Category: Opinion

Opinion letters
by Various Authors

The AP report of 3-10-2000 is the latest effort by Beijing to try to scare away the U.S. support of tiny Taiwan, the most free and prosperous part of China. Of course those on the mainland want to take over Taiwan, claiming that it was always a part of China, even before the communists drove out Chang Kai Shek and made him flee to Taiwan.

Read here an interesting 'tongue in cheek' scenario to resolve the impass.Send us your comment.

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China Foreign Minister Accuses U.S.

.c The Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) - Warning that U.S.-Chinese relations faced a critical juncture over Taiwan, China's foreign minister demanded Friday that Washington end the military support for the island that he said has emboldened pro-independence Taiwanese.

Tang Jiaxuan called on Washington to ``immediately stop its sale of weaponry to Taiwan'' and kill legislation moving through Congress that would strengthen cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwanese militaries.

His demands came eight days before Taiwan holds a presidential election that has heightened tensions between the world's superpower and East Asia's rising power. Tang said Chinese-U.S. relations and those between the mainland and island were at a ``critical juncture.''

``I would advise the Americans to recognize that what the U.S. says and does on the question of Taiwan will have a direct bearing on the future direction of the relationship,'' Tang said at a news conference. ``It also will directly bear on peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and in the Asia-Pacific region.''

China is warily watching the outcome of the March 18 poll, looking for signs the island is ready to talk unification. Although no dummy missiles or war games have been launched as in Taiwan's last presidential election four years ago, Beijing has raised new threats to attack the island.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin, in stories carried on the front-pages of national newspapers Friday, urged the 2.5 million-member People's Liberation Army to increase its combat readiness. Meeting members of the military last week, Jiang reiterated China's newest threat: to attack if the island indefinitely puts off negotiating unification.

Foreign Minister Tang offered inducements and warnings. He said Beijing would consider resuming talks with the victor, but indirectly warned Taiwanese voters away from candidate Chen Shui-bian of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.

``If the new leader of Taiwan has no inclination for Taiwan independence and is genuinely willing to restart talks and negotiate with us on the basis of the one-China principle, then we are willing to consider that,'' Tang said. ``If things turn out to be the opposite, then I'm afraid the result will be quite contrary.''

In Taipei, a senior government adviser on China policy, Lin Chong-pin, urged China to ``say more nice words and do more nice things to help improve the atmosphere.'' U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen, touring Asia, made a similar request - but to both sides.

``Both sides should lower the rhetoric and lower the tension and then try to work this out in a peaceful fashion rather than one of intimidation and confrontation,'' Cohen said en route to Hong Kong.

Response to this story....
by Richard R. Tryon
March 11, 2000

To anyone who has read Tom Clancy’s book “SSN” about a naval war against China, the above story causes one to wonder: Are the Chinese communists in power really intent on conquest of Taiwan? If so, we had best ask our U.S. president to pay attention to more pressing matters than his endless list of ways to lure voters to support his party’s candidates in the Federal give-away of other people’s money stakes!

A clear messsage needs to be expressed in terms that the mainland Chinese can’t misunderstand. But, it needs to be a peaceful message, not a belligerent one. It might well be jointly issued by the U.S. and Taiwanese Presidents together with an invitation to meet in Hawaii for further discussions of ways to seek reunification.

First, the message should clearly show that both Taiwan and the U.S. wholeheartedly endorse the idea of a unified Chinese nation that can join with all other peaceful, law abiding nations in the world that support free-trade, human rights as defined by the U.N. and as exemplified by the deportment of the U.S. President in dealing with volunteer and unpaid White House interns, or with the manner of other fine U.S. based public servants in their dealings with immigrants and others suspected of crimes by their deportment. This leaves room for options.

From this common ground, both sides will realize that neither wins an award for being full of the milk of human kindness; and that therefore it is possible to construct a realistic means through which an accommodation can be reached. For example, mainland China can issue, with the help of the Pope, who knows about the need to pray for forgiveness of churchly sins, an apology for the unfortunate manner in which so many Chinese removed themselves from the mainland back in the days of the war of the People’s liberation. That unfortunate period of argument between the departed leaders MaoTse Tung and Chang Kai Shek is history no longer current.

