Update 15, September 2006


This Update is sent to OCC Members and friends

New Members Since Last Update

Ms. Idolde Chen (PA), retired scientist
Ms. Si Chen (IL), Librarian
Mr. Yuanjun Liang (IL), President, Chicago Free Mason Association
Yong Gao Wang, MD (IL)

Press Conference and Forum on September 9

The One China Committee held a press conference and forum at 1:00 p.m. at the Chicago Chinatown Public Library. The topic is "Kleptocracy and the Future of Taiwan." The conference and forum are jointly sponsored with Peaceful Unification Council and Advocating Unification Association. In addition to reporters, Si Chen, P.M. Chang, Edward Ho, Alexander Hugh, Ke-Yin Kilburm, Yuanjung Laing, Tze-chung Li, Chung Yuh Liu, Hong Liu, Jack Liu, Jim Metcaufe, Kwok Moy, Yu-hua Wei, Cathy Wang, Jian Wang, Yong Gao Wang, and Jane Wu attended

President Bush's statement on anti-kleptocracy

President Bush's statement on kleptocracy August 10:

Protesters call on Taiwan's president to step down

Reports the Washington Post, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Taiwan's capital Saturday demanding the resignation of President Chen Shui-bian, whose family members and close aides have been embroiled in a string of corruption scandals. Organizers of the mostly peaceful rally said the protesters' numbers swelled to 200,000, but police put the figure at 70,000. The rally, one of the first not to be sponsored by either Chen's party or the opposition, was led by Shih Ming-teh, former chairman of Chen's ruling Democratic Progressive Party. Shih, a former mentor of Chen's, was a prisoner for more than two decades for opposing the authoritarian rule of the Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang. Taiwanese intellectuals who formerly supported Chen, including artists, novelists and key members of bar associations, have joined the push for his resignation.

The Washington Post also quotes one of the protesters: "We hope our president can step down," said Lee Huang-ming, who works at a state-run enterprise. "He is corrupt, and his family is corrupt. He is not suited to our times." (Source: Jane Rickards, The Washington Post, Sep 10, 2006).

According to AP, police estimated 90,000 people jammed a broad boulevard adjacent to the ornate Presidential Office Building in Taipei. Protest leader Shih Ming-teh said Taiwan would be paralyzed of Chen served out his term, which ends in May 2008.

Chen admitted his office had used false invoices in the accounting of the diplomatic fund. In July, his son-in-law was indicted for alleged insider trading, a charge he denies. First lady Wu Shu-chen is alleged to have involved in corruption scandals.

The campaign against Chen is a People's movement. Within six working days, more than a million people signed up to support the campaign, donating a symbolic NT$100, a little more than US$3, each. The speed and the scale took many by surprise. Shih Ming-teh, meanwhile, believes the momentum he has created is a watershed moment in Taiwan's political history (Source: Caroline Gluck, BBC News, Sep 9, 2006).

Douglas H. Paal, "Some Reflections on My Time in Taiwan"

Douglas H. Paal, former AIT director, gave a talk on his reflection in Taiwan at the CNAPS (Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies) Roundtable Luncheon on Thursday, July 13 at the Brookings Institution. On cross-strait relations, Paal said

Peace has prevailed in the Taiwan Strait despite the PRC's military buildup and renewed focus on Taiwan. Nevertheless, in the 1990s, new trends emerged that foreshadowed rising tensions. Naturally, Taiwan's energetic democracy yearned for more international signs of respect. Taiwan's identity became a matter of domestic debate.

China, for its part, initially felt aggrieved for being shunned over the Tiananmen incident,and it demonstrated new concerns about possible American containment efforts.

Events involving the visit to Cornell University by former President Lee Teng-hui, and his subsequent declaration that cross-strait relations were between two states got China's leaders'backs up, and they began a serious search for increased military means to restrain Taiwan.

It was the start of double-digit PRC defense budget growth. The U.S. itself began to respond with new weapons offered to Taiwan and upgrading the U.S. regional posture in case of a crisis. The Taiwan Relations Act compels any U.S. president to be prepared.

