Friday, May 23, 2008

Obama's letter to Ma

Future President Obama sent a congratulatory letter to Taiwan's new President:

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Dear President Ma:

Please accept my warmest congratulations on your inauguration as the new President of Taiwan. This is an important event in the political history of the island, one which can deepen the ties between the United States and Taiwan. A sound U.S.-Taiwan relationship will certainly be the goal of my Administration. Your inauguration also holds promise for more peaceful and stable relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits, in no small measure because you have extended the hand of peace and cooperation to Beijing.

Your election is the latest step in consolidating a democracy that has advanced over the last two decades. The people of Taiwan showed great maturity by endorsing a track of peace, prosperity, and good relations with the United States.

I sincerely hope the People's Republic of China will respond to the beginning of your presidency in a constructive and forward-leaning way. It is important for Beijing to demonstrate to the people of Taiwan that the practical and non-confrontational approach that you have taken towards the Mainland can achieve positive results. I hope that there will be progress on issues including development of economic ties, expanding Taiwan's international space, and cross-Straits security, on which you have made proposals that deserve a good-faith response.

I support the "one China" policy of the United States, adherence to the three U.S.-PRC Joint Communiqu├ęs concerning Taiwan, and observance of the Taiwan Relations Act. On that foundation, I believe that the United States should strengthen channels of communication with officials of your government. We should continue to provide the arms necessary for Taiwan to deter possible aggression. And we should support your efforts to build closer ties with the Mainland that will lay the groundwork for a mores table and predictable relationship.

Your election on March 22nd and your inauguration on May 20th were good days for the people of Taiwan, for the forces of democracy around the world, and for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and western Pacific. I will do all that I can to support Taiwan's democracy in the years ahead.

With best wishes,

Barack Obama

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Quite a good letter -- especially the part where he instances the communiques and the TRA.

20 comments:

Jason said...

Hillary says she won't drop out until Taiwan gets a UN seat.

CyberKnife said...

My first reaction was that it didn't sound that great. Isn't the official US position that we "acknowledge" the One China Policy, not that we "support" it? Perhaps I'm missing something here, but Obama's use of the word "support" bothers me. Or is acknowledgement what Obama meant by mentioning "adherence" to the Joint Communique (Shanghai Communique), in which US acknowledgement of the One China Policy is mentioned?

Michael Turton said...

I think as long as he evinces some awareness of the primary docs, we're OK. At least it shows he's thinking about Taiwan, which is something progressives aren't doing.

Michael

Joe Lewis said...

Nice to see Obama taking the initiative and writing what I perceive as a well-informed and well-intentioned letter that is positive for Taiwan. Certainly shows Obama is interested in demonstrating his strengths in diplomacy. I wonder if any of the other candidates were able to muster up an effort to congratulate Ma?

D. Corey Sanderson said...

Well, if you think about it, the statement is ambiguous in itself...

"I support the 'One China' policy of the United States."

If you read more into it, it could mean that he agrees with the "acknowledgment stance" that the United States holds as its One China Policy. So, in this sense, he is saying, "Yeah, I agree with the ambiguous stance of the U.S. at current."

marc said...

"Hillary says she won't drop out until Taiwan gets a UN seat."

Hillary = The loneliness of the long-distance runner

Anonymous said...

He supports the US position to acknowledge the One China Policy.

I have sent a few letters to Obama's Foreign Affairs Advisor on Taiwan, but have only managed to be put on the mailing list for donations and pep talks.

Michael Turton said...

If you read more into it, it could mean that he agrees with the "acknowledgment stance" that the United States holds as its One China Policy. So, in this sense, he is saying, "Yeah, I agree with the ambiguous stance of the U.S. at current."

Yep, that's how I see it.

CyberKnife said...

Ahh, ok. Now the subsequent clause mentioning the Joint Communique makes more sense. It is probably meant to reiterate that the U.S. holds the "acknowledgment stance." Nice critical reading skills, guys! =P

Trace said...

