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Letter from a Reader

In response to the 28 Feb. 2000 issue,
"Treating Taiwan Fairly"

I read your article on Taiwan. This is an extremely complex issue and I think you hit some good points. Taiwan does indeed get lots of support from the U.S. congress, although considerably less from this administration. (In their defense, the administration did say that China's white paper is "very unhelpful") Furthermore, our treaty with Taiwan pledges military support should the Communists use force.

As Taiwan clings to the "One China" policy, it does so at some cost. It is problematical for the rest of the world to recognize Taiwan as an independent nation if it doesn't see itself as such. It still holds the position that it is the sole legitimate government that represents all the 1.2 billion people of China, forcing nations to choose one or the other. So it will always have difficulties joining the brotherhood of nations in such organizations as WTO, UN, etc. until it becomes a bona fide nation. At this point in history, it (official as well as popularly) is reluctant to do so.

Instead, it has adopted (from what I can see as) a "One Divided China" policy where the government claims sovereignty over Taiwan and therefore should get a seat at these international bodies to represent the people in its territory. Meanwhile, the Communists will represent the people in its territory (as far as any Communist government represents its people). I think this model could work well for Taiwan. However, it IS a shift in Taiwan's stand and it DOES require a shift in all other nations' stands--including the Communist's. That shift is going to take time. (Taiwan is famous for its sophisticated lobby in Washington, so I'm sure Washington is slowly turning.) Obviously, the Communists are going to try to protect the status quo and keep Taiwan as isolated as possible.

     James Van Sloun
     Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
     28 February 2000

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