Sunday, February 19, 2006

Rep. Steve Chabot's Remarks to Condi Rice

Gerrit van der Wees at Taiwan Communique passed around the complete text of Steve Chabot's remarks during the recent hearings on Taiwan, aimed at Sec. of State Rice's criticisms of President Chen.

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Transcript Rep. Steve Chabot's question to Condoleezza Rice during HIRC hearing on February 16, 2006


REP. STEVE CHABOT

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In the time I've got left, let me just address one other issue - cross-strait relations in the Taiwan Straits and our government's role in that area.

I've got a cartoon here which I believe came from the Taipei Times - I'm sorry I don't have a better reproduction - that shows a haggard looking fellow - labeled Taiwan - who is trying to extricate himself from a body of water because he is being approached by a shark - labeled China - and he is being greeted by a rather large and menacing Uncle Sam, who appears to be holding a baseball bat. And Uncle Sam is saying "Get back in there! We don't want to alter the status quo."

I use this cartoon as an illustration of the frustration I'm sure Taiwan's leaders must be feeling, and frankly, the frustration I am feeling. It seems that every time Taiwan's democratically elected President Chen Shui bian opens his mouth, we read reports about consternation at the State Department and ominous quotes about Taiwan's attempts to change the status quo with its neighbor, the People's Republic of China.

Most recently, I understand that the State Department was gravely concerned about President Chen's decision to abolish the "National Unification Council," a relic of the days when unification with China was advocated by the Taiwanese government. Those days appear to be long gone. In fact, I'm told that the Council has not met since 1999. It operated with an annual budget of 31 US dollars. 31 dollars. I think it might be a stretch to say it is a dangerous alteration of the status quo.

What I do think is a dangerous threat to the status quo is the ever-growing arms build-up in the PRC - especially the 784 missiles currently pointed at Taiwan - a number which is increasing by around 100 per year. That is a threat to the status quo. This increase comes after China's adoption of the so-called "Anti-Secession" law, that, in effect, provides legal authority for China's leaders to invade democratic Taiwan. Another dangerous threat to the status quo, I would think.

Now, I will admit that I am not a big fan of our so-called "One China" policy. I think it is wrongheaded and, frankly, dangerous, to pursue a policy that favors a dictatorship that continues to threaten war with Taiwan and has gained a reputation as one of the world's leading weapons proliferators.

Of course, I know the State Department position on "One China" but I wonder if the signals our diplomats are sending out to the world could be a little more balanced.

Thank you, Madame Secretary.

1 comment:

mark said...

Amen to that. You American's have so much more spine on China and Taiwan that we Australians.