Monday, February 19, 2007

State Department Rightly Thrashed

Last week I lambasted the State Department for serving Beijing rather than the US and Taiwan:

In the twisted world of Washington's view of Taiwan, if you change the name of a local state-run company from "China" to "Taiwan" you are committing a violation so great that it requires a formal notification of deathly fear from the US State Department, but if you are China and increase the number of missiles pointed at Taiwan by 100 annually, that is a profound act of statesmanship that the State Department apparently feels no need to comment on. It's a wonder everyone who follows the State Department's remarks on Taiwan hasn't checked into a rehab farm for substance abuse.....
Apparently I'm not alone in my low opinion of the State Department's handling of this affair (name rectification). The other day Richard Armitage, speaking at a press conference relating to a report he wrote on US-Japan relations, spoke out for the name rectification campaign:

Former US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage came to President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) defense on Friday over the decision to drop variations of "China" from the names of state-run firms and constitutional reform, saying the US State Department's criticism of the moves were an over-reaction by the Bush administration.

Regarding the name-change decision, which was criticized by the State Department as a move that altered the "status quo" in the Taiwan Strait, Armitage said the decision "is not one that bothers me one way or the other."

On plans for constitutional reform, he said the issue was one for Taiwan's democracy to decide.

"We have to let the democratic process work its way out in a transparent way," he said.

It's good to see an insider criticizing the State Department for getting its knickers in a knot over changing the name of the Post Office. Hopefully next time the State Department will think twice about criticizing picayune stuff like name rectification, and send a formal warning to China about its military build-up.

In the same article, Randall Shriver warned that the the US needs to take into account the actions of the pro-China parties relative to the status quo:

Randall Schriver, a former deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for Taiwan and China and a contributor to the report, said that the authors believe the Two-plus-two statement "could very well be the guiding principle for 2020, if the differences between the two sides [of the Taiwan Strait] remain unresolved."

"We think that embodied in that statement were certain obligations of the United States, and certain obligations of Japan: Our obligation under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan weapons for self-defense, and to have the capacity to resist force. And Japan should understand those obligations and be supportive of the United States [position] with respect to those obligations," he said.

While the report, and much of Washington's recent focus, has been on Chen's actions and prospects for a declaration of independence, the report and Schriver's comments also aimed at the danger of pan-blue-camp moves toward China.

"If [Taiwan] goes in the other direction [toward unification], if the KMT [Chinese Nationalist Party] and others try to move more rapidly toward the PRC, that would be cause for a re-evaluation [of US policy toward Taiwan]," Schriver said.
It's good to see somebody out there views the KMT moves as a violation of the status quo.

1 comment:

skiingkow said...

I greatly fear that none of this will matter once the neocon crazies make the decision to launch a full-scale attack on Iran.

Bushco. must be impeached NOW. Alas, the Dems lack the leadership and foresight to do so. It's all about domestic political short-term gains -- nevermind that the U.S. foreign policy has f#$%ed the world at so many different levels.

Then again, will the Dems be any better for Taiwan? Somehow, I seriously doubt it.