- The Washington Times - Friday, April 6, 2001

China signed treaty prior to Communist takeover

The April 4 front-page story "Global treaties deny China right to enter U.S. aircraft" mentions that China signed the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, which compels governments to "undertake to provide such measures of assistance to aircraft in distress in its territory as it may find practicable."

We should remember, however, that in 1944, the government of China was the Nationalist-led Republic of China (ROC), not the communist-led People´s Republic of China (PRC), which wasn´t established until 1949.

In most cases, the PRC has claimed to be the successor state to the ROC, adhering to treaties and conventions signed by the ROC government. But in others, especially when Chinese leaders have found it inconvenient or undesirable, the PRC has abrogated certain treaties and conventions.

Interestingly enough, the ROC government, which, of course, continues to exist and function on Taiwan, is in physical possession of all treaties and conventions signed by the ROC, as well as several signed by the ROC´s predecessor state, the empire of the Qing Dynasty. When Hong Kong was "returned" to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, the Treaty of Nanking ceding Hong Kong to Britain was displayed in Taipei´s Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters.


JASON BLATT

Deputy Director

TVBS International News Center

Taipei, Taiwan

Virginia is for (unmarried) lovers

In the April 1 Commentary Forum article "The great divorce," Stephen Baskerville writes that "the divorce industry has rendered marriage a fraudulent contract It is hardly surprising that fewer and fewer are being taken in." "Taken in," as in duped, is right. Virginia ranks especially high among states that have made divorce exceedingly easy for one party to initiate, yet such a draconian, economically disastrous punishment for all that it is madness to risk marriage in the first place. Should you be unfortunate enough to face divorce, the state and the states lawyers are going to take a big cut, regardless of the consequences to the children. Parents are being bankrupted in droves, especially fathers, who are generally regarded as disposable in every respect but their paychecks. And this occurs daily in what is ironically known as "family court." "Family busting" would be more accurate.

Virginia is proud of its longstanding slogan "Virginia is for Lovers." Young men in the state are well advised to take the slogan literally and leave their relationships exactly on that level. Don´t get married. If it goes bad, the state will compound your troubles.


MARK LINDAMOOD

Washington

Despite airline's claim of 'job action,' pilots didn't strike

In your April 4 editorial "The increasingly unfriendly skies," you write: "Last years pilots strike that led to the cancellation of more than 20,000 flights did not help Uniteds reputation much." There was, in fact, no pilots strike last year at United. Nor has there been one since May 1985. The pilots never took a strike vote, and the pilots and management never entered a 30-day cooling-off period, per the Railway Labor Act.

The problems at United last year were a combination of unusually bad weather, overburdened air traffic and an unwillingness on the part of United Airlines management to admit that the company was severely undermanned to handle the amount of flying that was scheduled.

The Air Line Pilots Association had warned the company more than two years earlier that there was a shortage of pilots to handle scheduled flights. Because of management´s failure to deliver an "on-time contract," which was promised by former United Chief Executive Officer Gerald Greenwald and was supposed to be in place no later than April 12, 2000, many pilots chose to legally fly their contracts to the letter by not accepting overtime flying. Such flying is done at regular pay rates and means that pilots must give up one or more days off.

Even though there is no requirement to fly overtime, management chose to erroneously label the pilots´ refusal as a "job action." Management finally agreed to a new, tentative contract in late August 2000, which was ratified by the pilots and put in place in October.


J. STEVEN ELY

Port Tobacco, Md.

A prescription for the China problem

China has again shown its true character, forcibly seizing a U.S. military aircraft and treating its crew as prisoners of war. Such egregious behavior should come as no shock to the United States, however, after the heinous acts committed by China in recent years, including the massacre at Tiananmen Square, the launching of ballistic missiles at Taiwan, and the threat of a nuclear attack on Los Angeles.

The United States should be under no illusions: China is an adversary with a nuclear capacity. Nevertheless, China´s belligerence must be met with forceful resolve. There are a number of options the United States can pursue immediately, including the repudiation of the 1982 joint communique between the United States and China. In conjunction, the Bush administration should support the sale of Aegis cruisers, submarines and other defense assets to Taiwan. America should discontinue the use of Hong Kong as a port and dock instead in the Philippines and Taiwan, as we did before 1979. The intelligence missions focused on China should continue, and fighter escorts should be provided in the event of further incidents in international air space. The American ambassador should be recalled from Beijing, and Chinese diplomats in the United States should be expelled until the Chinese adhere to acceptable norms of international behavior. Finally, the Bush administration should apply sanctions for violating the terms of the Missile Technology Control Regime and examine placing tariffs on Chinese products.

Despite arguments to the contrary, China has much more to lose than the United States if trade between the two nations is curtailed. The United States can exploit the availability of products and investments from other markets such as India to offset losses from China.

Conflict with China seems increasingly likely. China´s goal is to achieve regional dominance, and by its own admission, the United States is its greatest threat. As a result of the increasing hostilities in the region, the United States must ensure that it can defend itself from Chinese aggression. This means the United States must fully embrace its commitment to developing and rapidly fielding robust missile defense systems. Without these defensive systems in place, China will feel free to further develop its nuclear capacity and escalate the conflict, pushing the United States into a nuclear corner. At that point, our nation would have only two options: to protect our interests and allies and risk nuclear war or become hostage to China´s nuclear blackmail.


ANDREW LEWIS

Woodbridge, Va.

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