relations with the PRC, South
Africa's Consulate-General
in Hong Kong could have been downgraded to semi-official
status or even closed by the PRC, and SM
renegotiated with Beijing.
flights to Hong Kong would have to be
It was also generally feared that if there were no diplomatic
relations, the PRC might impose duties on South African products entering Hong Kong
and that visa-free entry for South African passport holders would be revoked.
109
If this
undesirable situation happened, South Africa's trade and other ties with Hong Kong
could be adversely affected.
For the PRC, the issue of Hong Kong was a very important showcase in relation to its
strategy of unification and its Taiwan policy. The basis of this so-called Taiwan policy is
"one country, two systems".
11
0
The PRC's "one country" (one China) is the People's
Republic of China, which, according to the PRC's definition,
is the sole legitimate
government representing
the whole of China, including Taiwan.
The PRC's ultimate
goal is to categorically deny the existence of the ROC. Adopting such a strategy, the
PRC used the re-incorporation of Hong Kong, in particular its Basic Law, as a diplomatic
weapon to compel countries that maintained diplomatic relations with the ROC either to
s.cale down these relations or to recognise the PRC instead.
In June 1995, the PRC proclaimed that according to the Basic Law of the new Hong
Kong Special Administrative
Region (as Hong Kong was now termed by the PRC),
Hong Kong's future external relations and its official interactions with Taiwan (ROC)
would have to be approved by Beijing.111 As the hand-over of Hong Kong approached,
the PRC's Hong Kong policy statement greatly increased the pressure on the South
African government to make a decision.
The hand-over was seen as the sword of
Damocles to cut South Africa's diplomatic relations with the ROC. Most South African
government agencies sensed the need to change the RSA's China policy before the
absorption of Hong Kong into the PRC on July 1st, 1997. The then Consul-General
of
the RSA in Hong Kong, Michael Farr, strongly recommended in July 1995 that in order
to safeguard
South African interests in Hong Kong, the South African government
should swiftly resolve the China question.
He pointed out that "negotiations could take
some time and delay could be prejudicial in regard to [South African] trade, landing
rights [for the SAA] and the future of the Consulate.,,112
The then Chairperson
of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs of the National
Assembly, Suttner, made similar arguments after he led a delegation of Members of
Parliament to visit Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong in July 1995.
The delegation's
report concluded that if South Africa continued to maintain diplomatic relations with the
ROC after June 30th, 1997, South Africa's bilateral trade with Hong Kong, the future of
the South African Consulate-General
in Hong Kong, and the SAA landing rights would
be "entirely [at] the discretion of the PRC.,,113 The report also cited Consul-General
Farr's opinion and warned that South Africa would not only have to negotiate the status
of its mission in Hong Kong with the PRC government,
rights in Hong Kong.
but also lose SAA's landing
The report indicated that "as long as South Africa maintains
diplomatic relations with Taiwan, we would be unable to conclude a formal Air Service
Agreement with respect to air service arrangements
between South Africa and Hong
Kong".114 From the above analysis, it was generally believed that the imminent return of
Hong Kong to the PRC on July 1st, 1997 was one of the most important factors which
influenced Mandela's
timing of his announcement
before the deadline of the hand-
over. 115
Under the combined pressure of the ANC-SACP-COSATU
alliance, the South African
parliament, the South African government, academics, the business sector, parastatal
corporations and the PRC, Mandela could no longer ignore the increasing vociferous
clamour for normalisation of relations with the PRC before the return of Hong Kong. In
response to these various sources of pressure, the process for normalising
South
Africa's relations with the PRC was set in motion by Mandela as from July 1995.
Hence, during the period from July 1995 to August 1996 the South African government
sent various delegations to Beijing and Taipei to test the possibility of pursuing "dual
recognition" of the PRC and the ROC. To sound out the PRC's attitude towards "dual
recognition", the delegation from the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs of the South
African National Assembly was sent to visit Beijing and Taipei in July and November
1995, respectively.
resolution
To extert further pressure
in November
1995 requesting
(NEC) to pressure the RSA government
on Mandela,
the ANC's
National
the SACP passed a
Executive
to speed up the normalisation
Committee
of relations
process with the PRC. In December 1995, based on the SACP's resolution, the ANC's
NEC urged
the GNU to send
an official
delegation
to Beijing
to discuss
the
establishment of diplomatic relations with the PRC. Therefore, Mandela sent the then
RSA Foreign Minister Nzo to pay fact-finding visits to Beijing in March 1996 and Taipei
in July 1996 to discuss and assess the feasibility of the "dual recognition" approach.
addition, several fact-finding
In
missions were also conducted by officials of the foreign
policy establishment and NGOs to gather information and examine the possible impact
of the recognition of the PRC.116
Despite Mandela's endeavour to tryout
the feasibility of "dual recognition". Mandela's
personal prestige and his towering international moral status did not help South Africa to
wring any concession from Beijing on the recognition
pursue a "dual recognition"
issue.
The RSA's attempt to
policy met with the PRC's flat rejection.
The PRC
leadership insisted that the PRC regards Taiwan (the ROC) as a province forming an
integral part of China, and that the PRC's declared policy towards Taiwan (the ROC) is
the policy of "One Country, Two Systems".
Therefore, the precondition set by the PRC
was that South Africa must first sever its diplomatic relations with Taiwan (the ROC)
before establishing
diplomatic
ties with the PRC.
Neither "dual recognition"
maintaining the status quo was acceptable to the PRC.
nor
This was made abundantly
clear by the PRC leadership to the July 1995 delegation of the Portfolio Committee on
Foreign Affairs of the RSA National Assembly.
The PRC leadership reiterated in no
uncertain terms the PRC's position that the PRC would not tolerate any deviation from
the concept of "One China", which includes Taiwan.
They emphasised
question of "One China" there can be no compromise.
that on the
They considered attempts to
promote dual recognition to be an interference with the sovereignty of the PRC.
The
South African Parliamentary delegations was told that should any state with which the
PRC has diplomatic relations, establish diplomatic relations with the ROC. the PRC will
(as it has consistently done) sever such relations.
In line with this policy, the PRC
would refuse to establish diplomatic relations with any state which maintains diplomatic
relations with the ROC.117
The same position was reiterated to Nzo in March 1996 when he visited Beijing to
investigate and discuss the normalising relations with the PRC. For this visit, Nzo was
instructed by Mandela to lead a "Presidential delegation" consisting of nine persons
from both the RSA government and Parliament to visit the PRC on his behalf.
This
delegation met the political leadership of the PRC at the highest level, including the
President and Secretary-General
of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Jiang Zemin;
Li Peng, the Premier;
Qian Qichen, the Vice-Premier
and Foreign
Minister;
Madame Wu Yi, the Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation.
President, Jiang Zemin, emphatically
stated in the high-level
and
The PRC
meeting that the PRC
would never accept "dual recognition" or foreign mediation for the PRC-ROC
dispute,
which the PRC considered an internal matter. He stressed that the PRC would not like
to see South Africa, in particular Mandela with his high international profile, endeavour
to set a precedent in this regard.
The PRC leadership reminded Nzo and the other
members of the Presidential delegation that while the PRC had given support to the
liberation struggle, Taiwan (the ROC) had supported the white racist regime.118
Apart from the above-indicated
PRC position and conditions for establishing diplomatic
relations, the PRC leadership also raised the Hong Kong issue during the meeting,
emphasising that South Africa should bear in mind that, as the sovereignty of Hong
Kong would revert to the PRC after July 1st, 1997, Hong Kong's foreign affairs and
defence would be under Beijing's control. Furthermore, the prospect of the PRC's huge
market, the PRC's intention of granting Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment to the
RSA and the UN issue were used as incentives to induce South Africa to facilitate the
normalisation of relations during the PRC-RSA
bilateral high-level meeting in Beijing.
The RSA Presidential delegation was advised by the PRC leadership to take a longterm view of relations with the PRC. It was pointed out that good relations with the PRC
were indispensable if South Africa wished to maintain its economic interests in the PRC
and Hong Kong. The Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation, Madame
Wu Vi, expressed the PRC government's wish to sign the Exchange of Notes for the
granting of MFN trade status with the RSA during her attendance of the United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in South Africa in April 1996.
She
envisioned that within the next fifteen years, valuable opportunities for the development
of trade and joint ventures between the PRC and South Africa would arise.
promised that the PRC would provide aid to South Africa after the establishment
diplomatic relations.
She confirmed that the PRC was well prepared to do
SO.119
She
of
Although Nzo's two post-visit reports were never made public, and neither report made
any concrete recommendations,
unequivocal
somehow between the lines, the reports concealed an
message inferring that since "dual recognition"
was not acceptable
to
Beijing, the severance of diplomatic ties with the ROC would be inevitable.12o
In the meantime,
the PRC continued to use various means available, including Madame
Wu Vi's visit to South Africa, the imminent hand-over of Hong Kong as well as a
propaganda
blitz to push
South
Africa's
hand for recognition.
Wu
arrived
in
Johannesburg in April 1996 and left South Africa in May 1996. The main purpose of her
visit was to attend the UNCTAD Conference, which was held in Midrand, just outside
Johannesburg, from April 26th to May 11th, 1996. During her stay in South Africa, she
was skilful enough to use the opportunity her visit presented to press the South African
political leadership to speed up the normalisation process.
She not only succeeded in
signing of the Exchange of Notes for the granting of MFN trade status with Alec Erwin,
the RSA Minister of Trade and Industry, but she also met with Mandela on April 30th,
1-996 to discuss the normalisation of bilateral ties. She managed to gain the support of
the South African political and business communities and highlight the need for South
Africa to expedite the establishment
of diplomatic relations with the PRC so as to
safeguard the RSA's greater national interests.
A growing consensus on the need for
the normalisation of relations was thus whipped up in the South African media by Wu's
visit.121
As a result of Wu's successful diplomatic manoeuvre, Mandela gave assurances to her
during their meeting at Mahalamba-Ndlopfu,
Pretoria, that as "dual recognition" was not
possible, South Africa would downscale its relations with Taiwan (the ROC) in order to
establish diplomatic
forthcoming
relations with China (the PRC).
Mandela indicated that Nzo's
visit to Taipei was aimed at seeking agreement with, and explaining to
Taiwan that recognition of the PRC was inevitable and could not be avoided.
this, Mandela
also honestly
told her that the overwhelming
majority
Despite
of the ANC
leadership demanded recognition of the PRC, and that he was the only one that was
cautious.122
From Mandela's remarks it was apparent that the issue of recognition had
reached the final decision point by the end of April 1996.
determined
to establish
diplomatic
Mandela seemed to be
relations with the PRC, but no time-frame
was
mentioned.
To add a greater sense of urgency, the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing,
through its Assistant Foreign Minister, Ji Peiding, also echoed Wu's demands.
2ih,
On April
1996, Ji issued a veiled warning to South Africa pertaining" to the future of the
South African Consulate-General
in Hong Kong.
Ji stated that as the deadline was
approaching, diplomatic notes had already been sent to 30 countries, including South
Africa, which maintained diplomatic relations with Taiwan (the ROC) to the effect that
without establishing diplomatic relations with the PRC, the Hong Kong missions of these
~O countries would be allowed to continue only on a semi-official basis.123
In order to exert further pressure on the RSA, the PRC aired its message of displeasure
and impatience as well.
In May 1996, the PRC President Jiang Zemin, intentionally
omitted South Africa from his tour of Africa.
