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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Obama should reach out to Taiwan

- The Washington Times - Friday, July 2, 2010

In discussing how China and Taiwan are signing the new Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), writer Bob Dole shows how both sides will benefit from fewer tariffs, more jobs, increased annual growth rate, etc. ("Ending estrangement, cementing ties," Commentary, Thursday). But Mr. Dole does not mention ECFA's other implications.

By signing a major agreement with the elected leadership of Taiwan and expecting the Taiwanese government to carry out ECFA's provisions, Beijing is in effect admitting what it has always formally denied: that Taiwan is, in fact, a sovereign entity with a government that is in full control of its territory and people. This means, inter alia, that Beijing should cease its opposition to having Taiwan's leaders visit the United States.

As Mr. Dole notes, the Obama administration supports Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou's conciliatory policies toward China. President Obama has reached out to many far less savory foreign leaders - shouldn't he reach out to this champion of democracy and at least let visit some think tanks and nongovernmental organizations? Our own organization, which has hosted many luminaries at our Capitol Hill conferences, would be very pleased to have him come to discuss not just cross-strait relations, but also democracy promotion and development assistance - endeavors at which Taiwan has had considerable but little-recognized success.

LORNA HAHN

Executive director Association on Third World Affairs

Washington

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