New Members Since Last UpdateDr. Beverly Hong-Fincher (DC), Sociolinguist
Press Conference on April 1, 2006
At the press conference April 1, the Chicago Public Library Chinatown Branch, Chicago, the One China Committee issued a statement:
President Bush will welcome China's President Hu Jintao to the White House on April 20. The visit is an opportunity for the President to work with the Chinese leader on a number of areas of mutual interest and to make progress in resolving outstanding differences. The two leaders will discuss full range of regional and international issues, including the war on terror, non-proliferation, trade, currency, advancing freedom, promoting prosperity, and the difficult issue of Taiwan.
Taiwan's President Chen Shui-pian's announcement on February 28 of "ceasing " the National Unification Council and Unification Guidelines indicates clearly his intention to move to an independent Taiwan. His announcement not only irritates China, but also raises the eyebrow of the United States. On March 2, U.S. State Department issued a statement of objection which reads in part "we expect the Taiwan authorities publicly to correct the record and unambiguously affirm that the February 27 [February 28 in Taiwan] announcement did not abolish the National Unification Council, did not change the status quo, and that the [Chen's] assurances remain in effect. Our firm policy is that there should be no unilateral change in the status quo, as we have said many times."
There is an emerging school in the United States suggesting that Taiwan is not an issue worth the United States to be involved, if it will cause a conflict between China and Taiwan. Congressman Randy Forbes considers that merging Taiwan with China can be achieved within 10 years and it is foolish for Taiwan to pursue independence. A new book, Americas Coming War with China: A Collision Course over Taiwan [noted below], by Ted Galen Carpenter, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute, published January this year points out that one issue that could lead to a disastrous war between the United States and China is the fate of Taiwan. Washington officially endorses a "one China" policy but also sells arms to Taiwan and maintains an implicit pledge to defend it from attack. That vague, muddled policy invites miscalculation by Taiwan or China or both. Carpenter explains that the United States will be unwise to engage in a collision course with China because of Taiwan and suggests what the United States must do quickly to avoid being dragged into war.
Stephen Young, President of AIT, discourages Taiwan's independence and urges dialogue between China and Taiwan. KMT chairman Ma Ying-jiou, after his recent visit to the States, states that the United States will not be on the side of Taiwan if Taiwan unilaterally pursues independence.
The United States stands as a barrier to unification of China. But recent development including Chen's miscalculated, yet self-defeating, action appears to have moderated U.S. stance. The ball appears to be in China's hand to pursue peaceful unification.
Deputy Secretary Robert Zoellick on Taiwan
In his presentation on U.S.-China relations before the Committee on International Relations, U.S. House of Representatives on May 10, Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick made six points on the Taiwan issues: (1) U.S. maintains our "one China policy": (2) three communiques, Taiwan Relations Act; (3) assisted Taiwan's accession to APEC and WTO as an economy; (4) U.S. makes defensive articles available to Taiwan; (5) no unilateral change in status quo by either side of Taiwan Strait; and need for direct dialogue, including with elected leaders of Taiwan.
In responding to complaints about how Taiwan's president was treated during a recent visit to Latin America, he said "we want to be supportive of Taiwan, while we're not encouraging those that try to move toward independence. Because let me be very clear: Independence means war." Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif., suggested the U.S. failed to accord President Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan with the proper respect because the Bush administration allegedly refused to let him choose the U.S. city he would use for transit. "There are big stakes here ... where lives can be lost." Reported by Foster Klug of AP May 10, the diplomatic spat began last week when Chen rejected an offer to stop for refueling in Alaska en route to and from Paraguay and Costa Rica, because he viewed it as a slight to Taiwan's dignity.
Views on the Taiwan Issue
China: The Balance Sheet, by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Institute for International Economics. (N.Y.: Public Affairs, 2006).
A rising China has an increasingly financial impact on American prosperity and security, calling for some clear-eyed thinking and rough economic, political, and security choices. Getting the U.S. policy toward China right.