At the same time, the PRC authorities
released the news of various economic co-operation
projects, including the so-called
Dragon City complex, to the South African media with a view of inducing the South
African general public to believe that by establishing diplomatic ties with Beijing, South
Africa would greatly benefit from the immense economic
investment from mainland
China. The so-called Dragon City complex has not materialised to date. According to
the PRC's propaganda, this project alone would create 500,000 new jobs and would
inject USA$18 billion into South Africa.
124
The tightening of the PRC's screws, coupled with its successful manoeuvring
of the
various means at its disposal, meant that the ROC had, more or less, lost its diplomatic
+
war in South Africa by September 1996.
The fate of ROC-RSA
diplomatic ties was
almost decided, pending the official announcement.
The ROC government was deeply worried about the damaging effects of Nzo's post-trip
reports and the growing consensus in South Africa on the need for normalising relations
with the PRC. In order to save the collapsing ROC-RSA diplomatic relations, the ROC
rd
sent Vice Premier Hsu Li-teh to visit South Africa from August 26th to September 3
,
1996 pledging to offer more trade, investment, economic aid programmes and various
co-operation projects including a proposal for a USA$3.5 billion petro-chemical complex
joint venture in the Eastern Cape. Although Mandela publicly repeated his assurances
that he would not break off diplomatic ties with the ROC, Hsu did not succeed in
salvaging the faltering ROC-RSA
relations.
The die had already been cast.
Mandela
wanted formal ties with the PRC, but not at the expense of Pretoria's long-time political
and economic ties with the ROC.
However the reports of the fact-finding
clearly reflected that there was no way Mandela
missions
could achieve "dual recognition".
Mandela decided to follow the international major powers in establishing diplomatic ties
with Beijing rather than Taipei.
On November
2ih,
1996 at 4:00 p.m., Mandela announced at a press conference that
South Africa had decided to cut diplomatic
diplomatic
ties with the ROC and establish
relations with the PRC as from January
1st, 1998.
He declared
full
that
diplomatic relations with the ROC would be severed at the end of December 1997, but
that the RSA would continue to maintain other relations with the ROC.125
The explanation for cancelling diplomatic ties with the ROC, according to Mandela's
statement, was due to the following consideration:
In its international relations, South Africa has become an active participant
within the Organisation
Movement
[NAMl,
of African
Unity [OAUl and the Non-Aligned
as well as within the UN system.
A permanent
continuation of diplomatic recognition of the Republic of China on Taiwan
is inconsistent with South Africa's role in international affairs.126
Judging from the above explanation, it was apparent that South Africa's aspirations to
playa prominent role in international multi-lateral forums, such as the SADC, the OAU,
the G77, the Commonwealth,
the NAM and the UN, in particular South Africa's interest
in seeking candidacy for the UN Security Council, was one of the important factors for
Mandela to switch recognition.
There is no denying that the democratic South Africa
has always been keen to see the UN Security Council transformed into a relatively more
democratic
and representative
organisation,
even though South Africa has not yet
decided whether it would pursue its own permanent seat on an expanded UN Security
Council.
The statement made by the Director-General
of the RSA's Department of
Foreign Affairs, Sipho Pityana, on July 24th, 2000, is proof of this policy.
Pityana
publicly confirmed that South Africa supported Africa's demand for two permanent seats
on the Security Council, and that the UN section of the South African Department of
Foreign Affairs had proposed that South Africa should campaign for a seat.127 As the
PRC is one of the Big Five which continue to dominate the UN with veto power, without
the PRC's blessing, South Africa's dream of a permanent seat would remain elusive as
long as the RSA retained its diplomatic ties with the ROC.
heavily on Mandela's decision.
This probably weighed
During the press conference Mandela admitted that:
"We tried to urge that [dual recognition] , but the People's Republic of China made it
clear that they will not tolerate that; and it is impossible to move forward on the basis of
dual recognition.,,128
To sum up, Mandela's
public admission indicated that the afore-mentioned
factors,
including the return of Hong Kong, the UN issue, the need for South Africa to be in line
with the international
trend, the PRC's rejection of "dual recognition"
as well as the
various other sources of pressure analysed in this chapter, caused his volte-face.
so, Mandela was appreciative
of the ROC's assistance.
Even
He had done his best to
prolong the maintenance of the status quo and tried to pursue "dual recognition", but
~ithout any success. In the end, Mandela chose
his home in Johannesburg,
to announce the decision himself at
which is next to the official residence of the ROC Consul-
General (the first embodiment
of ROC presence in South Africa), rather than in the
President's Office or the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pretoria.
The curtain fell on
ROC-RSA diplomatic relations in a unique way, just as the relationship commenced in
a unique historical era of both countries.
It was evident that Mandela was reluctant to hurt the feelings of the ROC government
and its people and tried to part with the ROC as graciously as possible.
He announced
that the severance would take effect on January 1st, 1998. In giving a one-year notice,
Mandela apparently intended to provide ample time for the two sides to work out a
mutually acceptable formula for future interaction and resolve the practical problems as
well. On March 6th, 1997, in Singapore, Mandela frankly revealed that by doing so "we
have given them [the ROC] enough time for us to say thank you for what you have
done".129 He further indicated that "the specific nature in which both [countries] relations
will be structured
will be dealt with of course by the experts and to the mutual
satisfaction of both countries.,,13o Mandela's personal revelation in Singapore partially
explained why he chose as early as November 2ih,
1996 to announce the termination
of diplomatic ties with the ROC as from January 1st, 1998. However, as analysed in the
preceding part of this chapter, the looming deadline of Hong Kong's return to the PRC
on July 1st, 1997 must have been an important consideration
announcement.
There was also speculation that the timing was designed to relieve
Mandela's successor,
before Mandela's
for the timing of the
Mbeki, from the burden of the controversial
retirement
two Chinas issue
in 1999, and that the one-year transition
was in part
intended to put the PRC under pressure to make up for the loss Pretoria had sustained
~s a result of its severance of diplomatic ties with the ROC.131
Although South Africa's change of relations with the ROC was long-expected, the ROC
government and people, and certain sectors of the South African general public were
caught off-guard by Mandela's announcement.
In its editorial, the South African daily
newspaper,. The Citizen, declared that "the sudden decision to reverse this stance came
as a bombshell.,,132
Before making the announcement,
Mandela
did not consult or give any advance
warning to the ROC government, the South African Parliament or his own cabinet and
the Department of Foreign Affairs.
As a matter of fact, only three months beforehand,
on August 26th, 1996, Mandela still assured the then ROC Vice-Premier
Hsu Li-teh
during his visit to South Africa, that it would be "immoral" for him to break diplomatic ties
with the ROC in favour of the PRC.133 The ROC Ambassador, I-cheng Loh, received
only 24 hours notice of the decision.134. South Africa's Ambassador in Taipei, Johannes
Viljoen, was told by phone, ten minutes before the announcement.135 The ROC
Ambassador was verbally informed of the impending announcement by Mandela on the
morning of November 26th, 1996, and the Director of the Chinese Centre for South
African Studies in Pretoria, Gu Xin-er, was told during lunch time later that day.136 At
1.:00 p.m. in the afternoon, the ROC Ambassador hastily requested Mandela to cancel
the scheduled media conference, but Mandela told the ROC Ambassador that he was
determined to go ahead with his announcement at the next day's press conference.137.
The sudden switch surprised both Loh and Gu. The ROC Ambassador was dismayed
at the bad news, and he immediately made an urgent report to the authorities in Taipei.
~ut Gu, as the representative
of the PRC, was delighted by this decision.
Gu stated
that "the establishment of diplomatic relations is in the interests of both our peoples and
we welcome it".138
In South Africa, Mandela's announcement
political parties and opinion makers.
aroused divergent reactions among various
The responses basically depended on the extent
of the historical links and the closeness of friendship between certain political parties or
opinion makers and the ROC. Those who had close links with the ROC, such as the
leaders of the NP, the FF and the IFP were outraged by Mandela's sudden reversal of
recognition.
the decision.
condemning
The rank and file of the ANC-SACP-COSATU
Shortly after the announcement,
the decision.
tripartite alliance welcomed
De Klerk issued a press statement
He strongly criticised the way that this matter had been
handled, and he stated that it was a seri,ous issue to break diplomatic ties with any
country.
Furthermore,
De Klerk asserted that the ROC was a good friend of South
Africa and had done nothing wrong, therefore a satisfactory solution, instead of breaking
ties, should have been found for this issue.
De Klerk was also critical of the fact that
Mandela did not discuss this important diplomatic issue beforehand with him as leader
of the then official opposition.
De Klerk perceived that this could be seen as a further
proof of the growing influence of the SACP on the national government policy.139
The IFP Secretary-General,
Ziba Jiyane, expressed shock and dismay at Mandela's
In an IFP statement, issued on November 28th, 1996, Jiyane lamented
announcement.
that "South Africa's decision to pander to Communist China's insistence that it sever
diplomatic recognition with Taiwan before establishing diplomatic ties with that country
compromises
appalling
South Africa's
integrity and political morality, given mainland
human rights record, and heavy investment
by Taiwan
China's
in South Africa,
particularly during its transition to democracy.,,140
The FF Chief Spokesman
on Foreign Affairs, Pieter Mulder, blasted Mandela in a
statement issued on November 28th, 1996, for the haste and lack of consultation with
the Parliamentary
particularly
Portfolio Committee on the sudden change of policy.
unhappy
about the fact that Mandela
personally
Mulder was
gave the ROC Vice
Premier, Hsu Li-teh, assurances that diplomatic ties would not be severed, yet soon
after this, Mandela broke his word. Mulder said that "nobody can now blame the ROC if
the promised development projects are cancelled to the disadvantage
of South Africa
and causing the loss of numerous job opportunities.,,141
The Democratic
opinion
Party (DP) Spokesman for Foreign Affairs, Colin Eglin, was of the
that, given
international
political
realities
and South
Africa's
longer-term
economic interests combined with the Hong Kong factor, diplomatic ties with the PRC
were inevitable.
However, the DP felt that the RSA government should do its utmost to
ensure that, despite the new diplomatic circumstances, economic and social relations
with the ROC would remain friendly and co-operative.142
The South African press commentaries were mostly in favour of the change of relations
with the ROC, in particular the predominantly
pro-government
black newspapers such
as The Sowetan and The New Nation. The politically more independent liberal English
newspapers such as The Star, The Pretoria News, Business Day, Natal Mercury and
The Daily News generally expressed their support and gave their qualified backing to
the switch of recognition.
Most of these newspapers were of the view that for South
Africa's national interests, it was necessary to take this political move, even though
some of them criticised the timing and the way the decision was made as well as the
manner in which the announcement was handled. The Star in its editorial made the
most notable exemplary comments on November 29th, 1996:
At last South Africa has resolved its China policy.... The immense growth
potential of the PRC's market and its political clout as a permanent
member of the UN Security Council have persuaded all the major
countries to recognise it at the expense of the ROC. In its own national
interests, South Africa had very little choice but to follow SUit.143
The majority of South Africa's political analysts were of the same opinion and praised
the choice of the PRC as the sensible one.144 Only a few relatively conservative
newspapers, such as The Citizen and The Natal Witness were against bowing to
pressure from the PRC. The Citizen slammed Nzo and Pahad, accusing them of
causing a diplomatic debacle.145The Natal Witness felt so strongly about South Africa's
submission to the PRC's demands that it pointed out that "only self-delusion could
prevent us from seeing that kow-towing to a totalitarian state at the expense of a
democracy makes a mockery of our moral stance.,,146
For the Taiwanese community in South Africa, Pretoria's decision to switch diplomatic
recognition sparked fears of uncertainty and profound indignation.
