Wednesday, July 19, 2006

US Treatment of Taiwan, Absurdities

Jason at Wandering to Tamshui pointed me to this funny rant from a Hong Kong-based Apple Daily commentator about how absurd US diplomatic regulations toward Taiwan are:

Absurdity, of course, is nothing new in Washington's policies toward Taiwan. For example, despite the break-off of diplomatic recognition, the Mutual Defense Treaty between Taiwan and the U.S. was still technically in existence for one year following the rupture. This meant that in 1979 the U.S. continued to have a treaty with a government in Taipei it no longer recognized and would not sell weapons to. However, from 1980 on, Washington decided to sell weapons to a Taiwan government it didn't recognize and which it had no treaty relationship.

"Surely, this was some kind of record, even for the arcane world of diplomacy," Harvey Feldman, veteran ambassador and senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, once remarked.

Nevertheless, it's still eye-opening to read some of the rules stated in the memo named"Guidelines on Relations with Taiwan." "Executive Branch personnel may not attend functions at Twin Oaks, the former residence of the ‘Republic of China' ambassador. They may, however, accept invitations to social functions held at homes of TECRO personnel," it says. In other words, administration officials cannot visit the legendary Twin Oaks but can wine and dine at Mr. Lee's home. Can someone at Foggy Bottom enlighten me how this can help in maintaining the status quo across the Taiwan Strait?

Oh, in case administration officials, after enjoying [Taipei representative] Mr. Lee's hospitality, want to send a thank-you note to the host, the memo has this piece of advice:"Such letters must be on unofficial stationery and enclosed in plain envelopes. Titles should not be used in the address, salutation, or closing." Shouldn't the American public be proud of their public servants' skills of catering diplomacy to such fine details?

The piece does make a common error, in that it assigns the diplomatic sell-out of Taiwan by the US to Jimmy Carter....

For 27 years, since Jimmy Carter abandoned Taiwan and embraced China in 1979, Mr. Lee, who carries a title of "Representative of Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO)," and his predecessors have been enduring absurd restrictions imposed by the State Department, clearly laid down in a memorandum circulated to all departments and agencies.

....when in fact that honor must go to that prize asshole Henry Kissinger, who not only sold out Taiwan -- prior to the Shanghai Communique the US position had been that Taiwan's status was undefined -- but got nothing for the island. The article notes that high-level Taiwan officials have been free to visit the US since 1994:

Introduced in late June by the two co-chairs of the Taiwan Caucus, Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican, and Sen. Tim Johnson, South Dakota Democrat, the resolution resolves that "restrictions on visits to the United States by high-level elected and appointed officials of Taiwan, including the democratically-elected President of Taiwan, should be lifted" and Washington should allow direct high-level exchanges at the Cabinet level. Despite the fact that Congress passed legislation in 1994 providing that the Taiwan president and other high-level officials may visit the United States, including Washington, D.C., at any time to discuss a variety of important issues, the administration pretty much has ignored it. It’s time the legislative branch began flexing its muscles again.

It's good to see Congress keeping the pressure up on this issue.


UPDATE: Ken Choy and Sun Bin add:

Sun Bin: this is not apple daily. the guy tried to run apple daily as his own propaganda department and was fired a couple years ago. nevertheless, he still ues 'ex-apple daily editor' title in every essay he wrote.

Ken: Actually, Kin-Ming Liu is now based in Washington, D.C. and he writes a weekly column for The Standard newspaper in Hong Kong and his comments are also published in the Taipei Times.


4 comments:

Sun Bin said...

funny rant:)

this is not apple daily. the guy tried to run apple daily as his own propaganda department and was fired a couple years ago. nevertheless, he still ues 'ex-apple daily editor' title in every essay he wrote.

Kenneth Choy said...

Actually, Kin-Ming Liu is now based in Washington, D.C. and he writes a weekly column for The Standard newspaper in Hong Kong and his comments are also published in the Taipei Times.

Kenneth Choy

Sun Bin said...

No, the "weekly standard" is unrelated to the "Standard in HK".

i don't know what that magazine is. but i guess it is one of the thousands of lobbying machines based in DC.
http://www.weeklystandard.com/AboutUs/default.asp

Sun Bin said...

hmm...nor did i find more than one article by him in 'weeklystandard'. it seems he just submitted a couple articles there and got printed, not sure if he is a 'regular' columnist.