Friday, March 23, 2007

Taipei Times /March 14, 2007
Prize-winning piggies
A lantern inspired by the fairy story ``The Three Little Pigs'' is displayed in Hsinchu yesterday. The
lantern won first-place in the hanging lantern division in a competition held by the Hsinchu Du
Cheng Huang Temple.
Chen calls for three-party approach to Taiwan Strait
PUSHING PEACE: The president said the US and China can't ignore Taiwan's view in trying to
ensure stability in the Strait while criticizing Beijing's military budget
By Ko Shu-ling
Taipei Times /March 14, 2007
On the eve of the second anniversary of the passage of China's "Anti-Secession" Law,
President Chen Shui-bian urged the EU to retain its ban on arms sales to China and
for the US, Taiwan and China together to manage peace and stability in the Taiwan
Until China improves its human-rights record and relinquishes attempts to use
military force against Taiwan, Chen said the international community -- particularly
the EU -- should maintain its arms embargo against China.
The embargo was imposed following the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989.
Chen said, however, that Taiwan opposed the management of the "Taiwan issue" by
the US and China. He said Taiwan and those two countries should work together to
maintain peace, security and stability in the Strait.
Chen made the remarks while receiving John Hamre, president and CEO of the
Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, at the Presidential
Office yesterday morning.
Chen Ming-tong, professor at the National Taiwan University's Graduate Institute of
National Development, said that President Chen's call for the joint management of the
Strait's stability was made to counter the proposal made by some US academics that
the US and China co-manage the Taiwan issue.
"The president's goal is to establish the framework of `three party' talks," he said.
"However, China's attitude is key because it does not want to see the US interfere in
its `domestic affairs.'"
The president also urged China to learn from Taiwan's nationalization of its armed
forces so the People's Liberation Army (PLA) would serve the country and its people
rather than a particular party or individual.
He also asked China to practice genuine democratic elections that are free, fair and
"China should have elections so that political parties can enjoy fair competition,
opposition parties can be legally recognized and transfer of party power would be
possible," he said. "China should learn from Taiwan's democratization and allow its
Taipei Times /March 14, 2007
people to directly elect their national leaders and parliamentary representatives."
The president chastised China for legalizing its military ambition to attack Taiwan by
enacting the "Anti-Secession" Law after it failed to deter Taiwan's first free
presidential election in 1996 by firing live missiles into the Strait.
"The piece of legislation not only reflects China's hegemonic nature of indulging in
wars of aggression, but also imposes a great threat to the safety of the democratic
community in the Asia-Pacific region," he said.
China has increased its military budgets by double-digits since 1989 and the 17.8
percent growth in its defense budget this year was the biggest since 1989.
"We think such an increase goes far beyond its needs of self-defense," the president
said, adding that China's actual defense expenditure last year increased by 20 percent
compared with 2005.
In Beijing, Chinese President Hu Jintao urged the PLA to firmly adhere to ommunist
leadership, the People's Daily yesterday quoted Hu as saying.
"We must strictly abide by political and organizational discipline and ensure that the
army under all conditions and at all times firmly obeys the orders of the party's central
committee," Hu was quoted as telling military delegates at the National People's
"We must grasp the banner, obey the fundamental tenet of following the orders of the
party, and firmly arm our officers and soldiers with Marxism with Chinese
characteristics," he said.
`Anti-Secession' Law opposed: survey
By Jewel Huang
Taipei Times /March 14, 2007
A vast majority of Taiwanese disapprove of China's bid to change the cross-strait
status quo by passing its "Anti-Secession" Law two years ago and believe that the
people of Taiwan should be the only ones to have a say in determining the nation's
future, a new think tank survey shows.
More than 90 percent of respondents disagreed with China's attempts to change the
cross-strait status with the law, while nearly 80 percent think the Taiwanese should be
the only decision makers in determining Taiwan's future, the survey found.
The Taiwan Thinktank conducted the poll from last Friday through Sunday to see if
there had been a change in opinion since Beijing enacted the law two years ago today
and gathered a total of 1,067 valid responses.
According to the results, 91.2 percent of respondents said they opposed the enactment
of the "Anti-Secession" Law, 80.2 percent disagreed with China's claim that the law
met the interests of Taiwanese and 79.5 percent said it was up to the people of Taiwan
to determine the nation's future.