Most of the
Taiwanese investors were jittery over the RSA's change of relations with Taipei and
were nervous about the future of their investments in South Africa. In January 1997,
about 280 Taiwanese firms which were affiliated to the Association of Chinese (ROC)
Industrialists in southern Africa temporarily closed their factories and ceased their
trading to protest against Pretoria's plan to downgrade its relations with the ROC, and to
urge the two governments to maintain a high level of relations in the future after
negotiations.147 As Taiwanese investments and RDP assistance in South Africa were
part of the vested interests that the RSA wanted to retain during the upcoming bilateral
negotiations, the South African government was deeply worried that the protest might
turn into a full-scale disinvestment campaign if the ROC government called for
sanctions or retaliation.
But the ROC government had no intention to do that. There
was no rash response on the part of the ROC government.
En route to Malawi and
Swaziland, the then ROC Minister of Foreign Affairs, John H. Chang (an illegitimate
grandchild of Chiang Kai-shek), assured the South African general public on January
14th, 1997, that the ROC government would not call for an investor pullout from South
Africa.
However he cautioned that Pretoria would need to offer the ROC government
sufficient representation in South Africa, so as to ensure Taiwanese business interests
were protected, otherwise "they will depart [by themselves] if they do not feel safe".148
The RSA government
was greatly relieved to learn of the rational and pragmatic
reaction from the ROC government.149
In Taiwan, the ROC government and public were stunned by Mandela's announcement.
Although it was not totally unexpected, most of the Taiwanese people were surprised to
hear Mandela's sudden decision, because only three months earlier Mandela personally
gave categorical
assurances to the ROC Vice Premier that South Africa would not
switch recognition.
announcement,
Therefore,
it was quite understandable
the ROC government
that after Mandela's
and people were deeply disappointed.
They
experienced once again a rather rude awakening to the world's harsh political reality
and the PRC's unrelenting diplomatic onslaught.
South Africa's turnabout on diplomatic
ties dealt a stinging blow to the ROC's diplomacy in the African continent.
South Africa
was the largest of the 30 countries that recognised the ROC at that time, and South
Africa was also the most powerful country in the sub-Sahara
region.
The loss of
diplomatic ties with the regional power was perceived as a painful blow to the ROC on
the African diplomatic battlefront.15o
Pent-up anger and deep disappointment prevailed in the ROC. The ROC government
immediately called in the South African Ambassador in Taipei and instructed the ROC
Embassy in Pretoria to lodge a strong protest against "this unfriendly decision on the
part of the government of the Republic of South Africa,,151. In the meantime, the ROC
Vice President and Premier, Lien Chan, issued an official statement on November 28th,
1996 to berate the PRC for the use of "underhand tactic[s] to undermine the ROC's
diplomatic relations" and also to urge the RSA to "carefully reconsider all decisions
pertaining to this policy decision.,,152
Despite
being
deeply
shocked
by Mandela's
surprise
announcement,
the
ROC
government was not angry with him. The anger was directed at Beijing, which imposes
diplomatic isolation upon the island state. The ROC government still clung to a glimmer
of hope that Mandela, with his magic of moral force, might be able to face-down the
hard-liners in his own camp and rescue the sinking relationship from rupture.153
In an attempt to save ROC-RSA
diplomatic ties, the then ROC Minister of Foreign
Affairs, John H. Chang, visited South Africa during December 3rd_ih, 1996, to negotiate
the retention of the official relationship
relationship.
for ROC-RSA
future
During his visit to South Africa, Chang held talks with Mandela and Nzo on
December 4th and 5th, respectively.
his decision.
and the arrangements
However, despite Chang's appeal, Mandela upheld
Except for Mandela's expressed statement to maintain relations with the
ROC at the highest level of representation short of full diplomatic recognition, the South
African government refused to make any concession to the ROC's proposals, including
the retention of the three Consulates-General
in Johannesburg,
Durban and Cape
Town; the use of the name Republic of China in the designations of the future missions;
and the use of the ROC flag and national emblems.154 Chang was so upset that, after
his meeting with Nzo on December 5th, 1996, he announced at the Diplomatic Guest
House in Pretoria, the immediate suspension of all ongoing development
assistance
programmes and the 36 bilateral treaties and agreements
Service Agreement
in force, including the Air
on the direct flight between Taipei and Johannesburg.155 The
immediate suspension affected not only the direct air links between the two countries,
but also the progressive USA$40 million Vocational Training Centre in Pretoria West.156
Apart from the cancellation of the ongoing co-operation projects, Taipei was reluctant to
provide new economic aid or soft loans to South Africa. However, trade and investment
remained largely unaffected.
After Chang's departure, the two sides decided to leave
the task of negotiating a new formula of future relations to their officials in the RSA
Department of Foreign Affairs and the ROC Embassy in Pretoria.157
From December 3rd, 1996 to the end of December 1997, the governments of the ROC
and the RSA held seventeen rounds of talks (four rounds of high-level talks and thirteen
rounds of working-level negotiations) to work out a mutually acceptable mechanism for
the bilateral future relations.
Among these talks, four rounds were conducted between
their deputy foreign ministers or foreign ministers and thirteen rounds of talks were held
between the working level officials, led by Ambassador Loh and the appointed special
committee of the RSA Department of Foreign Affairs.158
In the meantime, the South African negotiation team, headed by Pahad, and the PRC
delegation
under the leadership
of its Assistant
engaged in three rounds of negotiations
Embassy's
confidential
Foreign Minister,
during this period.
Ji Peiding, also
According to the ROC
report, the negotiation
process with the two Chinas was
overseen by the then Deputy President, Mbeki, not Mandela or NZO.159 As Mbeki has
aiways been keen to develop solidarity and strategic partnership with the PRC, the
South African negotiation team submitted to all the demands imposed by the PRC
without any objection, with the exception of Beijing's request that ROC properties in
South Africa be handed over.160
By the beginning of October 1997, the PRC and the RSA had already decided on the
fundamental
framework
for future ROC-RSA
relations for the ROC.
Communique
between
the RSA government
and the PRC government
Establishment
of Diplomatic
Relations",
it has been
clearly
In the Joint
stipulated
on "The
that "the
government of the Republic of South Africa recognises that there is but one China in the
world, the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government
representing
the whole of China and recognises China's position that Taiwan is an
unalienable part of China.,,161. By accepting the PRC's "One China" clause, South
Africa has legally recognised that the ROC (Taiwan) is a province of the PRC.
Many
countries desisted from doing so by avoiding recognition of the PRC's claim to Taiwan.
For instance, the United States only "acknowledges"
the PRC's position, and Japan
"understands and respects" that position without agreeing to it.162
Moreover, in section 1 of the Memorandum of Understanding
of the RSA and the government
between the government
of the PRC on the Establishment
of Diplomatic
Relations, it prescribed that South Africa will not only "sever its diplomatic relations with
Taiwan" but also "abrogate all intergovernmental treaties or agreements" as from
January 1st, 1998.163 Section 2 of the Memorandum, prohibits South Africa after
January 1st, 1998, from maintaining any form of official relations or conduct official
exchanges with Taiwan (the ROC). It stipulates:
After the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Africa and
China, the South African government shall no longer maintain any form of
official relations or conduct official exchanges with the Taiwan authorities.
Taiwan's non-governmental
agencies in South Africa shall not have any
official functions, nor shall they engage in any official activities or use any
designations
that may imply "two Chinas",
"one China, one Taiwan"
including the display of [the] so-called "national flag", national emblem"
and other signs.164
To rub salt into the wound, on January 28th, 1998, Nzo, at the request of the PRC, sent
an official circular letter to ban official visits by ministers and premiers of the RSA to
Taiwan, and restrict the access of the ROC diplomats to the South African government.
South African ministers, premiers and officials were advised not to attend any official
ROC functions.165 With the above-mentioned restrictions in place, the PRC had
succeeded in curbing the scope of ROC-RSA future relations.
This was a mockery of
Mandela's promise that the RSA's future relations with Taiwan would be "the highest
level of relations short of diplomatic recognition.,,166
In spite of the harsh treatment meted out by South Africa to its former diplomatic ally,
the ROC government did not have much choice but to opt for pragmatism and accept
the new arrangements of relationship with South Africa.
too important to be left without any relations at all.
To the ROC, South Africa is
Strategically,
pivotal regional power and a gateway to the African continent.
South Africa is a
Economically,
South
Africa is not only the ROC's largest trading partner in the whole of Africa, but also an
important fishing base for the ROC's fishing vessels to operate in the Atlantic Ocean
and the Indian Ocean. The ROC needed to protect its investments in South Africa and
preserve its interests in the fisheries.
In addition, there are other diverse interests which
c~nnot be wished away.
Therefore, in the end, the ROC government settled for pragmatic diplomacy and agreed
to maintain substantive relations with South Africa.
The ROC realised that it had to
change relations with the RSA for the sake of protecting the mutual interests of the two
countries.
The focus of the ROC's policy also changed as from 1998.
The ROC's
future relations with South Africa will be determined more by economic interest and
market forces, rather than political motivation and special diplomatic consideration.167
In line with this pragmatic policy, the ROC and the RSA eventually agreed to pursue a
practical modus vivendi for their future relations as of the end of December 1997. The
two sides reached an agreement by December 1997 that from January 1st, 1998, the
previous ROC Embassy in Pretoria and its three Consulates-General
would be changed
into the "Taipei Liaison Office in the Republic of South Africa" and the "Taipei Liaison
Offices in Johannesburg,
Cape Town and Durban" respectively.
The previous South
African Embassy in Taipei would be known as the "Liaison Office of South Africa". All of
these are located in the same premises as before. The Head of the respective South
African and Taipei Liaison Offices shall bear the title of "Representative";
Head of the Taipei Liaison Offices in Johannesburg,
called "Director-General".
the respective
Cape Town and Durban shall be
Although the accredited representatives
and offices are not
allowed to fly their respective national flags and use the designation of the ROC, they
are accorded diplomatic
privileges and immunities on a reciprocal basis.168
In real
practice, the functions of these offices are more flexible than the prescribed official
nature specifies, although this is done discreetly, as it has been pursued by many
countries, including the USA, France, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Turkey,
Sweden, Russia, Thailand and Australia.169
From the aforesaid,
it is evident that both the ROC and the RSA followed a very
pragmatic approach to deal with each other while affording no de jure recognition to the
ether entity. The long-standing official links between the ROC and the RSA came to an
end on December 31st, 1997.
The ROC flag was lowered at the ROC Embassy in
Pretoria on January 1st, 1998, and the ROC Embassy was renamed the Taipei Liaison
Office.
Since the archives of ROC-RSA
classified as confidential
substantive
relations after 1998 are still
and politically highly sensitive, the details of the historical
qevelopment of ROC-RSA relations after 1998 will be left to future scholars to pursue.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
32.
33.
34.
South Africa Yearbook 1995, p.39.
Ibid., p.45.
T. Mbeki, "South Africa's International Relations: Today and Tomorrow" in Mills (ed.), From Pariah to
Participant, p.204.
Hansard, May 2P', 1994, Vol.1, Cols. 216-218.
Ibid., August 8th, 1994, Vol.1, Col. 916.
South Africa Yearbook 1995, pp.161-163.
Hansard, August 8th, 1994, Vol.1, Col. 913.
South Africa Yearbook 1995, p.164.
Hansard' (Interpellations, Questions and Replies 1995.),March 15th, 1995, Vo1.7,Col. 112.
R Suttner, "Dilemmas of South African Foreign Policy: The Question of China", in SAIIA (ed.), So.u1b
Africa and the Two Chinas Dilemma, p.7.