Obama is a Soviet Sleeper Agent - Extremely, Extremely bad news for us Americans. Look at how he behaves - like he's programed, like he's been looked up in a room for 2 decades with nothing but videos of JFK speeches to watch.

GREAT NEWS - Taiwan government websites have all gone back to being real - No More Fantasy Land
UN for Taiwan removed from most, R.O.C. added to all and the History page finally corrected.

Now if China will ever remove the internet Blocker for this blog all will be good!

Michael Turton said...

I'm working on it, trace. I'm switching to Wordpress on my own domain, not blocked. I'm going to start pumping out a post or two a week in Chinese too. Maybe you can correct my grammar. :)

Karl said...

"Obama is a Soviet Sleeper Agent - Extremely, Extremely bad news for us Americans. Look at how he behaves - like he's programed, like he's been looked up in a room for 2 decades with nothing but videos of JFK speeches to watch."

I'm sorry. I don't speak crazy. Can someone translate?

Tim Maddog said...

My favorite part: Obama called Taiwan "Taiwan" throughout the thing and not "ROC"!

Corey has it right: Obama says he supports the US version of the one-China policy which "acknowledges" that both the PRC and ROC "maintain" similarly crazy ideas and which is not the same as China's policy.

Tim Maddog

Anonymous said...

"Your inauguration also holds promise for more peaceful and stable relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits, in no small measure because you have extended the hand of peace and cooperation to Beijing.


Your election is the latest step in consolidating a democracy that has advanced over the last two decades. The people of Taiwan showed great maturity by endorsing a track of peace, prosperity, and good relations with the United States."


When a blogger, news columnist, or newly elected President of Taiwan writes stuff like this, Mr. Turton is all over it with comments about the hacks at the DPP, the ommissions, etc.. But when Mr. Obama says that electing the KMT shows "great maturity by endorsing a track of peace, prosperity...", and when Mr. Obama says Ma "extended the hand of peace and cooperation to Beijing", Mr. Turton says "Quite a good letter".


I thought the letter showed either ignorance of Taiwanese politics (not good for a sitting U.S. Senator) or appeasement of the PRC (even worse for a sitting U.S. Senator.)


Someone mentioned that he used "Taiwan" throughout. He also called the country an "island". I see his not using "Republic of China" as a way of refusing to recognize the country's existense. Note that he used "People's Republic of China" instead of just "China".


Most of the nice things he said were boilerplate. The only positive thing I saw in the whole letter was "I believe that the United States should strengthen channels of communication with officials of your government". Given that he wants to give the worst human rights violators and dictators in the world the honor of a face-to-face meeting with the President of the United States, I guess it's nice that he might (if he keeps his promise) "strengthen" communication with "officials of your government". Mr. Obama would meet with the President and Chief Famine Inducer of North Korea; would he also meet with the democratically elected President of Taiwan?

Michael Turton said...

Yes, it IS a very conventional letter -- but it shows that Obama is interested in the Beautiful Isle, which beats the heck out of most people. And you politicians -- what's conventional out front may not be underneath...

Reading said...

If Mr. Obama was the only one of the three major candidates to send such a letter, I'll grant you that it is a positive for him. Anyone knof if that's true?

Richard L. said...

anon,

I also have sent e-mails and used their comment system to ask about how he plans to engage Taiwan and the Cross-strait issue. I just get more generic Obama-mail.

D. Corey Sanderson said...

Could always call and ask to talk to his FA...202-224-2854. According to my information, that is still Harry Kruglik, but you could just ask to talk to the Foreign Affairs aide...gets things done faster than E-mail. I haven't the time myself, otherwise I'd do it.

Anonymous said...

It is great to see you have published a letter from Obama to Ma. I think your readership are over scrutinizing it though.

Did Hillary or McCain send Ma a letter?

Words are just that, words. What is more important are actions. In that regard, time will tell.

Robert said...

By the way, I think Obama wrote two letters. One after the election, and one after the inauguration. Either that, or the media decided to mention it twice.

McCain apparently released a statement after the elections too:

http://tinyurl.com/4rl7re