China was all the more shocked when President Chen Shui-bian was elected in 2000.First, it was apparently unforeseen by Beijing, which never likes surprises. Second, as a leader of the opposition DPP, Chen was seen as Beijing's worst nightmare come true.

Subsequently, despite understandings reached between Washington and Taipei about the need for restraint in cross-strait affairs, the PRC buildup and estrangement of Taiwan continued, even as a million or so Taiwanese fully plunged into the mainland economy and society.

Over the past two years, however, there have been many signs that Beijing has been reevaluating its tactics toward Taiwan. It has adjusted policy, hopefully, in a less menacing direction. Leaders of the KMT and PFP parties were invited to meet China's leaders and received extraordinary hospitality.

China adjusted its policy preferences from insisting on reunification to insistence on no secession or independence by Taiwan for the time being, raising the threshold for tensions to reach crisis levels.

The anti-secession law sounded tough and provoked strong reactions, but it may have created maneuvering room for the new PRC leader, Hu Jintao, to relax tensions.

Today, the PRC and U.S. articulate their interests in peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait region. Although these policies are expressed differently by each side, the common meaning is clear. . .

Recently, my admittedly anecdotal method of sensing this generational change was improved upon by research undertaken by Professor Chu Yun-han, of National Taiwan University. He notes that while more and younger people are holding fast to their Taiwan identity, the political implications of their views have changed. People conceiving themselves exclusively Taiwanese do not necessarily support the DPP, support Taiwan independence, hate China, or are opposed to three links. This suggests to me that the predictions of a few years ago, the ethnic identity combined with an overwhelming majority of Taiwanese under a democratic system would necessarily lead to a crisis with China, were inaccurate. There is a growing likelihood this will not be so. . .

CRS report concerns Taiwan cross-strait stability

Reports World Journal, a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, expresses concerns on the Taiwan situation. The report, "China-U.S. Relations: Current Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy," updated July 14, by Kerry Dumbaugh,Specialist in Asian Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division. On Taiwan, it states in part:

Taiwan, which the PRC considers a "renegade province," remains the most sensitive issue the two countries face and the one many observers fear could lead to potential Sino-U.S. conflict. Late in 2004 PRC officials created more tension in the relationship by passing an "anti-secession" law (adopted in March 2005) aimed at curbing Taiwan independence. U.S. officials regarded the action as provocative and unconstructive. In February 2006, Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian suspended the activities of the National Unification Council, a symbol of Taiwan's commitment to unification with China, citing in part the 2005 anti-secession law as a reason for his action. Both the PRC and Taiwan moves have raised U.S. concerns about cross-strait stability.

In an earlier update in March 2006, "Taiwan: Recent Developments and U.S. Policy Choices," also by Kerry B. Dumbaugh, states U.S. policy choices in view of the recent Taiwan's development. Its summary is as follows:

Under the Bush Administration, U.S.-China-Taiwan relations have undergone a number of changes. Initially, the new Administration seemed to abandon the long-standing U.S. policy of "strategic ambiguity" on Taiwan in favor of "strategic clarity" that placed more emphasis on Taiwan's interests and lesson PRC concerns. Among other things, PresidentBush publicly stated that the United States would do "whatever it takes" to help Taiwan's defense -- a position more supportive of Taiwan than had been articulated by previous U.S. presidents. In April 2001, the President also approved a substantial sale of U.S. weapons to Taiwan, including Kidd-class destroyers, anti-submarine P-3 "Orion" aircraft, and diesel submarines. The White House also was more accommodating to visits from Taiwan officials than previous U.S. Administrations, and permitted visits from Taiwan's president in 2001 and 2003, and from Taiwan's vice president and defense minister in 2002. The Administration's initially assertive posture was in keeping with growing congressional sentiment that greater U.S. support was needed for Taiwan's defense needs, particularly given the PRC's military build-up in southern China. Members undertook a number of bipartisan initiatives to focus more U.S. attention on Taiwan and raise its international stature. These included House establishment of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus in 2002, and Senate establishment of the Senate Taiwan Caucus in 2003. But President Bush's first term has been a time of increasing complexity and unpredictability in Taiwan's political environment.