H. Chiu, "The Koo-Wang Talks and the Prospect of Building Constructive and Stable Relations
Across the Taiwan Straits" in Issues & Studies, Vol. 29, No.8, August 1993, p.10.
The Economist, September 23rd, 1995, p.124.
M. Havenga, "The Dilemma of the Two Chinas: An Economic Perspective", in SAIIA (ed.), So.u1b
Africa and the Two Chinas Dilemma, p.42.
Ibid., p.34.
Mills, "The case for exclusive recognition", in SAIIA (ed.), South Africa and the TWOChinas Dilemma,
p.97.
MOFA, n:g¥l&1!fjf:
f:tnfJIi~Hnn:g1Ti&(Report
on Foreign Affairs: Foreign Relations and the
Administration of Foreign Affairs), Dec. 1992, pp.38-39.
The Republic of China Yearbook 1996, p.133.
F.F. Chien, "Analysis of Pragmatic Diplomacy" in DA Mica & J.T. Emerson (eds.), Opportunity and
Challenge' A Collection of Statements, Interviews and personal profiles of Dr Fredrick F Chien,
pp.29-30.
Institute of Chinese Communist Studies, cfJ#1f.¥I&1997 (Yearbook on Chinese Communism 1997:
19961-199612), pp.2-29; Geldenhuys, "The Politics of South Africa's 'China Switch'" in Issues &
Studies, Vol. 33, No.7, July 1997, pp.99-100.
The ROC Government Information Office, ROC Foreign Affairs Report, p.6.
RL. Grant, "An International Opinion on the Recognition Issue" in SAIIA (ed.), South Africa and the
Two Chinas Dilemma, pp.13-14.
The PRC Foreign Minister Qian Qichen to the South African Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee,
July 4th, 1995. Quoted in Business Day, JUly 5th, 1995, p.2 (SA gets Chinese geography lesson).
Lien Chan, "A Pragmatic Strategy for China's Peaceful Reunification" in the ROC Government
Information Office (ed.), Giving Peace a Chance, pp.10-11.
Mills, ·South Africa and Asia: New Opportunities, Lessons and Dilemmas" in W. Carlsnaes & M.
Muller (eds.), Change and South African External Relations, p.204.
Nel & McGowan (eds.), Power, Wealth and Global Order, pp.212-213.
Ibid., p.213.
F.W. de K1erk,The Last Trek - A New Beginning: The Autobiography, p.344.
Hansard, January 15th to November P', 1996, Vol. 10, Col. 304.
Ibid., Col. 3162.
Ibid., Col. 3163.
R Wilson, "Solving Tricky Chinese Puzzle" in Look East, p.27.
See Address of Comrade Nelson Mandela at His Investiture as Doctor of Law, Soochow University,
Taiwan, July 1993, p.2, kept in MOFA's Archives, Taipei.
Nel & McGowan (eds.), Power, Wealth and Global Order, p.213.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: Conclusion of the RSA Heads of Mission Conference: September 4th_8th,
1995, Pretoria, Workshop 4: A strategic perspective of South Africa and Africa - Priorities and Vision
for the future.
35.
36.
37.
38.
39.
40.
41.
42.
43.
44.
45.
46.
47.
48.
49.
50.
51.
Ibid.
Ibid.
MOFA, i'Bt¥IH!:ril (The Report on Foreign Affairs), December 1992, p.56. As the ROC Government
was greatly angered by South Korea's overnight de-recognition of the ROC, the ROC Government
retaliated by cancelling the preferential trade treatments that it accorded to South Korea and
suspending the direct flights between the two countries.
TLO Archives, Pretoria:
(Fredrick F. Chien), Wirc~i¥i~FJH[Jm~~
(Report on the Visit to the
RSA), January 28th, 1991, p.2.
Ibid., p.4.
Ibid., a$~~i¥i~Fjgit~~~~*eJ!
(The Discussion Points of the Meeting between Minister
Fredrick F. Chien and Minister R.F. Botha), January 22nd, 1981, p.2.
Ibid., Minister of the ROC Foreign Minister Fredrick F. Chien's Discussion with the RSA Ambassador
to the ROC, A. Harvey, Taipei, May 24th, 1991, p.5.
Ibid., MOFA, tp3EI»1{*~~
(Aide-memoire of ROC-RSA Relations), No. 80314565, June 6th, 1991,
pp.1-2.
Geldenhuys, "The Politics of South Africa's 'China Switch'", p.96.
Nel & McGowan (eds.), power, Wealth and Global Order, p.213.
Freedom News, Taipei, July 30th, 1993 (~{!t!L~Wia, :1~HI5tlH&mitffll~I Mandela's Visit to
Taiwan - Head of State's Treatment).
N. Mandela's remarks at the press conference held on August 2nd, 1993, at the Grand Hotel, Taipei.
1d
See
(Taiwan Shin-Sheng News), August 3 , 1993 (~{!w::*.Wirc~iE~m~15I»1{*§ff
][ I Mandela: His Visit to the ROC opens a new chapter in ROC-RSA bilateral relations). Also see
The Citizen, August 31d, 1993 (Mandela: New ANe-ROC chapter opened).
Ibid.
Press Release of the Embassy of the Republic of China, Pretoria, August 31d, 1993, pp.1-2.
The Citizen, August 31d, 1993 (Mandela: New ANC-ROC chapter opened).
MOFA, Reference Documents Regarding President Lee's Visit to the RSA and Swaziland, April 1994,
p.13. See also The Citizen, August 4th, 1993 (ANC 'got R33 million from ROC). Also see Business
Day, August 2nd, 1993 (Mandela Taipei visit 'successful)
TLO Archives, Pretoria: ANC ±Jm~{!t!L-rrID'5.~
(ANC President Mandela's visit to the ROC),
Minutes of Discussions between Mandela and President Lee Teng-hui as well as Premier Lien Chan,
atl
aU~m
p.4.
52.
53.
54.
55.
56.
57.
58.
59.
60.
61.
62.
63.
64.
65.
N. Mandela's remarks made in a press conference in Taipei on July 30th, 1993. See China post, July
31st, 1993 (Beijing links stay: Mandela)
A. Pahad's remarks made at the conference on "China entry into the WTQ-Implications
for South
African Business· held at the Hyatt Hotel, Rosebank, Johannesburg on May 30th, 2000.
Geldenhuys, "The Politics of South Africa's 'China Switch'", p.102.
China post, July 31st, 1993 (Beijing links stay: Mandela).
Personal interviews and discussions with Jabu Ngcobo, General Secretary of the SACTWU; Ellias
Banda, National Organiser of SACTWU; and P. Ngcobo, KZN Regional Secretary of COSATU, in
Durban in 1995. A similar attitude was reflected by Obed Mlaba, ANC member and Mayor of Durban
Metropolitan Council. Also see Mandela's letter conveyed to the PRC leadership, SAPA-Reuters
News Report, August 18th, 1993 (S. Africa-ehina).
China post, July 31st, 1993 (Beijing links stay: Mandela).
Geldenhuys, "The Politics of South Africa's 'China Switch'", p.96.
Ibid.; also see Nel & McGowan, power, Wealth and Global Order, p.123.
For a detailed description of Mandela's fundraising for the ANC, see Mills, "South African Foreign
Policy After Mandela" in South African Yearbook of International Affairs 1999/2000, August 1999, p.6.
The revelation was made by the ROC Ambassador, I-cheng Loh, in a closed-door co-ordination
meeting at the ROC Embassy, Pretoria, on September 30th, 1996.
China post, August 31d, 1993 (Mandela: relations enter 'new chapter)
Ibid.
Geldenhuys, "The Politics of South Africa's 'China Switch'", pp.96-97.
nd
Central Daily News, August 2 , 1993 (!f{!t!L~~.~: tl~~F?JfI~~a*~{'F, ~15I»1{*~f&~~N
[Mandela declared: If the ROC co-operates with the ANC, the prospect of the development of ROe-
66.
67.
68.
69.
70.
71.
72.
73.
74.
75.
76.
77.
78.
79.
80.
81.
82.
83.
84.
85.
86.
87.
88.
89.
90.
91.
92.
93.
94.
95.
96.
97.
98.
99.
100.
RSA will be unlimited»; Independent Morning News, August 2nd, 1993, editorial, (IBii~f{f~{!1iLVJ.
~gf!i [To perceive the visit of Mandela in a correct way». In the editorial, it was clearly reported that
"the ROC Government and people did earnestly expect Mandela's visit to be conducive to the
continuance of ROC -RSA [diplomatic] relations: (See 3rd paragraph ofthe editorial, lines 1-2).
D. Aikman, Great Souls, pp.122-123.
pretoria News, August 18th,1993 (ANC assures Taiwan ofties).
Ibid.; see also SAPA-Reuters' report from Beijing, August 18th,1993 (S. Africa-China).
Ibid.
Business Day, August 19th,1993 (Snags emerge over ANC -Taiwan links).
The Department of International Affairs ofthe ANC, Summit on Foreign policy' For a New Democratic
South Africa, October 3rd, 1993, Johannesburg, pp.1-7.
Ibid., p.17.
TLO Archives, Durban: The ROC Consulate-General's telex No. DN091, April 9th,1994, p.9.
Ibid.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: The ROC Embassy's telex No. SA941, September 1993, p.13.
Ibid.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: tp~!B1f*: - fL fL E.~ 5t 11~
11 (ROC -RSA Relations, JanuaryDecember 1995); the ROC Embassy's telex, No. 377, July 19th,1995, pp.1-2.
Ibid.
The Citizen, February 1st, 1995 (No reason for SA to cut ROC ties: Nzo).
Ibid.
Hansard, August 8th,1994, Vol.1, col. 924.
Ibid., col. 925.
Ibid., col. 926.
R. Suttner, "Dilemmas of South African Foreign Policy: The Question of China", in SArrA (ed.), so..utb
Africa and the Two Chinas Dilemma, p.9.
Ibid.
Mills, "The Case for Exclusive Recognition", pp.96-97.
Nel & McGowan, Power, wealth and Global Order, p.210. Also see W. Breytenbach, "The Chinese
Dilemma: Dual Recognition is the Ultimate Solution" in The South African Journal of International
Affairs, Vol. 2, No.1, 1994, p.5.
Mills, "The Case for Exclusive Recognition", p.87.
A.B. Nzo, Report on visit to the Republic of China on Taiwan by a Presidential Delegation of the RSA,
June 30thto July 2nd, 1996, p.3 (Diplomatic relations: South Africa, the People'S Republic of China and
Taiwan). The report is collected in the TLO Archives, Pretoria: J~U'5i-~?tVJgm~j¥~ (The RSA
Foreign Minister: Alfred Nzo's visits to the two sides of the Taiwan Straits), ROC Embassy's dispatch,
No. 273, July 8th,1996.
The Economist Group, The Wodd in 1997, p.64.
Mainland Affairs Council, Executive Yuan, mSfff ~ffJiit8: ~J¥XW:[email protected]]IiW6fj1l8(Crossing
Historical Divide' Recollection of Ten-Year's Cross-Straits Inter-eXChangesand the prospect), p.173.
Ibid.
DFA, unpublished policy document on Asia, 1995, p.35 (Table A - South Africa's trade with the
Greater China region).
Ibid.
Alden, ·Solving South Africa's Chinese Puzzle", p.84. See also Mills, "The Case for Exclusive
Recognition", p. 84.
Ibid.
