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Taiwan: China-free Zone

Opinion Editorial
January 14, 2008

By Mike Krause

In his second inaugural address, President Bush told the nations of the world, “When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.”

The Asian nation of Taiwan is a young and dynamic representative democracy, so you might think the U.S. gladly stands with Taiwan in its desire for United Nations membership and international recognition…you are wrong.

Instead, the Bush administration is so eager to oppose Taiwan’s UN bid in order to continue appeasing Communist China that, as Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo has pointed out, State Department bureaucrats have actually helped prop up China’s threats of violence against Taiwan.

After more than a decade of being turned down for UN membership under its traditional name “Republic of China,” Taiwan is planning a national referendum in March 2008 over whether to formally apply for UN membership under the name “Taiwan.”

Calling the move a “provocative policy,” U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters in December that the U.S. opposes the referendum and flatly stated, “We have a One China policy and we do not support independence for Taiwan.”
America’s “one China” policy recognizes China’s claim of sovereignty over Taiwan-even though it is plainly obvious that Taiwan functions as an independent state-and that only Beijing may represent Taiwan’s 23 million citizens in international organizations.

But “one China” is outdated and weak, going back to a 1972 “joint communique” issued by U.S. President Richard Nixon and Chinese Dictator Mao Tse-Tung. Since then Taiwan has transformed itself from an authoritarian regime into precisely the kind of country the U.S. should be supporting.

The Washington D.C.-based Heritage Foundation’s 2007 Index of Economic Freedom ranks Taiwan as the 26th freest economy in the world, with a score of over 71 percent, and describes Taiwan as one of Asia’s “most dynamic democracies.”
China, on the other hand, remains an authoritarian regime.
Secretary Rice continued, “We oppose any threat to use force and any unilateral move by either side to change the status quo” with regard to China’s claim over Taiwan.

If this were actually the case, Secretary Rice would be condemning Beijing rather that Taiwan for both threatening force and unilaterally changing the “status quo.”
In 2005, China enacted an anti-secession law which codified China’s already long-standing threats against Taiwan. Article eight of the law mandates the use of “non-peaceful” means against Taiwan if, among other things, “a major event occurs which would lead to Taiwan’s separation from China.”

Beijing already has stated that Taiwan’s planned referendum represents such a “major event.”

In August 2007, Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte-sounding like a public relations hack for Beijing-told Chinese media that Taiwan’s planned referendum constitutes a move “towards a declaration of independence for Taiwan.”

In response, Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo noted that Negropontes comment supports “precisely the kind of justification the Chinese are searching for to invoke article eight of the so-called anti succession law.” Tancredo, a member of the House Taiwan Caucus, and one of Taiwan’s biggest supporters in Congress, continued, “If Mr. Negropontes goal was to help validate a future Chinese attack on the Island, then he most certainly succeeded.”

China’s claim over Taiwan is so weak that Beijing has to back it up with hundreds of missiles pointed at Taiwan and threats of invasion. As Tancredo went on to ask, “And what about China’s ongoing missile buildup opposite Taiwan on its southeastern coast? Why does the [State] Department not speak out more frequently and forcefully about this change in the status quo?”

So in the State Department’s pandering to an authoritarian regime-and one of the world’s great human rights violators-the purely offensive missiles that China has pointed at Taiwan, and Beijing’s repeated threats of violence against Taiwan are the “status quo,” while Taiwan’s desire for self-determination is “provocative.”

Tancredo reminded Secretary Rice that Taiwan is standing for its own freedom, “Its people should be applauded, not chastised, for exercising the rights and freedoms they have earned during their long journey from dictatorship to democracy.”

Tancredo is not alone; other Colorado Representatives in the now more than 150 member Taiwan Caucus include Doug Lamborn, Marilyn Musgrave and Mark Udall, making the Colorado Congressional Delegation’s support for Taiwan both bi-partisan and strong.

So while it is unlikely that the current administration will change its tune and “stand with” Taiwan’s UN bid, hopefully Taiwan’s Congressional supporters in Colorado can keep up the pressure on the State Department to at least stop standing with Beijing’s threats against democratic Taiwan.

Originally Appeared in the Colorado Daily