++++++++++++To the Editors:
It may be ancient history, but Richard V. Allen's memory of Nixon's Taiwan policy is garbled ("The Next Step in the Taiwan-China Dance," August 17). I served as a U.S. foreign service officer for 24 years working on China and Taiwan affairs, and I can attest that the United States has never subscribed to China's territorial claim on Taiwan. Nor did President Richard Nixon ever publicly articulate such a policy. In fact, Nixon instructed his Ambassador to the United Nations (then George H.W. Bush) to vote against Resolution 2758 granting the People's Republic of China's admission to the United Nations on October 25, 1971, (even though he and Kissinger knew they didn't have the votes in the U.N. General Assembly) precisely because that resolution required the expulsion of Taiwan's representatives. Nixon's public policy was "dual representation" -- support of U.N. seats for both Taipei and Beijing. To this day, official U.S. policy eschews recognition of China's claims to Taiwan. As recently as June 2007, the State Department's standard response to citizens concerned about Taiwan was that the United States has "not formally recognized Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan and [has] not made any determination as to Taiwan’s political status."
Also in 2007, the United States became concerned that the United Nations Secretariat had issued documents asserting that the U.N. considered "Taiwan for all purposes to be an integral part of the PRC." U.S. diplomats informed the Secretariat that "while that assertion was consistent with the Chinese position, it is not universally held by U.N. member states, including the United States." The American diplomats then "urged the U.N. Secretariat to review its policy on the status of Taiwan and to avoid taking sides in a sensitive matter on which U.N. members have agreed to disagree for over 35 years." They warned that "if the UN Secretariat insists on describing Taiwan as a part of the PRC, or on using nomenclature for Taiwan that implies such status, the United States will be obliged to disassociate itself on a national basis from such position." The United Nations Secretariat has indeed ceased to assert that Taiwan is an integral part of China.
Mr. Allen's phrase "there is but one China and that Taiwan is part of China" is a purely Chinese formula. It is testimony to the effectiveness of Beijing's (and the weakness of the State Department's) public diplomacy that Mr. Allen, himself a friend of Taiwan, confuses China's policy with America's.
John J. Tkacik, Jr.
[Taiwan] Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!