Ibid.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: m~F5i-3(MtJR~JEm~F1:E*tpli1!1:!f[i!?!Z.Ii1~flJ~~tt
ifa1tt (The RSA Department of Foreign Affairs' Interdepartmental meeting on determining South
Africa's national interests in the Greater China region, May 23rd, 1995), ROC Embassy's telex No. 354
dated July 6th,1995, p.8.
Business Day, February 10th,1994, p.1 (Iscor lands lucrative Chinese export deal).
The Sunday TImes, Business Times, April 1Jth, 1994, p.4 (lscor spends R35m at Chinese port to
raise iron-ore exports)
+
=
101.
102.
103.
104.
105.
106.
107.
108.
109.
110.
111.
112.
113.
114.
115.
116.
117.
118.
119.
120.
121.
122.
123.
124.
125.
126.
127.
128.
129.
130.
131.
132.
133.
134.
135.
Business Day, April 28th, 1993, p.3 (Eskom helps Chinese power authorities).
M. Havenga, "The Dilemma of the Two Chinas: An Economic Perspective" in SAltA (ed.), s.outb
Africa and the Two Chinas Dilemma, pp.43-44.
Avis Companion, Vol. 2,1998, pp.49-50 (The sleeping giant awakes).
Ibid., pp.48-49. See also Business Day, August 1st, 2000, p.1 (MIH, Chinese network strengthen ties)
for MIH's investment in the PRC.
Ibid. p.49.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: The Minutes of the Department of Foreign Affairs' Interdepartmental meeting,
May 23rd, 1995, pp.1-4.
Ibid., The Minutes of Workshop 4 of the RSA's Heads of Missions Meeting, September 4th-Sth, 1995.
Nel & McGowan (eds.), power, wealth and Global Order, p.211.
Suttner, ·Dilemmas of South African Foreign Policy: The Question of China", p.7.
Mainland Affairs Council, Executive Yuan, A Preliminary Analysis of Mainland China's ·One China
Strategy", December 1996, p.1.
CNA, 1997 tttW4E1i (The Chinese Wor1dAlmanac, 1997), pp.792-793.
The Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs of the RSA National Assembly, Report of visit of
delegation from Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs to the People's Republic of China, July 24th,
1995, p.3.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Alden, ·Solving South Africa's Chinese Puzzle·, p.90; and Geldenhuys, ·The Politics of South Africa's
'China Switch'·, p.115.
Ibid., ·Solving South Africa's Chinese Puzzle", p.89. See also TLO Archives, Pretoria: The Briefings
of the TLO in the RSA, pertaining to the Current Situation of ROe-RSA Relations, November 6th,
2000, p.32.
The Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs of the RSA National Assembly, Report of visit of
delegation from Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs to the People's Republic of China, July 24th,
1995, pp.3-5.
A.B. Nzo, Report on visit to the People's Republic of China by a Presidential Delegation, March 24th26th, 1996, pp.2-5.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: t:p~if)i.fi~:&*~~..g-1'F{:fI)!~:~fflw~~
(The Visit of the Minister of Foreign
Trade and Economic Co-operation of the PRC to the RSA) Minutes of the meeting between Madame
Wu Vi and President N. Mandela, April 30th, 1996, pp.3-5.
Nzo, Report on Visit to the PRC, pp.1-5. See also Alden, ·Solving South Africa's Chinese Puzzle",
p.89.
See The Citizen, April 8th, 1996 (China to push for greater economic ties with SA); The Star, May 3rd,
1996 (Recognition of China now almost inevitable); The Sunday Independent, April 28th, 1996 (J.J.
Cornish, China may seem patient, but SA cannot avoid a tough choice: Beijing or Taipei ?).
TLO Archives, Pretoria: Minutes ofWu Yi-Mandela Meeting, pp.3-5.
The Star, April 28th, 1996, p.10 (J.J. Cornish, China may seem patient, but SA cannot avoid a tough
choice: Beijing or Taipei?).
Alden, ·Solving South Africa's Chinese Puzzle, p.90.
President Mandela's press statement, issued by SAPA, November 2~, 1996.
Ibid.
pretoria News, July 25th, 2000, p.3 (SA urged to seek candidacy for Security Council); The Citizen,
July 25th, 2000, p.7 (SA coy on larger UN).
President Mandela's press statement in Singapore, March 6th, 1997, which was sent to the ROC
Embassy in Pretoria by the ROC Mission in Singapore, telex No.F-044, March 19th, 1996.
Ibid.
.
Ibid.
Geldenhuys, ·The Politics of South Africa's 'China Switch'·, p.115.
The Citizen, November 30th, 1996, p.6 (Editorial: Go, Mr Nzo!).
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
142.
143.
144.
145.
146.
147.
148.
149.
151.
152.
154.
155.
156.
157.
158.
159.
160.
161.
164.
165.
167.
168.
The Star, November 29th, 1996, p.3 (Protest from Taiwan over SA's decision to grant recognition to
China).
h
The press statement of the leader of the National Party, F. W. de Klerk, issued on November 2i , 1996,
th
in Cape Town, p. 1. Also see The Mercury. November 29 , 1996,p.2 (SACP influenced Pretoria to cut
ties).
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) press statement issued by Ziba Ziyane, IFP MP & IFP Secretary
General on November28th, 1996, p.6.
The Freedom Front (Vryheidsfront) media release, issued by the FF Chief Spokesperson on Foreign
th
Affairs, Pieter Mulder MP, on November 27 , 1996, p.1.
th
The Citizen, November 29 , 1996, p.8 (Links with China inevitable).
The Star. November 29th, 1996, p.16 (Editorial: A China policy at last).
The Star, November 5th, 1996, p.20 (China choice a sensible one).
th
The Citizen, November 30 , 1996, p.6 (Editorial: Go, Mr. NZo!).
The Natal Witness, November 29th, 1996, p.12 (Editorial: Broken ties).
The Citizen, January 16th, 1997, p.16 (Taiwanese firms are to protest China move); Natal Mercury,
January 16th, 1997, p.1 ~aiwanese factories to close in protest today).
The Citizen, January 1St, 1997, p.11 (Protect Taiwanese investors, SA urged).
The RSA's Foreign Minister Nzo's remarks for the discussion with the PRC delegation led by the PRC's
Assistant Minister, Ji Peiding, at the Union Buildings, January 1997, pp.1-2.
See China Times, November 28th, 1996 (The PRC's success of diplomatic containment, and the impact
of 1997: would it cause a domino reaction?)
th
The ROC Embassy's Note No. 85-0276, Pretoria, November 28 , 1996, p.1.
See the statement made by the ROC Vice President and Premier, Lien Chan, regarding ROC
relations with the RSA, November 28th, 1996, pp.1-2.
th
TLO Archives, Pretoria: The Letter from President Lee Teng-hui to President N. Mandela, May 5 ,
1997, pp.1-3. This letter was delivered to Mandela by the Director of the ROC Security Bureau,
th
General Tsung-wen Yin, on May 9 , 1997.
DFA, Policy options for consideration regarding the meeting with Foreign Minister J. Chang, p.2.
The ROC Embassy's Press Release, Statement made by the ROC Foreign Minister J. Chang, on
th
December 5 , 1996, at Pretoria, p.2.
The Natal Witness, December 6tn, 1996, p.1 (Angry Taiwan drops aid projects in SA).
TLO Archives, Pretoria: the ROC Embassy's telex No. 925 regarding the current situation of ROC-RSA
th
bilateral negotiations and future prospects, dated October 20 , 1997, p.1.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Joint Communique between the Govemment of the RepUblic of South Africa and the Government of the
People's RepUblic of China on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, Clause 3.
The Department of Information and Cultural Affairs of the MOFA, DDDDDDDDDDDDD
<:Iill1
Compilation of the PRC's Joint Communiques with other countries), June 1994, p.156.
Memorandum of Understanding between the RepUblic of South Africa and the Government of the
People's RepUblic of China on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, Section 1.
Ibid., Section 2.
The circular letter of the RSA Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alfred Nzo, addressed to all governmental
ministers, premiers and senior officials, dated January 28th, 1998, pp.2-3.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: Transcript of President Mandela's press conference after the meeting with Mr. J.
H. Chang, Foreign Minister of the ROC, on December 4th, 1996, at 1:50p.m., in Pretoria, p.1.
Davies, South Africa and Taiwan, p.12
DFA, POIiC¥toptions for consideration regarding the meeting with the ROC Foreign Minister J. Chang on
January 19h, 1997, ppA-5.
Ibid., pp.5 & 7.
Before the 1970s, the ROC's contacts with the RSA were rudimentary. It was during
tlie period from the establishment of ROC-RSA diplomatic ties in 1976 to the end of the
1980s that ROC-RSA relations broadened. Both countries' common interests were
founded upon anti-communism, security-strategic considerations, complementary
economies and their respective international isolation.
However, by the time of the
emergence of a new democratic South Africa in April 1994, the convergence of common
interests no longer existed. The USSR had collapsed in 1991. The strategic and
nuclear co-operation between the two states had dissipated by the end of the 1980s.
Since 1994, the RSA has emerged from isolation to play an increasingly important role
in international affairs. The party that came to power in South Africa in 1994 has
different political aspirations than the previous NP government.
The ANC-Ied
government positions itself as a global player aspiring towards debt cancellation, the
eradication of poverty, increased market access and the African Renaissance.1
In the meantime, as a result of its economic reforms, the PRC has re-emerged as one
of the most powerful and influential nations on earth.2 The RSA could not ignore the
PRC's rising international status, its economic power and its vital position as a
permanent member of the UN Security Council. Conscious of the PRC's strategic and
economic importance, the RSA considers its relationship with the PRC not only as one
of primary importance but also as a strategic partner in international affairs. Mbeki has
contemplated the formation of a "G7 of the South" and is keen to improve the solidarity
of the "Group of 77 and China" so as to bring the PRC, India and other key countries of
the South together to counterbalance the influence of the USA and the G8 of the North.3
The PRC also intends to strengthen China-Africa co-operation and mobilise African
support to counter the domination of the USA and other western powers.4
Under these circumstances,
it was generally
would shift its China policy and normalise
anticipated
that the RSA government
its relationship
with the PRC.
Despite
Mandela's personal support for the continuance of diplomatic ties with the ROC, and the
ROC's thrusts of so-called "chequebook diplomacy"S (financial aid, loans and grants)
and its lobbying campaign, the pressure to derecognise the ROC exerted by the PRC,
the ANC-SACP-COSATU
tripartite alliance, the South African business sector, public
corporations, academia, parliament and members of the government, was too much for
Mandela to withstand.
renowned
As South African foreign policy had changed its focus, the
South African
historians,
Rodney
Davenport
and Christopher
Sauders,
deduced that:
The decision to open diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of
China, which
involved
the ending
Taiwan, was controversial
played in supporting
of formal
ambassadorial
ties with
in view of the helpful role which Taiwan had
the South African economy
during the years of
isolation, and had continued to do afterwards; but the formal breach was
unavoidable in view of the previous UN decision to accord China a place
on the Security Council on her own terms.6
The PRC's outright rejection of "dual recognition" and the looming deadline of the handover of Hong Kong to the PRC on July 1St, 1997 was the last straw for Mandela, and he
"reluctantly came to the conclusion that the reversal of the status quo was the only
feasible
option
open
to the
South
African
government."?
Mandela
eventually
succumbed to the realism and the PRC's dictation of "One China" and he announced
that the diplomatic links between the ROC and the RSA would be severed from the end
of 1997.
The decision
to change the diplomatic
accepted by the South African public.
relationship
has generally
been
A new chapter of bilateral relations was thus
unfolded from January 1st, 1998 onwards.
