By John Tkacik 譚慎格
Saturday, Nov 28, 2009, Page 8
James Lilley, who died on Nov. 12, served as the senior US diplomat in both Taipei and Beijing, and was therefore intensely interested in Taiwan-China interactions. But he also had a healthy skepticism of the supposed benefits of cross-strait peace if it meant Taiwan were to be absorbed by China. Jim’s uppermost concerns were the values of freedom and democracy and the interests of the American people.
By John J. Tkacik Jr. -
While reports of an imminent Taiwan Policy Review (TPR) are premature, it would be a useful exercise as part of a global strategic review of China’s emerging pre-eminence.
China is now the second-most powerful nation on earth. Its economy has already surpassed Japan and Germany in terms of industrial output. It has massive financial clout with which it has bought incredible political patronage across the map. It has a rapidly modernizing military — as the celebrations last week of the Chinese navy’s 60th anniversary demonstrated.
It is hard to believe that retired ambassador Saito Masaki, head of the Japan Interchange Association (JIA), Tokyo’s de facto embassy in Taipei, would deliver himself of so profound a “personal” observation as “Taiwan’s status is unsettled” without instructions from his government. With the Taipei government increasingly inclined to define Taiwan as China’s sovereign territory, it’s no wonder Japan is alarmed. Taiwanese themselves should be alarmed.
It may be ancient history, but Richard V. Allen's memory of Nixon's Taiwan policy is garbled ("The Next Step in the Taiwan-China Dance," Aug. 17). As a U.S. foreign service officer I worked on China and Taiwan affairs for 20 years, and I can attest that the U.S. has never subscribed to China's territorial claims on Taiwan. Nor did President Richard Nixon ever publicly articulate such a policy.
In November, Chinese air force commander Gen. Xu Qiliang observed that "competition between military forces is now turning toward the realm of space, [and] military modernization is ceaselessly expanding into space."
But during his visit to Beijing a few days later, President Obama talked about "cooperation" rather than competition. In a joint statement with Chinese President Hu Jintao, the two leaders called for "a dialogue on human space flight and space exploration, based on the principles of transparency, reciprocity and mutual benefit."
Global warming does not worry China, a fact that partially accounts for Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao's shabby treatment of President Obama at the Copenhagen climate conference last month.
In an opinion column in Britain's Guardian newspaper, one insider was quoted as saying, "The truth is this: China wrecked the [Copenhagen] talks; intentionally humiliated Barack Obama; and insisted on an awful 'deal' so Western leaders would walk away carrying the blame."
Sometime in the last days of July, Kim Jong Il had nailed down former U.S. President Bill Clinton's scheduled arrival in Pyongyang to petition "Dear Leader" for the pardon of imprisoned U.S. journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling. That was when the Chinese Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee must have decided to send the Party's Central Propaganda Department Senior Vice Minister, Luo Shugang, to North Korea for five days of in-depth consultations with the "Dear Leader" and top Korean Workers Party counterparts.
All were clear on treaty
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) seems to be laboring in a bit of confusion as he ponders the 1952 Treaty of Taipei and its implications for who has ultimate sovereignty on Taiwan (“Treaty confirmed sovereignty: Ma” April 29, page 3).
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