More interesting from Taiwan's point of view was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's announcement yesterday that the US will support observer status in the WHA for Taiwan.
Wow! Taiwan can observe an assembly! A breakthrough!
The administration of US President Barack Obama will continue to support Taiwan’s efforts to gain more international space, including becoming an observer at the World Health Assembly (WHA), US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a recent statement.The statement was made in response to an inquiry from senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Johnny Isakson of Georgia on Clinton’s stance on Taiwan’s WHA bid if she was confirmed as Washington’s top diplomat.
Secretary of State Clinton said that it was important that China give a little, and observer status in the WHA, totally meaningless, will nevertheless be a tiny tiny step that all involved can celebrate as a gigantic diplomatic success. "China has given Taiwan a little space!" This will also be trumpeted by the Ma Administration as a demonstration of the wisdom of its policy of selling Taiwan out to China. A key question of WHA participation of course will be what Taiwan is called and whether it is treated as part of China, or given some quasi-independent status.
The real indicator of Obama policy is here: Clinton echoed the Bush foreign policy line that China ought to give Taiwan a little space, and that the US supports Taiwan's entry into the WHA. The foreign policy community loves the words stability and continuity, and that is what we are going to see from the Obama administration here in East Asia.
Also on the US front, William Lowther reports from Washington that two more US-based Taiwan experts, Randall Schriver and Michael Yahuda from my alma mater GWU, have added their names to the open letter to Ma Ying-jeou on the erosion of justice here in Taiwan:
My thanks go out to both of them.
Two important Taiwan experts based in Washington have added their names to the open letter published in the Taipei Times earlier this week expressing concern about what they see as an erosion of justice in Taiwan.The new signatories are former deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Randall Schriver and George Washington University academic Michael Yahuda.
In the original letter a group of international academics and writers urged President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to order an independent inquiry into the way police squashed protests during the visit of Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin (陳雲林).
For those interested in the new Obama world, International Affairs Forum has their latest read on it. It's a collection of essays on major areas of the world, and major issues. The China essay is by Harvey Feldman, the former ambassador here and a longtime observer of East Asia. He notes:
Indeed, Mr. Bush can boast in foreign affairs that he has established a vastly improved relationship with China. But it will take major and continuing efforts in both Beijing and Washington to keep that relationship from deteriorating during 2009 as economic stress builds.Yes, well, that "improved relationship" came at the expense of Taiwan. It's easy to sacrifice old friends to make new friends -- real success would have been improving relations with China while not sacrificing Taiwan.