The study of the relations between the ROC and the RSA during 1948-1998 concludes
that despite their close bonding and partnership in all spheres, the two geographically
and culturally distant pariah states did not succeed in breaking out of the international
diplomatic isolation through their bilateral alignment, and that the pariah alignment was
short-lived and of limited value. Despite the efforts that had been made to implement
various fields of co-operation between the pariahs, the whole exercise proved to be
fl,.ltile,and labour was vainly spent in an attempt to counter diplomatic isolation. In the
end, the two states' alignment could not challenge the long-held dominance of the
strong powers. As the major powers dominate the inter-state system in the world
community, it is not possible for the ROC to avoid the world of realism and power
politics. Clearly, the ROC's security and survival are centred around the USA, and the
~OC's fate is difficult to separate from the politics of the USA and the PRC. As a small
state, the ROC has very little leverage to bargain with these two major powers. As from
1971, the PRC has tried to ostracise the ROC from international interactions.
By
comparison, as from 1994, the RSA was able to fully return to the international
community because of the change in its domestic political dispensation.8
One of the major findings of this research is that the development of bilateral relations is
largely determined by the respective countries' fluid internal and external situations,
foreign policy goals, as well as their long-term economic and strategic considerations.
Short-term financial gain was only a minor factor. It is evident that by November 1996,
the two countries had already reached the point of an irreparable divergence of national
interests. No matter how hard the ROC diplomats tried to wrestle with the trend of
drifting apart, the change of relations was bound to happen. Therefore, despite the
ROC's strenuous efforts to save its diplomatic ties with the RSA, the ROC merely
delayed the inevitable and prolonged ROC-RSA diplomatic relations for two and a half
years. The effects of the ROC's "cheque-book diplomacy" were limited, but its costs
were high. According to Nzo's estimation, the cost of the ROC's RDP assistance alone
was US$647 million, excluding other expenditure such as the ROC's US$10 million
donation to the ANC and the cost of the ROC's lobbying campaign.9 In the end, no
amount of financial aid or grants could really persuade the South African government to
maintain its diplomatic ties with the ROC, once the RSA had decided that its vital
national interests and new foreign policy focus lay with the PRC. Nevertheless, for the
two countries' bilateral long-term interests, both governments were able to exercise their
1O
creative powers and use unconventional diplomacy to pursue substantive relations.
After the severance of ROC-RSA
diplomatic relations, the two countries' relations are
conducted on the basis of interest-driven,
substantive and pragmatic diplomacy.
The
political interest that motivated the ROC to render large amounts of financial aid to the
RSA no longer exists.
Market forces will determine economic relations.
Loans will be
granted purely on a "commercial rather than political basis" and "there will be no further
aid [for the RSA], which is of no benefit to the ROC.,,11
Although the two governments
were flexible enough to devise "Liaison Offices" to
replace their respective embassies and consulates-general
as from January 1st. 1998,
the loss of diplomatic ties not only made the improvement of economic relations difficult,
but has also left the future ROC-RSA
bilateral relationship in a state of uncertainty.
Both countries are still searching for a formula to handle future bilateral relations.
The lack of a legal framework and the RSA's self-imposed restriction of contact at the
official level are obstacles in the path of the new relationship.
By derecognising
the
ROC, and accepting "One China", the RSA in effect confirms that the ROC does not
exist, and hence all treaties and agreements concluded between the two states are null
and void.
Soon after the cancellation of ROC-RSA
diplomatic relations, Nzo wrote a
circular letter to all cabinet ministers and premiers restricting their official visits to the
ROC and restricting
departments.
the access of ROC diplomats to South African governmental
It was advised that "no personnel of the respective Taipei Liaison Offices
should be invited to the official functions hosted by the South African government" and
vice versa. 12 ROC diplomats are restricted to "the level of Director-General for important
matters and to [the] functional level for routine matters.,,13
In the course of South Africa's negotiation for recognition of PRC, the South African
government was pressurised by the PRC government to subscribe to its "One China"
principle - Taiwan, (the ROC) is but a province of mainland China.
In accordance with
the Joint Communique between the government of the PRC and the government of the
RSA on the establishment
of diplomatic
relations,
the government
of the
RSA
recognises that "there is but one China in the world, the government of the People's
Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China and
1aiwan is an inalienable part of China.,,14 In other words, in normalising its relations
with the PRC, the RSA has been forced to accept the PRC's claim that the ROC is nonexistent, but merely a part of the PRC. Through the derecognition of the ROC, the RSA
may no longer maintain any official relations or conduct any official interactions with the
ROC.
The South African government
functionaries
also stick to the "One China"
principle and all previously concluded agreements between the ROC and the RSA have
been annulled by the RSA,15
So far, no arrangement
has been made to replace those invalid bilateral agreements
and no mechanism has been set up to maintain the long-standing economic ties or to
deal with the trade problems.
economic co-operation
Even the practical economic issues, such as a forum for
and an investment guarantee agreement
remain unresolved.
The trade and economic relations between the ROC and the RSA have been left to take
their own course.16
Although the two countries' trade and economic ties found their own way to continue,
the limbo status of bilateral relations is not conducive to the strengthening of the ROCRSA economic relationship.
figures.
Following
This constraint was manifested
the announcement
diplomatic ties, the ROC-RSA
of the impending
in the 1996-1998 trade
severance
of ROC-RSA
bilateral trade volume gradually decreased.
The total of
the two-way trade between the ROC and the RSA reduced from USA$1.87 billion in
.
1.995 to USA$1.76 billion in 1996, USA$1.78 billion in 1997 and USA$1.40 billion in
1998. However, while South Africa's trade with the ROC saw a decline of 9.2% in 1998,
and a slight recovery in 1999, the RSA-PRC bilateral trade has expanded rapidly since
1998.17
This was partly due to the financial meltdown of East Asia in 1997-8 which
caused the diminishing of the ROC's demand for South Africa's mineral and natural
resources, and partly due to the break-off of ROC-RSA diplomatic ties. From the above
analysis, it is clear that the severance of diplomatic ties affected ROC-RSA
economic
and financial ties, but did not really jeopardise ROC-RSA bilateral trade and economic
links, in spite of various obstacles and the shadow of uncertainty.
As regards ROC investments in South Africa, these remained largely unchanged after
South Africa's switch of diplomatic recognition from the ROC to the PRC in January
1998.
Contrary
pressured
to some scholars'
by the ROC government
predictions,
the ROC entrepreneurs
to scale down their businesses
withdraw their investments from South Africa.18
were not
nor did they
Despite facing an adverse political and
economic climate and the serious crime wave, the ROC companies in South Africa have
survived the post-diplomatic
crisis.
Being a democratic country, the ROC government
has not much control over the business community.
business with the RSA.
As most ROC industrialists
It is the private sector that does
had put their capital in direct
investments, they would not close down their operations and relocate from South Africa
to other African countries which maintain diplomatic relations with the ROC.
Realising
the importance of its economic links with the RSA, the ROC government respected the
decisions of the private sector.
curtailed or pressured
Africa.
Therefore, Taipei did not discourage
ROC companies
and has never
to cease their economic activities
Apart from the fact that most of the ROC enterprises
in South
are fixed direct
investments. ROC investors chose to remain in the RSA due to the importance of South
Africa's location as a springboard to the African continent and beyond, and the RSA's
excellent infrastructure,
equal legal protection, good education and living environment.
According to Kwazulu-Natal
Marketing Initiative's (KMI) report, and the author's own
survey conducted in 1999, there were 311 ROC factories operating in South Africa
during 1999, which is an increase of 31 factories compared to the 1996 census.19
The above economic statistics point to the fact that most of the ROC investments in
South Africa are direct investments which are difficult to pullout quickly, and that the
~OC remains one of the major investors despite the lack of formal diplomatic ties after
1998. The ROC's direct investments are governed by commercial considerations rather
than diplomatic/political
objectives.
In short, in the immediate post-diplomatic years, the
state of the bilateral economic and trade relationship did not change seriously.
The
trade flow continues without much disruption.
However, in the diplomatic/political
spheres, most of the high-level exchange of visits
and interactions of the afore-mentioned
institutional structures, such as the ROC-RSA
Defence Industry Co-operation and the ROC-RSA Ministerial Conference on Economic
and Technical Co-operation, have ceased.
other spheres.
Since the breach of ROC-RSA
educational/academic,
of dormancy.
The same is true of ROC-RSA
diplomatic
relations in
ties, bilateral
military,
socio-cultural, sport, tourism and aviation links are also in a state
The RSA is no longer seen as an important diplomatic ally of the ROC,
and vice versa.
Both sides have lost interest in the other country and are drifting back
to their original reluctance to embrace each other.
Both the ROC's and RSA's media
lacks interest in the situation of the other country, with the exception of certain dramatic
events.
For example, the Taiwan's 1999 earthquake and the victory of the DPP in the
March 2000 presidential election was fairly widely reported in the South African media,
and the RSA's crime situation has received extensive coverage in the ROC media. The
cordial bonding that existed between the two countries from the mid-1970s to the early
1990s came to an end in 1998. The two countries have entered into an historical stage
of the cooling of state relations as from January 1998.20
Our analysis has brought to light the reality that whether or not the ROC will be fully
integrated into the international community and see the end of its enforced isolation will
largely depend on its cross-Straits relations and a dramatic change of political attitudes
and policies in Beijing, Washington and Taipei itself. Currently, ROC-RSA relations are
still in transition.
In the future,
economics
supersede the past formal diplomatic ties.
and the substantive
relationship
will
At the moment, it is still too early to tell
whether the unorthodox approach will work or not. However, given the ROC's resilience
and strength, ROC-RSA future relations will not stagnate.
There is still room for Taipei
and Pretoria to develop a strong substantive relationship without jeopardising the RSA's
strategic relationship with Beijing.
Like other countries with substantive relations with
ti,e ROC, this will require wisdom, creativity and a flexible balancing act on the RSA's
part as well as an understanding
of the Taiwanese pathos and spirit of liberty.
The
people of the RSA should understand that the people of Taiwan are determined to
uphold their freedom and democracy, and will not capitulate to the PRC's intimidation.
On New Year's Day 2001, the ROC president, Chen Shui-bian, outlined the "Taiwan
spirit" as follows:
After it was ceded to Japan in the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki,
Taiwan
entered the 20th century frustrated by its inability to control its own destiny.
Nevertheless,
for over a century, the determination
of the people of
Taiwan to be their own masters and not capitulate has never changed ....
Taiwan is like a "rose that will never be squashed", in the words of the
senior Taiwan writer, Yang Kuei. Even in the darkest age of suppression,
the people on Taiwan still maintained
undaunted character.21
Therefore,
their pragmatism,
despite the enormous difficulty of the international
diligence
environment
and
and the
PRC's imposition of diplomatic isolation, by adopting flexible "pragmatic diplomacy" to
engage with the outside world, the ROC manages to circumvent isolation.
With the
passage of time, many countries have found that it is to their advantage to "draw upon
Taiwan's
technical
expertise,
managerial
pool, capital resources,
trade, and know-
how',22 David Dean, a senior USA diplomat, commented that "[diplomatic] isolation isn't
working very well because of Taiwan's economic strength and other strengths.,,23
In spite of the fact that ROC-RSA relations reached an historical low point during 19981999, the RSA Department
of Foreign Affairs' East Asia Directorate and the Taipei
Liaison Office in Pretoria have both made great efforts to restore some element of trust
and confidence
between the two sides since then.
This has resulted in a slight
improvement of the working relations between the two offices.