Only 14.5 percent of respondents believed that the people of China should also have a
say in Taiwan's future.
"The result showed that the `Anti-Secession' Law has not alienated the people of
Taiwan, it has provoked Taiwan to have a more consolidated consensus on its attitude
toward China," said Lo Chih-cheng, director of Soochow University's department of
political science, at the press conference to announce the results yesterday.
"Beijing got the reverse of what it wanted from the legislation," Lo said.
Tung Li-wen, deputy executive director of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy,
said the law had bogged China down in a "war of laws," especially in terms of
international law, which was China's weak point.
"This law was in response to internal pressure in China on the `Taiwan issue' yet
Beijing has been unable to define what [Taiwan's] independence is," he said.
The poll found 67.1 percent of respondents disagreed with the statement that China
had actively contacted Taiwanese opposition parties while refusing to talk with with
Taiwan's government.
Taipei Times /March 14, 2007
Almost half of respondents, 47.2 percent, said the law had a bad influence on
cross-strait relations, while 33 percent said it had not had any influence.
"This is a result of China using the carrot and the stick at the same time," said Hsu
Yung-ming, a research fellow in political science at Academia Sinica.
Meanwhile, a second opinion poll released by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)
yesterday said about half of its respondents want to see Taiwan independent.
The poll was conducted last Wednesday and Thursday and received 1,034 valid
It found that 50.4 percent of respondents favor independence while 33.9 percent
support unification with China. Those were the only two options offered.
As for national identity, 68 percent said they considered themselves Taiwanese while
16 percent said they identified with China.
"This is a `gift' to China from the Taiwanese people on the eve of the second
anniversary of the `Anti-Secession' Law," DPP Secretary-General Lin Chia-lung said
at a press conference.
Chinese AIDS activist says Beijing not helping
Gao Yaojie shakes her head, stabbing hard at the air with her forefinger, when asked if
the Chinese government is helping fund her efforts to expose the country's AIDS
"Not even a dime," the 79-year-old -- some say she is 80 -- AIDS activist said on
This is a message some Chinese authorities were reluctant to have Gao deliver in the
Taipei Times /March 14, 2007
Officials in Beijing had repeatedly blocked her from going abroad until finally
allowing this trip after her case received widespread media attention.
Gao said the government is beginning to understand the enormity of the AIDS
Speaking through an interpreter, the retired gynecologist praised Chinese President
Hu Jintao for allowing her to travel to Washington to receive an award this evening
honoring her work. She also praised high-ranking health officials.
But despite many changes in government attitudes, she said: "Sometimes they support
me; sometimes they don't."
She is tenacious in her efforts, using her own money and funds from foreign awards
she has received to pay for her work.
facing reality
Officials, she said, should "face the reality and deal with the real issues -- not cover it
In the 1990s, Gao embarrassed the Chinese government by exposing blood-selling
schemes that infected thousands with HIV, mainly in her home province of Henan.
Operators often used dirty needles, and people selling plasma -- the liquid in blood --
were replenished from a pooled blood supply that was contaminated with HIV.
Provincial officials initially attempted -- with some success -- to cover things up.
The Chinese government and the UN said China's problem of tainted blood has
But surviving victims face discrimination and have not been adequately compensated
for their suffering.
Gao has also faced difficulties because of her activism.
Taipei Times /March 14, 2007
In 2001, she was refused a visa to go to the US to accept an award from a UN group.
In 2003 she was prevented from going to the Philippines to receive a public service
Last month, authorities kept her under virtual house arrest for about 20 days to keep
her from traveling to Beijing to arrange a visa for the US.
Gao says she persists in her work because "everyone has the responsibility to help
their own people. As a doctor, that's my job. So it's worth it."
John Tkacik on Taiwan: What exactly is the `status quo'?
By John Tkacik
`It is vital that the US administration, and particularly Bush and his successors,
sympathize with the existential challenge facing Taiwan.'
On May 18 last year, President Chen Shui-bian told visiting European legislators,
"Over the past 50 years, the status quo across the Taiwan Strait has been that on one
side, there is a democratic Taiwan, and on the other, there is an authoritarian China.
Neither of the two countries are subordinate to each other, because they are two
independent sovereignties. Both sides have their own national title, national flag,
national anthem, legislature, judicial system and military." Given the textbook
definition of "status quo," this seems reasonable, at least to me.
