Thursday, December 11, 2003

Bush disappoints me re: Taiwan

(article via Drudge)

Brushing aside a warning from George W. Bush, Taiwan's president reiterated his plan to hold a referendum alongside elections next March, but said neither independence nor the status quo with China would be at issue.

Chen Shui-bian, addressing a news conference on Wednesday after Bush delivered his surprise warning during a White House visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, did not say what the referendum would be about.

But earlier he suggested it would pressure China to remove missiles aimed at the island, which Beijing sees as a breakaway province that must one day, even by force, be returned to the fold.

"We want to show China and the world that military force cannot be used to solve the problem of the Taiwan Strait," Chen said after the Democratic Progressive Party officially confirmed him as its presidential candidate for the March 20 election.

"Taiwan people have the right to say loudly that they oppose missiles and are for democracy, oppose war and are for peace," he said. "This is nothing to do with independence. There is no intention to change the status quo."

Chinese Premier Wen, who sat alongside Bush when he made his remarks at the White House on Tuesday, welcomed what amounted to a nuanced hardening of the usual line that the United States does "not support" independence moves by Taiwan.

If ever a country presents such a clear-cut opportunity for us to step up to the plate and actually be true to the rhetoric that we, as a nation, are ready to fight for the cause of freedom, Taiwan is it. Here's a golden opportunity to take a ballsy stand. And we're not doing it. I think Taiwan is worth fighting for, if for no other reason than all the damn microchips they make for us.

South Korea seems pretty much intent on bending over for North Korea, so we should leave. Young South Koreans are convinced that communism isn't so bad; why should we stick around? Taiwan, on the other hand, wants something we can relate to. Like the ex-Soviet bloc nations of Eastern Europe, it appreciates freedom. What are we doing about this?


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