In addition, there has
been a gradual realisation that the ROC, with its economic power and capital, is still
relevant to the RSA's national interests and the African Renaissance.
There is a need
for the RSA to engage the ROC to develop South Africa's economy.
At a time when
investment and economic development
have become the new priorities of the RSA's
foreign policy, relations with the ROC are of importance.
central to the RSA's new foreign policy.
The African Renaissance is
Addressing the SAIIA in November 1999, the
RSA's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, stated that "the promotion
and attainment of the African Renaissance shall constitute the key-defining goal of all
our foreign policy.,,24
To pursue this lofty goal, the ROC is in a position to make a positive contribution to the
RSA's economic development.
According to Monika Glinzer, a former researcher with
the SAIIA and presently an official with the DTI, "there is a great potential to take
advantage of Taiwan's potential to train South Africans in areas such as agriculture,
land reform, information and SMME development.,,25
Glinzer also suggested that, in
addition to the already strong presence of Taiwanese textile and clothing companies,
the enactment of the USA's Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), could "provide
an excellent incentive for further Taiwanese investment and hence job creation.,,26 Greg
Mills is of the same view and indicated that "Taiwan is today one of the world's largest
investors,
despite its political isolation.,,27
Furthermore,
Mills believes that "today,
Taiwan's investment in South Africa's textile and garment industries may offer parallel
development and industrialisation
opportunities to the region.,,28 Mills concludes that
whether Taiwanese and other investors react to these opportunities depends largely on
how the governments in the region react. 29
Due to the above-mentioned
factors, the South African government
has realised that
"South Africa and Taiwan share considerable interests built up over an extended period
of time" and that 'Taiwan
partner of South Africa.,,30
will therefore continue to remain an important economic
This reality cannot be wished
away.
Based on this
awareness, the RSA's Department of Foreign Affairs has adopted a relatively holistic
approach to the greater China region and, since 2000, has identified the ROC as an
.
important role-player to support the African Renaissance. The Department has not only
taken cognisance of the ROC's non-exploitative economic interaction with Africa, but
has also taken note of the following opportunities for the RSA's future economic
development:
•
Taiwan remains a significant contributor of FDI to Africa. FDI from Taiwan
governed by commercial considerations rather than political objectives.
•
Potential for significant growth in FDI [Foreign Direct Investment] to Africa
(especially in labour intensive sectors such as clothing and textiles) as a
result of opportunities created by instruments such as the US Africa Growth
and Opportunity Act and free trade agreements with (e.g.) the EU.
•
The "Taiwan Experience" in the development of an economic base
especially in manufacturing and SMME development - could create a
sustainable development model for Africa.
•
Keenness on Taiwan's side to provide capacity training for Africa in its own
experiences in areas such as land reform, manufacturing
industry,
management capacity and agricultural development.
•
Taiwan has demonstrated its willingness to assist Africa to bridge the
technology gap through IT [Information Technology] focused training
programmes.
•
Imports into Taiwan regulated by commercial considerations (with few tariff
and non-tariff barriers as a result of Taiwan's preparations for WTO [World
Trade Organization] accession), rather than political intervention, hence the
ability to help Africa to compete on a fair basis.
•
High levels of affluence create opportunity for increased exports of precious
commodities (gold, diamonds, platinum) to Taiwan.31
From the above analysis, it is clear that South Africa is at a unique point in its history
and the RSA's relations with the ROC are at the crossroads.
Will the African
Renaissance succeed or fail? Are bilateral relations between the ROC and the RSA
going to decline or progress? The answers to these questions will evolve in the coming
y.ears. This thesis does not seek to answer these questions. The development and
implications of the post-diplomatic
research.
32
ROC-RSA relationship are pending further scholarly
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
See The Star, January 29th, 2001, p.9 (Millennium Africa Renaissance Programme); The Citizen,
January 29th, 2001, p.4 (Mbeki puts his case for south); Sowetan, January 25th, 2001, p.16 (Selling
African renewal).
The RSA Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Briefing Document: The People's Republic of China
(PRC) and the Republic of China on Taiwan, p.1.
DFA, telex to the RSA Embassy in Beijing regarding "PRC: G7 of the South" on June 4th, 1999, p.1.
See also Li Peng's speech at the special meeting of the RSA National Assembly and the National
Council of Provinces on November 18th, 1999, pp.2-5.; The Ministerial Declaration of the Group of 77,
Midrand, April 28th, 1996, p.1; and Corporate Intelligence Review, Vo1.7,No.8, 2000, p.35.
Shelton, "The Beijing Sino-Africa Forum: Consolidating a New paradigm for China's Africa Policy" in
Global Dialogue, VoI.6.1, February 2001, pp.27-28; see also the RSA office of the Presidency,
statement by President Mbeki at the banquet in honour of President Jiang Zemin, April 25th, 2000,
pp.1-2; The Cape Argus, April 26th, 2000, (China, SA seek new world order).
Mills, "South Africa and the Two Chinas", p.167. See also Le Pere & Van Nieuwkerk, "Making
Foreign Policy in South Africa", p.213.
T.R.H. Davenport and C. Sauders, South Africa' A Modem History, p.593.
Le Pere & Van Nieuwkerk, "Making Foreign Policy in South Africa", p.214.
Geldenhuys, "International Involvement in South Africa's Political Transformation" in Car1snaes &
Muller (eds.), Change and South African External Relations, p.35.
DFA, Nzo's Remarks for the Discussion with the PRC Delegation, at the Union Buildings, on January
2~, 1997, p.2.
The Citizen, December 5th, 1996, pp.1-2 (Non-diplomatic ties for SA, ROC).
Davies, South Africa and Taiwan, p.7.
Nzo's cicular letter to the RSA cabinet ministers and provincial premiers, January 28th, 1998, p.2.
Ibid., p.3.
Joint Communique between the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Government of
the People's Republic of China on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, December 30th, 1997,
p.1.
Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the
Government of the People's Republic of China on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations,
December 30th, 1997, p.1, clause 1.
Ibid., p.1, clause 3.
J. Dludlu, "Trade with Taiwan drops as China moves in", The Star, January 26th, 1999. See also
Shelton, "China's Africa Policy and South Africa: Building New Economic Partnerships", in So.utb
African Yearbook of International Affairs 2000101,OCtober2000, p.390.
See Woods, Ph.D. thesis, p.260. Woods indicates that "should a future South African government
withdraw its diplomatic representation from Taiwan and recognise the People's Republic of China, it
is most probable that Taiwanese companies would be under great pressure from their government to
curtail their operations in South Africa:
KwaZulu-Natal Marketing Initiative (KMI), Statistics of Foreign Investment, April 1st, 1998 to March
31st, 1999. In accordance with KMI's statistics, there were 14 new Taiwanese investment projects,
injecting R34.38 million in the KwaZulu-Natal province during the said period. In other provinces,
there were 17 new Taiwanese factories. There were, therefore, a total of 31 new Taiwanese factories
during this period.
TLO Archives, Pretoria: The Summarised Minutes of the Discussion between the RSA Minister of
defence, Joe Modise, and the ROC Minister of Foreign Affairs, Janson C. Hu, held at MOFA, Taipei,
on July 3rd, 1998, p.2. During the discussion, Modise stated that following the cancellation of ROeRSA diplomatic relations, the long-existing ROe-RSA government relations had been frozen.
Chen Shui-bian, Cross-century Remarks on New Year's Day, 2001, p.1.
H. Feldman, Constitutional RefonD and the Future of the Republic of China, p.62.
Ibid.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
32.
See the full text of Minister n. Dlamini-Zuma's speech delivered at the SAIIA, on November 1st, 1999,
p.5.
Glinzer, "Not a Zero-sum Game: SA, Taiwan and China", in SAilA's Intelligence Update, 24/2000, p.3.
Ibid.
Mills, "Sowing Investment" in Business Africa, October 2000, p.1.
Ibid.
Ibid.,p.3.
DFA, Nzo's Remarks for the Discussion with the PRC Delegation, at the Union Buildings, on January
2m, 1997, p.2.
DFA, Document regarding the Assessment on the Greater China Region, p.1.
See Davies, South Africa and Taiwan, pp.1-13.
TABLE 1
DISTRIBUTION OF THE ROC DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS ABROAD. JUNE 1988
Region
Africa
Asia
Australia and the Pacific
Country
..••
•
•
•
•
•
Caribbean
Latin America
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Malawi
South Africa
Swaziland
South Korea
Nauru
Solomon Islands
Tonga
Tuvalu
Bahamas
Commonwealth of Dominica
Haiti
St. Christopher & Nevis
St. Lucia
St. Vincent & Grenadines
Middle East
•
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
EI Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras
Panama
ParaQuay
Saudi Arabia
Westem Europe
•
The Holy See (Vatican)
Total
Embassies
Consulates-General
•
Sub-Total
3
1
4
6
7
1
1
23
6
TABLE 2
DISTRIBUTION OF
THE
ROC
SEMI-OFFICIAL
REPRESENTATIVEOFFICES,JUNE 1993
AND
Region
Country
Sub-Total
Africa
•
•
•
•
6
•
Asia, Australasia
Middle East
and
the.
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Europe
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Angola
Libya
Madagascar
Mauritius
Nigeria
Zaire
Australia
Bahrain
Brunei
Fiji
(Hong Kong)
Indonesia
Israel
Japan
Jordan
Korea (South)
Kuwait
Malaysia
(Macau)
New Zealand
Oman
Papua New Guinea
Philippines
Saudi Arabia
Singapore
Thailand
Turkey
Vietnam
United Arab Emirates
Austria
Belgium
Czechoslovakia
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
21
21
Latin America
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
North America
TOTAL
•
•
•
•
•
Ireland
Italy
Luxembourg
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Russian Federation
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
United Kingdom
Argentina
Bolivia
Brazil
Chile
Columbia
Equador
Peru
Uruguay
Venezuela
Canada
USA
Semi-Qfficiall
Relations
9
2
Unofficial 59 Countries
Name
Period
1.
Edward Y. Kuan
1976-1979
2.
H.K. Yang
1979-1989
3.
Steven F. Wang
1989-1990
4.
I-cheng Loh
1990-1997
5.
Ou Ling
1998 to date
Source:
1.
2.
The Republic of China Yearbook, 1996, pp.504, 536, 573, 585.
Interview with Du Ling at 156 Orion Avenue, Pretoria at 13:00 p.m., May 6th, 2001.
Name
Period
1.
Willem Pretorius
1976-1979
2.
Louis Vorster
1980-1982
3.
P.H. Janse van Vuuren
1982-1986
4.
Chris Prins
1986-1989
5.
Alan M. Harvey
1990-1993
6.
Johan L. Viljoen
1993-1997
7.
•
1997 -June 2001
•
Cornelius van Niekerk Scholtz
Cornelius van Niekerk Scholtz served as RSA Ambassador to the ROC from July
1997 until December 31 st, 1997.
After the change of relations, as of January 1st,
2001, his official designation was changed to "Representative."
Source:
1. TLO Archives, Pretoria: tp~iI&~liIDJ~ (ROe-RSA Exchange of Visits), VolA, dispatches No.990,
December 12th, 1979, pp.1-2 & No.22704, November 1979, pp.1-2; telex No. 582, December 6th,
1979, p.1.
2.
Interviews held by the author with Ambassador Johan L. Viljoen and Ambassador Chris Prins.
