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RESOLVED: The Republic of China is a Sovereign State

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Politics
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Two weeks
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Republic of China: Taiwan,[II] officially the Republic of China (ROC),[I][h] is a country[22][23][24][25][26] in East Asia, at the junction of the East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. (Taken from Wikipedia).

State: A politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory. (Taken from Merriam Webster)

Sovereign: One possessing or held to possess supreme political power or sovereignty (Taken from Merriam Webster)

Independent: Not dependent, such as: not subject to control by others: (SELF-GOVERNING) (Taken from Merriam Webster)

The Burden of Proof is shared. As PRO, I have to prove that the Republic of China is a sovereign state. CON must prove that the Republic of China is not a sovereign state. The qualifications of a sovereign state are up for debate.

Rules:
1) A singular forfeit is an instant loss
2) No kritiks
3) No new arguments in round 5
4) All debate content has to be WITHIN the debate arguments (No debate/citations in the comments!)

Accepting this debate means you accept these rules. If you want a rule change, please say so in the comments, BEFORE accepting.

Round 1
Pro

BE IT RESOLVED:
The Republic of China is a Sovereign State 

Burden of Proof: Shared Position: Pro Debate Type: Online Debate

Credit:
Crocodile and Intelligence_06 have debated a topic extremely similar to this one on the site already. I have taken inspiration (and some sources) from Crocodile’s arguments in that debate and my general case is very similar.

Key Definitions:

Republic of China: Taiwan,[II] officially the Republic of China (ROC),[I][h] is a country[22][23][24][25][26] in East Asia, at the junction of the East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. (Taken from Wikipedia). Referenced as Taiwan, ROC or RoC.

State: A politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory. (Taken from Merriam Webster)

Sovereign: One possessing or held to possess supreme political power or sovereignty (Taken from Merriam Webster)

Independent: Not dependent, such as: not subject to control by others: (SELF-GOVERNING) (Taken from Merriam Webster)

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Interpretation of the Resolution

As PRO, I have to prove that the Republic of China fulfills the qualifications of a sovereign state.  CON must prove that the Republic of China does not fulfill the qualifications of a sovereign state. The qualifications of a sovereign state are up for debate. Thus, this debate will revolve around two central arguments, the qualifications of a state, and whether the Republic of China fulfills those qualifications.

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The Qualifications of a Sovereign State

Premises of the Montevideo Convention:
According to the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States: “A state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications:
  1. a permanent population;
  2. a defined territory;
  3. government, and
  4. capacity to enter relations with the other states.” [1]

In Article 3 of the Convention: “The political existence of the state is independent of recognition by the other states.”

The Montevideo Convention is an example of the Declarative Theory of Statehood.[3] Fulfilling the requirements of the Montevideo Convention/Declarative Theory makes a particular society a sovereign state.


Authority of the Montevideo Convention:

The Montevideo Convention has been ratified by 17 states and is followed by the European Union [1 & 2]. It is considered as a restatement of customary international law (Declarative Theory), meaning it applies not only to the signatories, but also all subjects of international law. [2] 

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CONTENTION ONE: Taiwan Fulfills All Qualifications

The qualifications of a sovereign state have been defined above. A (summary of an) analysis of those terms can be described in source 3:

“The term 'permanent population' defines the community that has the intention to inhabit the territory permanently and is capable to support the superstructure of the State, though there is no requirement of a minimum population. The government must be capable of exercising effective control over a territory and population (the requirement known in legal theory as 'effective control test') and guarantee the protection of basic human rights by legal methods and policies. The 'capacity to enter into relations with other states' reflects the entity's degree of independence.” [3 cited from 4]

The ROC must have an intention to inhabit the territory permanently and capability to support the structure of the State.

The population of the ROC was around 23 million in 2019. In 2022, the live count sits around 24 million. There has been a consistent growth of the population since 1950.[5] Because of this consistent growth for more than 70 years, it is safe to assume that the population is permanent and has the intention to inhabit the ROC permanently.

The government of the ROC has successfully ruled over the island’s territories for 73 years. The democratic structure of the ROC has maintained itself for 35 years.[6] It is clear that the population has the capability to support the ROC and the government of the ROC.



The ROC must have a government capable of exercising effective control over a territory and population and guarantee the protection of basic human rights by legal methods and policies.

As shown in both of the Taiwan Strait Crises, the Republic of China has been able to hold almost all of its territory against invaders (most notably, the PRC).[8&9]  Since the strait crises, the ROC has not lost any of its territory, thus demonstrating effective control.

