To Members and Friends

One China Committee

Update 33
April 2011

U.S. Policy toward the People's Republic of China testimony on Taiwan

Below is a part of the testimony with particularly reference to Taiwan before the U.S.-China Economic & Security Review Commission by Daniel J. Kritenbrink, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Washington, DC, on April 13, 2011:

US denies concerns over Taiwan-China ties

The US is positive about Taiwan's ever-closer economic relationship with China and rejects concerns that the cosy ties are not in Washington's interests, its de facto envoy to Taipei said Tuesday March 8 addressing 20th anniversary of Taiwan's quasi-official Straits Exchange Foundation.

William Stanton, the director of the American Institute in Taiwan, said Washington has welcomed the increased dialogue between the island and mainland since President Ma Ying-jeou came to power in 2008.

The foundation has been authorised by its government to play a key role in negotiations between Taiwan and its former bitter rival China, due to the lack of official contact.

The US diplomat especially welcomed the sweeping Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement signed by Taiwan and China last year. (Source: AFP, Mysinchew.com, Mar 8, 2011).

U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission 2010 Report on Taiwan

It supports improving cross-strait diplomatic relations, but not reunification. Randall G. Schriver, president and chief executive officer of the Project 2049 Institute was quoted saying:

"When asked what arrangement people would support for Taiwan in the absence of military threat from China, the numbers supporting independence have been steadily growing, and those supporting eventual unification a have been dropping. When people are allowed to answer 'status quo now' but something later, according to the Mainland Affairs Council in Taiwan, those believing that independence should come after status quo in Taiwan is on the rise, while those supporting unification after the status quo is on the decline (p. 148)

The Commission recommends that Congress pass a joint resulution reaffrming the importance of, and continued U.S. commitment to, the Taiwan Relations act of 1979. (P. 166).

Charles Glaser says United States should consider abandoning Taiwan to China

Charles Glaser, a professor of international affairs at George Washington University, has authored an article in Foreign Affairs proposing America abandon Taiwan.

Glaser writes China has made clear that it will use force if Taiwan declares independence, and much of Chinas conventional military buildup has been dedicated to increasing its ability to coerce Taiwan and reducing the United States ability to intervene.

Glaser asserts, A crisis over Taiwan could fairly easily escalate to nuclear war, because each step along the way might seem rational to the actors involved.

The United States might find itself following events rather than shaping them. Glaser acknowledges such dangers have been around for decades but, ongoing improvements in Chinas military capabilities may make Beijing more willing to escalate a Taiwan crisis.

Glaser says, Given such risks, the United States should consider backing away from its commitment to Taiwan.

Glaser continues: "This would remove the most obvious and contentious flash point between the United States and China and smooth the way for better relations between them in the decades to come.

The strategic ambiguity that surrounds Taiwans unresolved status gives Glaser a reason for his accommodation proposal: But the risks of reduced U.S. credibility for protecting allies when the status quo is crystal clear--as is the case with Japan and South Korea--should be small, especially if any change in policy on Taiwan is accompanied by countervailing measures.

The Foreign Affairs article did not address the Taiwan Relations Act or the San Francisco Peace Treaty. (Source:: Examiner.com, Mar 3, 2011).