One China Committee Update 17
February, 2007


U S. opposes Taiwan's name change

In the daily press briefing February 9, in response to the question for comment on Taiwan President Chen's push to rename state-owned enterprises in Taiwan's overseas representative of offices from Republic of China to Taiwan, Sean McCormack, State Department Spokesman had the following to say:

The primary interest of the United States remains the maintenance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. The United States does not support Taiwan independence and opposes unilateral steps by either side that would change the status quo. As we have said many times before, we do not support administrative steps by Taiwan authorities that would appear to change Taiwan's status unilaterally or move towards independence. The United States does not, for instance, support changes in terminology for entities administered by Taiwan authorities. President Chen's fulfillment of his commitments will be a test of leadership, dependability and statesmanship, as well the ability to protect Taiwan's interests, its relations with others and to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

However, Taipei said the US warning will not deter it from pursuing the name-change campaign.
"This is our internal affair. Foreign countries have no right to interfere. We should carry it on," Yu Shyi-kun, secretary general of President Chen's independence-learning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), told reporters on February 10.

Taiwan embarks on dangerous road to statehood

Wrote David Chang, the Taiwanese leadership has launched a campaign to remove the word "China" from company names. The campaign began in October 2006 when President Chen Shui-bian changed Chiang Kai-shek International Airport, named after the late mainlander president, to Taoyuan International Airport as it is located in Taoyuan County near Taipei.
Last week Chen changed four company names: Chinese Petroleum Corp became Taiwan Chinese Petroleum Corp, China Shipbuilding Corp became Taiwan International Shipbuilding Corp, Chunghwa - a Mandarin word that means China - Post Co Ltd became Taiwan Post and the Central Bank of the Republic of China was changed to the Central Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
President Chen has hinted that all enterprise names which contain "China" and "Chinese" must be changed.
It is not clear where the name-change campaign will lead. Names which have yet to be rectified include: the Republic of China, China Airlines, Chinese Bank, Chinese Culture University, China Television Co, Chinese Television System, Broadcasting Corp of China, the Chinese-language China Times and the English-language China Post newspapers. (Source: David Chang, dpa German Press Agency, The Raw Story, Feb 10, 2007).

Lee Teng-hui distancing himself from Taiwan independence movement

Former president Lee Teng-hui, the so-called godfather of Taiwan independence movement, said he no longer hates China and even wants to visit China.

In an interview with Next weekly magazine January 31, Lee, 84, said he has received many invitations and would like to visit China. He downplayed his role as the main figure of Taiwan independence aspirations, saying: "Taiwan is already a sovereign state, so there is no need to seek Taiwan's independence."

Lee was Taiwan's president from 1988 to 2000. He was the first Taiwanese to become the president of Taiwan, which was ruled mainly by Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo - who fled to Taiwan after losing the Chinese civil war in 1949.

Lee abandoned the Chiang government's goal of recovering the mainland and advocated Taiwan independence, triggering sharp reaction from China. Beijing blasted him for attempting to split Taiwan from China. China reacted cautiously to the statements from its erstwhile antagonist.
(Source: Xinhua, Jan 31, 2007).

Also reported The China Post, former President Lee Teng-hui is now distancing himself from what he now terms as a "false issue," according to the Next magazine.

The "two states" theory he floated in the latter half of his rule to define cross-strait ties sent Beijing cutting off cross-strait talks and describing him as someone belonging to the "dustbin of history." Lee has since then earned himself the nickname as the "Godfather of Taiwan Independence."

"Many people say I'm the 'Godfather of Taiwan Independence.' But you can go take a look at the collection of my speeches and articles, which consist of 25 pieces, none of them stresses Taiwan independence," he noted. He said pursuing Taiwan independence is "back pedaling" because such a move would "demote" Taiwan to the status of a country that is not independent. It would also be a "dangerous" move because of concerns from the United States and China, he added.

Lee stressed that Taiwan independence is now a "false issue" that provides political camps with the excuse for their power struggle. He said he hopes the TSU's changes can help the party become the major centrist force in Taiwan.

Koo Kuan-min, a former adviser to President Chen Shui-bian, expressed regret and disbelief over Lee's remarks.

But Kuomintang Chairman Ma Ying-jeou, which Lee described in the interview as lacking "courage and determination," lauded the former president's shift in the pro-independence line.

People First Party spokesman Lee Hong-chun dismissed Lee's talks as a gimmick to win support for the TSU in the year-end legislative elections.

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Huang Kun-huei, who just took office earlier this month, followed Lee's line of argument that Taiwan is already a sovereign, independent country for which there is no need to pursue independence. (Source: The China Post, Feb. 1, 2007).

Hu called for peaceful unification of China

Chinese President Hu Jintao said in a New Year message on Monday that the Chinese mainland will actively promote exchanges and cooperation across the Taiwan Strait, safeguard peace and stability, and push ahead with peaceful reunification.

He called on Chinese people around the world to join hands to oppose "Taiwan independence" and work for the ultimate reunification of the Chinese nation.

Hu made the speech at a New Year tea party held by the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a top political advisory body composed of various political parties and people from all walks of life.

President Hu said that the mainland's Taiwan policy of "peaceful reunification" and "one country, two systems" will not change. In reiterating his four guiding principles regarding cross-Strait relations, Hu said the mainland will strictly adhere to the one-China principle, continue efforts to seek peaceful reunification, always place its hopes on the Taiwan people, and never compromise in the struggle against "Taiwan independence". (Source: Chinanews.cn, Jan 1, 2007),

President Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan used his address to reassert Taipei's claim to sovereignty independent of the mainland. In his New Year address, Chen said "the sovereignty of Taiwan belongs to its 23 million people, and it absolutely does not belong to the 'People's Republic of China'," according to a press release put out after his remarks. (Source: Reuters, Jan 3, 2007).