BILATERAL TRADE BETWEEN THE ROC AND THE RSA, 1973-1977
(Unit Rand R1,000)
TABLE 6
BilATERAL
TRADE BETWEEN THE ROC AND THE RSA,1978-1998
(Unit US$1 ,000)
TABLE 7:
CATAGORIES OF THE ROC FACTORIES IN THE RSA • 1996
No.
Categories in the industrial sector
No. of factories
1.
Garment manufacturing
44
2.
Knitted sweaters
44
3.
Other plastic products
23
4.
Shoe manufacturing
22
5.
Electronic and electrical
19
6.
Polypropylene bags
16
7.
Spinning and weaving plants
14
8.
Metal working
12
9.
Furniture and wood processing
8
10.
Plastic and melamine dinnerware
6
11.
Latex gloves
6
12.
Sports and recreational equipment
6
13.
Handbags and travel bags
4
14.
Paper products
4
15.
Cosmetics
4
16.
Moulds and mouldings
4
17.
Automobile parts and accessories
4
18.
Kitchen utensils
4
19.
Food products
4
20.
Gem polishing
3
21.
Kerosene stoves
3
22.
Mineral processing
3
23.
Clocks and watches
3
24.
Miscellaneous
20
TOTAL
280
TABLES
ROC INVESTMENTS IN THE COMMERCIAL
No.
AND SERVICES SECTOR. 1996
Type of business
No. of companies
1.
2.
Import-export
94
Wholesaler
58
3.
Retailer
48
4.
Food and drinks
5. Real estate development
47
17
6.
Transport, shipping and customs brokerage
8
7.
Travel service
8
8. Banking and other services
8
9. Farming and other agricultural business
6
10. Sports and
11. Automobile
recreation
3
maintenance and repair
3
12.
TOTAL
Miscellaneous
40
340
ROC-RSA INTERGOVERNMENTAL
AGREEMENTS PERTAINING TO ACADEMIC,
MEDICAL, SCIENTIFIC AND METEOROLOGICAL CO-OPERATION, 1976-1998.
No.
1.
Agreement
Exchange of Notes between the govemment of the ROC and the government of
the RSA Constituting
an Agreement
on Scientific
and Technological
Co-
operation (12103/1980)
2.
Agreement
on Scientific Co-operation
between the National Science Council
(NSC) of the ROC and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
of the RSA (18/03/1980)
3.
Exchange of notes between the ROC and the RSA Constituting an Agreement
on Meteorological Co-operation (04/02/1983)
4.
Exchange Agreement on Scientific Co-operation between the National Science
Council of the ROC and the Medical Research Council of the RSA (28/03/1983)
5.
Agreement
on Scholarly Co-operation
between the National Science Council
(NSC) of the ROC and the Human Science Research Council (HSRC) of the
RSA (signed on 26/09/1983)
6.
Agreement on Medical Co-operation in Providing Advanced Training for Medical
and Nursing Personnel between the ROC and the RSA (12/01/1988)
7.
Agreement between the Government of the ROC and the Government of the
RSA on Matters
relating
to the Co-operation
in the
Field of Population
Development (15/06/1989)
8.
Agreement between the ROC Government and the RSA Government Relating to
Cultural Matters (19/06/1989)
9.
Agreement
for the Co-operation
and Exchange on Science and Technology
Information between the Science and Technology
the
ROC
and
the
Division
of Information
Information Centre, NSC of
Sciences,
CSIR
of the
RSA
(24/02/1989)
10. Agreement
of
Mutual
Recognition
of
National
Measuring
Standards
Memorandum of Agreement made and entered into by and between: Industrial
Technology Research Institute (ITRC) of the ROC and the Council for Scientific
and Industrial Research (CSIR) of the RSA (04/02/1991)
11.
Bilateral Scientific Exchange Agreement
between the National Foundation for
Science and Technology (NFST) of the ROC and the Foundation for Research
development (FRO) of the RSA (11/07/1991)
12.
Technical
Understanding
on Mutual Recognition
of the National
Calibration
Services between the Chinese National Laboratory Accreditation of the ROC and
the National Calibration Service of the RSA (06/11/1993)
13.
Memorandum of Understanding
between the Government of the ROC and the
Government of the RSA on Education Support (29/08/1995)
TLO Archives, Pretoria: MOFA's compilation of ROC-RSA Agreements
1976-1998, attached to telex No. 703, October 2P', 1997.
concluded during
TABLE 10
SISTER RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN SOUTH AFRICAN UNIVERSITIES AND THEIR
ROC COUNTERPARTS, 1976-1998
No,
Universities
1.
The University of South Africa (UNISA) and the National Open University
2.
The University of Natal and the National Taiwan Ocean University
3.
The University of Pretoria and the National Taiwan University
4.
Stellenbosch University and National Sun Yat-sen University
5.
Medunsa and Kaohsiung Medical College
6.
Potchefstroom University for CHE and Tunghai University
7.
Rand Afrikaans University and National Chengchi University
8.
The University of Orange Free State and the National Taipei Institute of Business
9.
Technikon Pretoria and National Taipei Institute of Technology
10. Technikon Mangosuthu and National Yunlin Institute Technology
11. The Department of Physics of the University of Pretoria and Academia Sinica of the
ROC.
T. Sono, From the East· Lessons from Taiwan for South Aflica, pp.74-7S; University of Pretoria
(UP), Research and Creative Work, 1998, Vol.1, Review, p.23; and interview with Dr Darsheng Liu, Chief of Cultural Division of the Taipei Liaison Office in Pretoria, held on December
17th, 1999.
TABLE 11
LIST OF TWIN CITIES BETWEEN THE ROC AND THE RSA
No.
Twin cities
1.
Taipei and Pretoria
2.
Taipei and Johannesburg
3.
Keelung and East London
4.
lIan and Cape Town
5.
Nantou and Kimberley
6.
Hualien and Oudtshoorn
7.
Kaohsiung and Durban
8.
Yungho and Ladysmith
9.
Hsinchu and Bloemfontein
Compilation from relevant records of the ROe-RSA sister cities, kept in TLO Archives
Pretoria and Cape Town, respectively.
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(Briefing on the Current
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(An Introduction to the
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Taiwan University [Chairman of the Atomic Energy Council, 1981-1990] to the
RSA, April, 21sL29th, 1979.
MOFA, Address of Comrade Nelson Mandela at his Investiture as Doctor of Laws,
Soochow University, Taiwan, July, 1993.
MOFA, **~*JC{JtIi$~IDJrr:t'i¥J~F' ~][ffilllI~~jj*4,Lfffi
(The Visit of President
Lee and Mrs Lee to the RSA and Swaziland), Vol. 1, April 1994.
MOFA, **~~Ji$~~tt{:fM¥& (Briefings for Consul-General
Lin's Assumption of Duties), August 1994.
r~,
Gary Song-huann
m~
MOFA, f\(; ~ W i¥J~F
fYl.fj ~ %( {~R0 Nh JE
M;jR (A List of Existing
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MOFA, Working Paper for the Official Visit of the 1996 ROC Trade & Investment
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MOFA, .'tt7f-{-t;jR~~~~~
No.260, June 20th, 1993.
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MOFA, ,'tt7f-{-t;jR~&¥fJ¥$~~~~~
(The List of the ROC Representative
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9J 3-2IiI {* ~ ~6(Aide-Memoire of the ROC-RSA Relations). No.80314565
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ANC ±fr!f;k~tL-i=rIDJ~~
July-August 1993.
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m~pj}~1!§RlIDJ~~
(Brand Fourie's Visit to the ROC), the ROC Embassy's
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September-October 1979.
Ittm~p{-~~m3t {t*Jl~~fm¥~ (Briefing of the Cultural Division of the TLO in the
RSA), December 10th, 1999.
lIJ~ir~¥~~ (Co-ordination Conferences), Minutes Nos.171, 172, August 1988April 1989.
3-2~W~~IDJ~~
Vol. 1, 1988.
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*mH~:~f,t}IDJ3-2~ (Minister Fu-sung Chu's Visit to the RSA), Vol. 1, the ROC
Embassy's Comprehensive Report, June 10th, 1981.
9J3-2~:t?&flir{'I=J*~~~~Uc~ (Minutes of the conference on ROC-RSA Nuclear
Energy Co-operation), Taipei, August 18th, 1980.
~mH~:*1!t*3-2tfjfr!f;9J3-2*~~~~~
(Minister Kwang-shi Chang's Visit to the
RSA to Attend the ROC-RSA Ministerial Conference), Vol. 1, November 1979.
m~ ~ ~
):f IDJ3-2~ (Premier Yun-suan Sun's Visit to the RSA), the ROC
Embassy's Telex Nos.692, 839, and its Comprehensive Report to MOFA,
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iBltg:~I!I!~fj~~ (Prime minister P.W. Botha's Visit to the ROC), Vols.1 & 2,
February-October 1980.
~$~IDJ3-2~:IDJFl:I,m~p~fDm¥~"* (Report on Minister Fredrick F.Chien's Visit to
the RSA)&~$~Wm~p:9'f-~j§~~~lS*C~
(Discussion Points of the Meeting
between Minister F.F. Chien and Minister R.F. Botha), January 1981.
9J3-23t{tmWxifrf.~
1989.
(ROC-RSA Cultural and Sports Exchanges), Vol. 1, 1981-
r:p~l&~1iIDJ~
1986.
(5) (ROC-RSA Exchange of Visits), Vo1.5,July 1985-November
r:p~*~~rm{*BH~~mflmJi}3t~
(ROC-RSA Economic Relations and Related
Documents of the Economic Counsellor's Office of the ROC Embassy), VoL1,
Agreed Minutes of the Fifth Session of the ROC-RSA Economic and Technical
Conference, November 1982.
r:p~~ngit{t~
(ROC-RSA Nuclear Energy Co-operation), Memorandum on the
ROC-RSA Nuclear Collaboration, March 215" 1980, and Minutes of the
Conference on ROC-RSA Nuclear Energy Co-operation. Taipei, August 18th,
1980.
+=
r:p~rm{*~:-fLfL1i
.tF7LFJ:¥
FJ (ROC-RSA Relations, January-December
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r:p~~~jjI~it{tgt~~
(ROC-RSA Co-operation on Defence Industries), Vol.1,
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r:p~~~it{t~
(ROC-RSA Fishery Co-operation), Minutes of the Meeting held
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r:p~~~.r:pm'1t~
189 *1t~~c~(The
Minutes of the Meeting of the Central
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,1~.ti¥J~F*{~t§W:!m¥IH~·:m~gg:s:2~.u£
(The ROC Embassy's Report on Rhodesia),
March 20th, 1978.
~#~~$.M~~~#~*r:p~~~Z~~~~~$*~~*~eRM
Department of Foreign Affairs' Interdepartmental Meeting on Determining South
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1995.
r:p~IIT~~
(The Severance of ROC-RSA Diplomatic Relations), November
1997-January 1998.
r:p~~t5'}jll~&*~~it{t:gB~~{~IDJ~~
(The Visit of the PRC Minister of
Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation, Madame Wu Yi, to the RSA), April
30th, 1996.
m+-=: ' +[[email protected]:p~~~j]I~~
(The 13th and 14th ROC-RSA Defence Industries
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f!(;fjc~grH~:IDJ~~(The Visit of the ROC Minister of Education to the RSA), Vol.1,
1987.
,'tt~tf$j(¥JJ¥$~~l&~mWf!(;-Elifl:1tffI***5~litl*'[w~M1r(Briefing
Cities between the ROC and the RSA), May 2
nd
,
on the Sister
2000.
DFA, China-Africa Co-operation Ministerial Conference, Beijing, East Asia Subdirectorate Files, October 10th_12th, 2000.
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