The ROC has demonstrated that its citizens can enjoy human rights. In a FreedomHouse report, the ROC received the highest score possible, and it is regarded as one of the most free nations in Asia. [7] Rights are obtained via legal methods and policies, and example of which is when the ROC legalized gay marriage.[7]


The ROC must have the capacity to enter into relations with other states. 

The ROC has trade relationships with the US, Japan, the PRC, and more.[10] The Republic of China has multiple treaties with other states, including the US. [11] It has formal diplomatic relations with 13 of the UN states, and informal relations with 58 of them. [12] Therefore, it has the capacity to enter into relations with other states.


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CONCLUSION

My argument is simple. The Montevideo Convention, Declarative Theory of Statehood, and customary international law provide qualifications for being a sovereign state. The Republic of China passes all of those qualifications with flying colors. Therefore, the Republic of China is a sovereign state.

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Sources:



Wikipedia is generally a reliable source of information. All claims taken from the Wikipedia article are cited with reliable sources in the article.

Con
I’m glad to be doing this debate after an extended break. I will restrain myself from rebutting Pro’s arguments (with the exception of definitions) this round and will save that for R2.

Key Definitions:
Con accepts the definition of the Republic of China (ROC) that Pro has put forward.

I will also put forward the following definitions:

Sovereign:  "complete power to govern a country" (Oxford English Dictionary)

Con accepts Pro's definition of independent.

People's Republic of China (PRC): The large East Asian country currently recognised by the United Nations (UN) as a permanent member state and permanent member of the Security Council. [1]

Definition of Sovereign State:
 
The commonly accepted standard of a sovereign nation-state is the following four tests:
  1. You must have a defined territory.
  2. You must have a permanent population.
  3. You must have a government.
  4. Your government must be capable of interacting with other states.

This test is supported by many international bodies, scholors and unquestioned soverign nations and is based in the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States 1933. [2] [3]

Con concedes RoC meets criterion two and three.

Argument 1.1: Defined Territory

The territory of the RoC is heavily disputed, with nothing in any treaty or agreement seperarating the area of Chinese Taipei from mainland China. As argued by the PRoC in the United Nations "Taiwan is an inseparable part of China's territory since antiquity" and "both the 1943 Cairo Declaration and the 1945 Potsdam Declaration have reaffirmed in unequivocal terms China's sovereignty over Taiwan as a matter of international law." [7] Under these conventions, the land is de jure inseperable and therefore, the RoC must either be the sovereign power of the entire China mainland and Chinese Taipai area or none of it.

The PRoC is notorious for its ability to ensure the laws passed by the state are enforced, with full political, military and legal power enforced over the 1.402 billion citizens. Even if Taiwan has that control over its 23.57 million citizens, only 1.66% of the Chinese citizenry would be under their control, and therefore the PRoC has a much stronger claim to having a defined territory that they have ultimate control over.

Argument 1.2: Capable of Interacting with Other States

Interacting with other states is a nebulous term and Con’s argument is that it must require full formal diplomatic and widespread reogntition as a sovereign state by other recognised international governmental bodies and other fully-recognised soverign states.

A key reason for this definition of interaction needing to be true is to clarify that status of countries such as Scotland. Scotland is not a sovereign country and does not claim to be, however, it comfortably has a defined territory, a permanent population and a government. Due to the ruling Scottish National Party’s (SNP) desire for independence, their Government (led by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon) has set up offices in Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Dublin, London, Ottawa, Paris and Washington D.C. Scotland is not sovereign, as it is a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland which is the sovereign nation recongised by all sovereign nations on the planet, which even the pro-independence parties and First Minister recognises. [6]


Full membership of the United Nations is commonly seen as a test as to if a nation holds sovereignty and therefore can have relations with other countries through the largest intergovernmental organisation in the world. The United Nations General Resolution 2758 removed the recognition of the RoC in favour of the PRoC which made the PRoC the sole legal representative of China. Both the RoC and the PRoC agree that there is only one China, however each claims to be that sole representative. The sovereign nations of the world decided in 1971 that the PRoC is that one sovereign nation and therefore the only one that can satisfy criterion four. [4]


Conclusion
As the RoC has not declared the founding of a new sovereign state and still claims to be the legitimate Government of the whole of mainland China and Chinese Taipai/Taiwan, and an area of land cannot be under the sovereign control of two sources of authority - a fact aknoldedged by the pro-Taiwanese independence paper the Taipei Times -, only one of the PRoC and RoC can be sovereign and the People’s Republic of China satisfies the criteria much more than the Republic of China. [5]

I look forward to the rest of this debate.

Sources

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