On March 4, Chen made another of his periodic comments on Taiwan's status quo,
this time saying that Taiwan's only problem was its national identity. The following
day in Washington, US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack was asked,
"Can you make the link in one sentence saying that President Chen's comments are
unhelpful or can you not say that?"
To which McCormack responded with the non sequitur, "I don't have anything to add
to the statement that I have read." The statement he had just read had nothing to do
with the validity of what Chen had said, but simply noted that "[US] President
Taipei Times /March 14, 2007
[George W.] Bush has repeatedly underscored his opposition to unilateral changes to
the status quo by either Taipei or Beijing because these threaten regional peace and
Chen's observations on Taiwan's status quo are indeed "provocative" to Beijing's
leaders, but they at least have the advantage of being true and consequently need not
be provocative in Washington. This is because Washington presumably has an interest
in maintaining the status quo in the Taiwan Strait -- the status quo that Chen
On Dec. 9, 2003, Bush chastised "Taiwan's leader?" -- Chen -- for making comments
that "indicate that he may be willing to make decisions unilaterally that change the
status quo, which we oppose." Bush was apparently referring to the "Taiwanese
leader's" comments about a democratic referendum on Taiwan that would express
Taiwanese indignation at being the target, at the time, of 350 Chinese short-range
ballistic missiles.
Yet, far from threatening a unilateral change by Taipei in the status quo, the Taiwanese
referendum was meant to protest Beijing's military moves to change the status quo.
The Bush administration has since tried to rearticulate a somewhat conditioned
position which insists that the US is committed to "our `one China' policy" and
"opposes" any move by China or Taiwan to "change unilaterally" the "status quo as
we define it."
On April 21, 2004, a glimmering of this position came in a public statement by then
US assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific Affairs James Kelly, who
enumerated for the House International Relations Committee "core principles" of US
policy in the Taiwan Strait:
* "The United States remains committed to our one-China policy based on the three
Joint Communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act;
* "The US does not support independence for Taiwan or unilateral moves that would
change the status quo as we define it;
* "For Beijing, this means no use of force or threat to use force against Taiwan. For
Taipei, it means exercising prudence in managing all aspects of cross-strait relations.
Taipei Times /March 14, 2007
For both sides, it means no statements or actions that would unilaterally alter Taiwan's
Beyond that third point, Kelly had to admit he was "not sure" he "very easily could
define ... `our' one China policy." Nonetheless he continued, "I can tell you what it is
not." It is not the "one China" principle that Beijing suggests, and it may not be the
definition that some would have in Taiwan. Alas, that is as close as a State
Department official has ever come to defining "our one China policy" in private or in
public. Nor, as it happens, has any US official ever "defined" the "status quo as we
define it."
Which raises two core questions for US policy: First, what are the "use of force" and
the "threat of force" and what, exactly, is Taiwan's status, as far as the US is
concerned? And second, what is the US going to do if either side does something the
US "does not support?"
The fact is that Washington has no answers to these core questions -- either publicly
or in confidential policy documents circulated among decisionmakers. Hence,
Washington's political leaders should not be surprised when Washington's Delphic
pronouncements are interpreted arbitrarily in both Beijing and Taipei.
Actually, Beijing just ignores Washington. In 2003, the Chinese People's Liberation
Army deployed 350 ballistic missiles targeted on Taiwan, and by February last year
there were more than 700. In March 2005, Beijing's "legislature" passed a law giving
the Central Military Commission the authority to launch a military strike against
Taiwan whenever it feels like it. And there was little or no public comment from
On Feb. 27 last year, US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli was asked, apropos
of something Chen had said a day earlier, "Do you think Chen Shui-bian's move is a
change of the status quo, and what is the US definition of the status quo?" Ereli tried
to turn the question around: "President Chen has said that he is committed to the
status quo and that he is committed to the pledges in his inaugural speech." But the
questions persisted: "I just want to get this right. So you don't consider this as a
change of status quo?" To which the cornered Ereli could only admit: "You know, I'm
not going to define it further than I already have." Needless to say, he hadn't defined it
at all. Chen himself might therefore be excused if he doesn't quite have a clear picture
of the status quo -- as Washington defines it.
