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Talk with Edgar Snow on Taiwan and Other Questions
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(October 22,1960)

Edgar Snow (hereinafter referred to as Snow): On the question of Taiwan, Chairman, I wonder if you have read about a heated debate in the United States between John F.Kennedy and Richard Nixon the questions of Mazu and Jinmen and American policy on the far east.

Chairman Mao Zedong (hereinafter referred to as Mao): I have read some.

Snow: The debate was so heated that the two names of Mazu and Jinmen often appeared in the newspapers so someone made a joke about it, saying the people had forgotten the two candidates' names, assuming they were called Mazu and Jinmen instead of Kennedy and Nixon.

Mao: It is because the Americans are afraid of war that they use this question for their election campaign. These two islands are very close to the mainland and Kennedy makes use of this point to win votes.

Snow: Nevertheless, it shows there is a great difference of opinion among the American public on this question. Usually people are indifferent about an election campaign, but this question has aroused great interest, for many Americans are against the current U.S. policy. So this is the real issue.

Mao: Nixon has his own idea, saying that these two islands must be protected. He also wants to get more votes. This question has given life to the American election campaign. Nixon has gone too far, as if the U.S. government had an obligation to protect the two islands. The U.S. State Department says that it has no obligation to do so. Whether to protect or not depends on the situation and is to be decided by the president under the circumstances at the time. This is the statement Eisenhower made two years ago.

Snow: Someone asked this question: Under the American Constitution the new president will not take office until the January following his election in early November. If Kennedy is elected and China occupies Jinmen and Mazu on November 6 what's to be done then?

Mao: They asked the question in this way?

Snow: Eisenhower remains president until next January.

Mao: We do not look at the two islands that way. We have made public statements on the question, that is, let Chiang Kai-shek hold the two islands. We will not intercept their supplies. We can even send supplements if they do not have enough provisions. What we want is the whole Taiwan region. Taiwan and the Penghu Islands, including Jinmen and Mazu are all china's territory. As for the two islands, they are now in Chiang Kai-shek's hand, let him told them. It seems that the American presidential candidates are not clear about this.

Snow: Quite possibly.

Mao: There isn't much to be debated on this question. We want not only the two islands, Jinmen and Mazu, but Taiwan and all the Penghu Islands. This question may annoy us for a long time. It has already been 11 Years, and it is quite possible it will drag on for twice that many years or even longer, because the U.S. government is not willing to give up Taiwan. It does not want to give it up, and we do not attack it, so we have had negotiations, first in Geneva, then in Warsaw. We shall not attack Taiwan while the U.S. is there. We want to solve the issue through negotiations rather than force. The U.S. government understands this. Nor shall we attack Jinmen and Mazu; we have stated this openly. Therefore, there is no danger of war and the United States may keep its occupation of Taiwan with its mind at ease. Eleven years have gone. After another 11 years and still another-that will be 33 years-maybe in the 32nd year the United States will give up Taiwan.

Snow: I think the Chairman wants to wait until Chiang Kai-shek's soldiers have become three-legged men.

Mao: It is mainly a question of the U.S. government, not of Chiang Kai-shek or others. If Chiang Kai-shek's men become three-legged, there will still be men with two legs in Taiwan. It is easy to find human beings.

Snow: Is the Chairman serious in thinking it will take 11 years or 22 years for the United States to change its stand? The American situation develops very fast and it will change very fast too. Of course the change has something to do with outside factors. All in all, there will be changes in the situation.

Mao: Maybe. In your article you mentioned one point: that we were more interested in becoming a member of the United Nations than in having the United States recognize China, as if we were more interested in getting into the United Nations. I do not see it that way and it cannot be said so. We instead of Chiang Kai-shek should represent China in the United Nations. It should have been that way long ago, but the U.S. government organized the majority of countries to block our entry. It does not mean there is no good in this. We are not eager to get into the United Nations. Some other countries are eager to have us admitted into the United Nations of course, excluding the United States. Now Britain has no choice but to follow the United States, but its original intention may be the one you talked about, that is, we shall be lawless if we are kept outside the United Nations, it would be better if we were bound by United Nations' rules. Quite a few countries hope China will observe the rules. You know we were guerrillas and accustomed to being unrestrained. It is hard to obey so many rules, isn't it? We shall not suffer any loss if we do not get into the United Nations. What are the good points if we get into the United Nations? Of course, there are some, but not necessarily many. Some countries strive for membership in the United Nations and we don't quite understand their mood. Our country is a united nation. One of our provinces is bigger than some countries.