Since 2000, the long-ruling Nationalist Party (KMT) has been handed a series of stunning defeats, most recently losing the presidential election of March 20, 2004, to incumbent Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Chen Shui-bian by a razor-thin margin. Chen has been able to seize the political initiative by disavowing the concepts long embraced by his KMT opponents: that there is "one China," that Taiwan is a part of it, and that Chinese history and culture are Taiwan's heritage. Instead, Chen has emphasized a "new Taiwan identity" and has said publicly that Taiwan already "is an independent, sovereign country" -- a "status quo" that he promises to maintain. Legislative elections held on December 11, 2004, however, suggest that Taiwan's electorate appeared to reject the more strident aspects of the DPP's election strategy, instead returning a slim KMT majority to the legislature.

As in Chen's first term, it appears that continued opposition control of the legislature could lead to policy gridlock, with the legislature amending or blocking DPP policy initiatives. Political trends in Taiwan have raised anxieties about its future and the implications for U.S. policy. Some are concerned that a continued emphasis on "Taiwan identity" may lead to ethnic polarization and conflict. Others are concerned about the implications that these trends have for a possible declaration of Taiwan independence, which Beijing has vowed to "pay any price" to prevent. In recent months, political developments in Taiwan appear to be causing the Bush Administration to dial back its earlier enthusiasm for supporting Taiwan.

U.S. officials now appear to be balancing criticisms of the PRC military buildup opposite Taiwan with periodic cautions and warnings to the effect that U.S. support for Taiwan is not unconditional, but has limits. This issue brief tracking the situation in Taiwan will be updated as events warrant.

U.S. walks fine line with China on Taiwan

Reports Peter Enav, U.S. support of Taiwan is not unconditional. Below is a part of his report:

Taiwan's annual war games are the showcase of its readiness to repel an attack by neighboring China, and they also serve as a reminder that the island's back-up muscle comes from Washington, long its major supporter. The exercise highlights a rivalry that potentially could draw the United States into a conflict with China.

China and Taiwan split in 1949, and since then Beijing has never abandoned its position that the island is part of its territory, to be recovered by force if necessary.

Chinese purchases of American debt, which sustain the value of the U.S. dollar, would almost certainly evaporate if the U.S. sided with Taiwan in a confrontation over the island.

In 2002 Bush pledged to "help Taiwan defend itself if provoked." But U.S. support for Taiwan is hardly open-ended. Earlier this year it complained when President Chen Shui-bian scrapped the government body charged with overseeing eventual union with the mainland.

Washington's criticisms of Chen's actions symbolize the fine line it must tread between supporting separateness without letting it become permanent. "We want to be supportive of Taiwan, while we're not encouraging those that try to move toward independence," Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick told a congressional hearing. "Because let me be very clear: Independence means war."

According to U.S.-Taiwan defense doctrine, the Taiwanese military would have to fight an invasion alone for at least four days until American naval forces arrive. But China could also go with a so-called decapitation strategy -- coordinated commando attacks and pinpoint bombing of the island's leaders and key institutions to paralyze the island before American reinforcements can arrive. (Source: Peter Enav, AP, San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 12, 2006).

New book suggesting dump of Taiwan

Showdown: Why China Wants War with the United States, by Jed Rabbin and Edward Timperlake. (Regnery Publishng,2006)

The book is both an essay and a fiction, presenting hawkish and provocative view on China's fast growing military strength which poses a threat to American security. They suggest that the United States should deter China's "aggressive ambitions." There is possible certainty of war with China. With respect to Taiwan, they stated: " President Bush and his successors must take a 'tough force' approach with the Taiwanese. If the Taiwanese are unwilling to spend the necessary money to defend themselves they should be told in unmistakable terms that we will not spend blood and treasure in their defense. The Taiwanese need a big dose of reality." (p. 150) .



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