Taipei Times /March 14, 2007
The US Defense Department is a bit clearer on the concept. On March 16 last year,
US Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Rodman observed that, in his opinion,
"When there are zero ballistic missiles opposite the Taiwan Strait, and a few years
later there are 700, that's a change in the status quo." But the Pentagon doesn't make
Taiwan policy, the State Department does, and therein lies the rub.
Rather than being reactive to changes in the status quo in the Taiwan Strait,
Washington needs a proactive policy that pre-empts such "changes" or sanctions them
when the changes become too extreme. This is far more important in managing
Chinese attacks on what might be called the "real status quo" than Taiwan's desperate
efforts to articulate the state that actually exists. It would therefore be a useful
exercise, before trying to react to some change in the status quo, for Bush's National
Security Council to actually define "the status quo as we define it," -- even in a
classified document if that is really needed.
What follows are some specific pre-emptive countermeasures that would signal our
increasing pressure on China and Taiwan:
The White House should clearly state that the 1,000-plus missiles facing Taiwan are
provocative. Imagine that these missiles were arrayed by Iran against Israel or North
Korea against Japan -- 1,000 Chinese missiles aimed at Taiwan should be no less
alarming. Washington must not allow itself to be a hostage to these weapons.
If Washington cannot convince China to dismantle these missiles, which have indeed
changed the status quo and are not of a defensive nature, then the US administration
should consider adopting late US president Ronald Reagan's "Zero Option" response
to the Soviet "intermediate nuclear force" in Europe. Reagan and then British prime
minister Margaret Thatcher gained support for the deployment of Pershing II missiles
in West Germany as a strategic response to Soviet deployments of SS-20 missiles in
Eastern Europe.
This would mean supporting Taiwan's development of ballistic or cruise missiles
capable of hitting Chinese targets in an effort to augment the negligible deterrent
value (despite their significant defensive value) of Taiwan's anti-ballistic missile
defense systems.
The White House should also reaffirm Reagan's so-called "six assurances" of July 14,
1982, that the US would neither seek to mediate between the People's Republic of
Taipei Times /March 14, 2007
China (PRC) and Taiwan, nor "exert pressure on Taiwan to come to the bargaining
table." Of course, the US is also committed to make available defensive arms and
defensive services to Taipei to help Taiwan meet its self-defense needs. The US does,
after all, "believe a secure and self-confident Taiwan is a Taiwan that is more capable
of engaging in political interaction and dialogue with the PRC."
It is vital that the US administration, and particularly Bush and his successors,
sympathize with the existential challenge facing Taiwan, rather than harangue the
nation's leaders about Washington's precious, yet undefined "status quo."
The one thing that Taiwan's democratically elected leaders at either end of the
political blue-green spectrum simply cannot, and will not, do is to compromise the
legitimacy of the Republic of China's governance. Sovereignty over Taiwan, they
insist, belongs solely to the people of Taiwan, and in no way to the "sole legal
government of China" in Beijing.
The US government must also understand that so long as Taiwan refuses to accept
Beijing's sovereignty, Beijing's long-term strategy will be to isolate Taiwan in the
international community to the most extreme extent possible.
Thus, when China gets obstreperous on the Taiwan issue, White House and Cabinet
spokespersons should publicly articulate the common-sense stance that "the United
States does not recognize or accept that China has any right whatsoever under
international law to use or threaten the use of force against democratic Taiwan." (This
has the advantage of actually being US policy, but it has never been stated in public.)
In background to journalists and reporters, US "senior officials" could explain that
even a Taiwanese declaration of independence would just be "words on paper" and
would not change any country's behavior or affect China's security posture? This
wording would make it clear that the US does not now recognize, and never has
recognized, China's territorial claims to Taiwan.
Finally, a diplomatic deal might be struck with the "elected leaders of Taiwan" that
they would refrain from verbal challenges to the so-called status quo in the Strait in
return for authoritative US expressions of support like those described above.
Without a formal and detailed definition of "the status quo as we define it,"
Washington simply cedes the terms of the debate to Beijing and Taipei while US
Taipei Times /March 14, 2007
diplomats are left to flounder around reactively as tensions heighten. That is a recipe
for a catastrophe.
The term status quo means "the state in which [anything is]"; existing conditions;
unchanged position. (Harper Dictionary of Foreign Terms, Third Edition.)
John Tkacik, Jr. is senior research fellow of the Heritage Foundation.

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