Then they can issue a common statement that notes the terrible needs of the poor in both the mainland with its 1.2 billion people and in Taiwan with its minuscule population by comparison. Because of this statistical difference and the good fortune of the people of Taiwan to having been able to develop in a location that is geographically closer to that part of the world that enjoyed a ‘head-start’ over the mainland development, it can be agreed that some time will be needed to allow for the mainland to ‘catch-up’ from the difficulties caused by the Japanese invasion in 1937.

After recognizing the economic advantage of Taiwan, both can agree to work towards means to allow that knowledge needed on the mainland to learn to compete effectively in the global economy will be shared. This will avoid the expensive need to extract such information from the U.S. as a by-product of its political process, which needs enormous funding from China. Avoiding this expense will further help the mainland achieve parity.

Then one must call for a political process. One with a type of development that will facilitate the reunification of the mainland with Taiwan. Although Chang Kai Shek called for such action at the time of the 1950 invasion of S. Korea by communists from N. Korea, that came to be supported by hundreds of thousands of Mao’s Chinese soldiers, the American state department did not permit this diversion to happen, as it was afraid in 1950 that in the five years since WWII had ended, the Soviet Union would be wanting to send its non-existent forces to level the playing field, if Taiwan were to invade the mainland, in an effort to save U.S. soldiers from harm in Korea.

Gen. MacArthur thought it a good idea, President Truman, a brilliant leader, albeit unfamiliar with the facts, was persuaded by his State Department to fire MacArthur instead. In retrospect, the Chinese from the mainland should be very thankful that their forces had only to kill 50,000 Americans in N. Korea to bring a halt to the “police action” in 1953 with a truce that is still only held together by American luck. It seems that the N. Koreans have had a very hard time as they lost their advantage of 1949 when the U.N. encouraged a division between N. and S. Korea at the 38th parallel. Bad luckand weather have brought the country to the point of starvation.

So, special attention needs to be taken to the fact that these political and military activities have caused a lot of misunderstanding between the Chinese peoples of the mainland and Taiwan. Both sides may need to consider a plan of reunification that will have to appear to be voluntary, and maybe really be so. But, that is only a matter of time. Because the Chinese are renown throughout history for their enormous sense of patience, a very great virtue indeed, it should be possible for both sides to recognize that it will take several generations of leadership changes from the period of the division before a majority of the people of the mainland will vote in secrecy to accept those of Taiwan back into the fold of the motherland. Of course, the leaders of Beijing can claim, like the minority of the people of Puerto Rico that they speak for all. In PR, where 96% love their American citizenship, 4% have found an issue over an accidental death at a U.S. Naval practice range as an excuse to claim that they speak for all in P.R. If the mainland Americans think this is so, they may well determine that it is time to free all in P.R. from the ‘chains of oppression’ as a colonial territory.

By the same logic, the leaders of Beijing can claim to speak for all of China. Perhaps they will come to conclude that it will work better if this reunion can be encouraged via a free voting process in secret, where the question is:

Choose between:

A reunified China that utilizes the political process of the communist party control ; or by the political multi-party process found in Taiwan, as the way to settle this part of the problem. When the secret vote, managed by the U.N. and monitored by CNN shows that both parties have found an answer that is the same for both; then it will be clear that the political problem has gone away! Of course, this is a very risky idea for the people of the entrenched political party of Taiwan to consider. What if the people choose to prefer the opportunities offered by the communist leaders in Beijing as representing a superior way for the people of Taiwan?

In the meantime, while we wait for these conferences to lead to some such scenario, how shall the rest of the world treat the more overt overture of the folks in Beijing? Well, clearly our U.S. President has always shown that the U.S. is ready to help defend the smaller, little guy vs the big one. So, the U.N. may have to issue a resolution that calls for the above process to be conducted, with U.N. supervision, of course; or we can just let a Tom Clancy scenario unfold.  It takes three weeks in his book for the Chinese to lose not only their own Navy but also most of the Russian sub fleet that the Russians are eager to sell to the Chinese, even with crews for a price!

This result may have a profound effect upon the balance of trade. The Russians will suddenly have all of the money that the Chinese have been saving for a rainy day! The world will have lost a trillion dollars worth of weapons and it will be an incentive to many to replace the men and material lost in the battle. Fortunately, Clancy can’t write a book where the U.S. loses its men, only weapons expended to destroy the enemy.

In the real saga, the results may be almost as positive, but I’ll bet a lot more humans will die in the process of decided whether or not Taiwan will be allowed to buy back the mainland in a way that will permit happy assimilation. Or is it the mainland that wants to buy Taiwan?

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