Snow: I often say so.

Mao: They try to impose an economic blockade against us, just like what the Kuomintang did in the past. We were very grateful to the Kuomintang for setting up an economic blockade against us and making us find a way out by going in for production in our bases. The Kuomintang provided us with pay in 1937, 1938 and 1939, but started blockading us in 1940. We wanted to thank them for forcing us to go in for production and not rely on them. Now the United States has also imposed a blockade on us, which has some good aspects.

Snow: I remember that in 1939 the Chairman told me"We thank the Kuomintang in eight respects. First, because the Communist Party developed too slowly, so the Kuomintang carried out an economic blockade to help us develop faster." Another respect was since the Communist troops had very few new recruits, Chiang Kai-shek put more people in prison, and so on and so forth. Later these points of the Chairman were proved correct. In fact, the more the people are oppressed, the faster the people's strength develops.

Mao: That is true.

Snow: In one of you articles you said that the law of imperialism is to oppose colonized people's efforts for freedom, to fail, to oppose again, to fail again. The blockade against China was certain to fail, but they have never given up this way of thinking. Now they are brooding over an economic blockade against Cuba. I think it will be a failure, too. It is very hard to comprehend what they want to gain from it. Anyway, it seems that they will impose an embargo against Cuba.

Mao: Now it is a partial embargo. It has no big influence on Cuba. It is possible that they will expand to a total embargo, which will have a bigger impact, but it is impossible for them to block Cuba to death. Cuba will find a way. The situation for Cuba today is after all better than our situation in Yan'an.

Snow: I want to ask another question. In ten to twenty years you will achieve your goal of industrialization. By then the world's economic foundation will have seen tremendous changes, as nuclear power and electronics are applied extensively. Of course by then, maybe earlier, China will have nuclear power. Some Americans think it will be far in the future when China develops nuclear power. However, they fear China will use it irresponsibly once it has the atom bomb.

Mao: No, we won't. How can an atom bomb be used irresponsibly? That won't do. We can't use it irresponsibly if we have it. To use it irresponsibly means committing a crime.

Snow: Even though there is no peace treaty or agreement between China and the U.S., and some Americans think that the United States and China are in fact in a semiwar situation, world peace every day relies on China's sense of responsibility, which is first for the Chinese people and then for the whole world, of which China is a part. Do you agree with me on this?

Mao: Right. We hold our responsibility for wor1d peace no matter whether the United States recognizes us or not and no matter whether we are admitted by the United Nations or not. We shall not act in a lawless way like the Monkey King, who created havoc in the heavens, because we are not in the United Nations. We want to maintain world peace with no world war. We hold that problems between countries should not be settled by means of war. Anyway, the maintenance of world peace is not only China's responsibility, but also the United States'. Resolution of the Taiwan question is China's internal affair, which we always stick to. We shall not attack, even though it is so. Will we attack when the Americans are there? No, we won't. Will we attack for certain after the Americans leave? Not necessarily. We want to solve the Taiwan question by peacefu1 means. Many places in China were resolved by peaceful means. Beijing was liberated peacefully, so were Hunan, Yunnan and Xinjiang. There is hearsay outside China that the Chinese Communist Party, among the communist parties in various countries, is especially naughty, disobedient, unreasonable and reckless. You have been in China for a few months and those words cannot fully be trusted. You said that some outsiders say China is like a big barracks and a big prison. Indeed, it was so in Chiang Kai-shek's China. Then Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai were indeed barracks. Since liberation China, through reform and education, has become quite different from what it was.

Snow: I can surely say that my impression is that there are big differences now.

(PLA Daily)

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