China has scores of economic success: China has lifted more than 200 million people out of poverty; in 2006, exchange reserves will likely reach $1 trillion; China is second only to the United States as a recipient of foreign direct investment; $1,700 per capita Chinese economy of today; China has over 390 mobile phone subscribers, 111 million Internet users, 285,000 officially registered nongovernmental organizations; China has some 140 million migrants on the move; and estimated 70 million practicing Christmas
In China's economic relations with the United States, it states "China stands as the United States third largest trading partner and its second largest source of imports, shipping more than n an eighth of what America buys from abroad. Sino-dollar s get recycled to purchase American debt, helping finance the sizable U.S. consumers and government spending deficits. Today, Chinese authorities are the second largest foreign official creditor to the United States, holding hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. financial assets."
Even though China and United States have important differences, both countries have similar and common interests in many aspects. They should pursue constructive relationships to solve bilateral differences and address global problems of mutual concern.. They should avoid hostilities in the Taiwan Strait. "both countries will require significant shifts in their present mindsets to realize their common interests and indeed to reduce the risk of confrontational scenarios in the future. To begin, they will need to redouble current efforts to resolve bilateral problems, while at the same time steadily working to alleviate strategic mistrust that lingers beneath the surface of the relationship."
On the Taiwan issue, the book considers military conflict between China and Taiwan is not inevitable. When it to occur, however, it would very likely lead to serious political, and potentially military, conflict between the United States and China. U.S. policy toward the Taiwan impasse has been primarily concerned with process; the United States urges that any resolution be peaceful and non-coercive (thus pursuing a declared policy of "peaceful resolution" rather than Beijing's "peaceful reunification"). Washington also has declared its opposition to unilateral actions by either side to change the status quo. But, the ball of unifying China is in China's hand to display more creativity in its approach to Taiwan to truly win the hearts and minds of the island's people in order to ensure the peaceful achievement of unification.
Ted Galen Carpenter, America's Coming War with China: A Collision Course over Taiwan (Palgrave, 2006). Dr. Carpenter is vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute.
The book provides a fine analysis of U.S.-China relations on Taiwan. The author raised questions about America's unclear, inconsistent, and ambiguous policy. Such a policy incites manipulation by both Taiwan and China and miscalculation which may lead into military conflict with China. According to Carpenter, both the accommodation and the ultra-hawkish approaches to the Taiwan issue do not work for the interest of the United States. In particular, the ultra-hawkish approach will be irresponsible and disastrous. Preserving Taiwan's de facto independence is not worth risking war with China. He offers a balanced and prudent Taiwan policy. Selling Taiwan weapons is a reasonable course of action, but the United States should make it clear and firm that the United States will not become involved in any armed struggle between Taiwan and China if a conflict between Taiwan and China occurs
China's New Great Leap Forward: High Technology and Military Power in the Next Half-Century. Hudson Institute, 2005
China's rising high technology and military power pose a challenge to the United States. The United States must address It gives four China-Taiwan conflict scenarios: (1) seize the initiative early by forcing an adversary to react to China's move; (2) pursue limited strategic aims, by winning and securing Taiwan with a fait accompli to avoid harming any of the United States' main interest; (3) strike five "key points": command systems, information system, weapon systems, logistics systems, and the linkage among these; and (4) avoid direct confrontation, by defeating a handful of critical defenses; and (5) utilize high technology war and prepare against the military intervention.
Taiwan's Military of Defense is focused on what it believes would be blickrieg attempt on the PRC's part to retake Taiwan. The United States should plan seriously for China's development of weapons of greater complexity and power. China may very well decide to fight against the United States.
Richard C. Bush, Untying the Knot: Making Peace in the Taiwan Strait. (Brookings Institution Press, 2005). Mr. Bush is former chairman and managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan, based in Washington, D.C.
The book is another fine analysis of Taiwan-China relations. The author points out three aggravating factors on the relations: (1) the impact of domestic politics in each country, as in Taiwan, there is a strong Taiwanese identity and significant fear of outsiders; (2) decision-making on each side on the cross-Strait issue is centralized and personalized; and (3) the zero-sum leverage game, that is there is little that Taiwan can do to influence Chinese politics. Bush cautions the danger that both sides consider that time favors its adversary. For some forces in Taiwan to conclude that the only way to secure the future is to go for independence while China is relatively weak and constrained by the Olympics, whereas to China, preemptive military action is needed to keep the door to unification from closing. The danger is to invite unnecessary conflict. Both sides should take option of shaping the current situation to maximize their shared interests and minimize the risk of a foolish conflict.