- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 29, 2001

Its decision time again: U.S. approval of arms sales to democratic Taiwan. President Bush should have no difficulty in honoring to the full Taiwan request to purchase arms for its own defense. The recently elected Taiwanese government under President Chen Shui-bian is not going to proclaim a unilateral declaration of independence and thereby breach the ambiguous "one-China" doctrine. Meanwhile Mainland Chinas threat to Taiwan and its 22 million people grows each day.
Under the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) the United States is obligated to sell Taiwan "such defense articles and services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability." The crucial section of the TRA places Taiwan in the center of our Pacific security zone:
"It is the policy of the United States to consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States; to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character; and to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people of Taiwan."
There is a growing acceptance in American opinion that China is no longer the enemy it once was, that there has been a general loosening of totalitarian rule because of Chinas move toward a market economy, its willing involvement in international trade and entry into international organizations that will demand a rule of law and enforceable contracts.
Sounds great until one realizes that totalitarianism precludes predictability of leadership succession. As a communist, Jiang Zemin may be arguably an all right guy but will his successor be one, too? Jiang Zemin and company know what happened when Mikhail Gorbachev loosened the bonds just a wee bit. Pouf. No more Soviet empire. Remember that China the imperialist imposed its rule on peaceful Tibet, crushed the human-rights movement in the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, threatened Taiwan with missile firings in 1995 which brought a U.S. carrier task force to the Strait of Taiwan. Chinas human rights record grows worse with each passing year.
The reality of Communist China must not be obscured by fairy-tales. Which country is more capable of invading the other Taiwan of mainland China or mainland China of Taiwan? China, which has the largest standing army in the world, is re-arming at an extraordinary rate its defense budget increases 8 percent annually in a region where there simply is no war threat from any other country or combination of countries now or long into the future. Chinas military has become Russias best customer SU-27 and SU-30 fighter aircraft, four high-tech submarines, Sovremenny destroyers outfitted with Russian SS-N-22 missiles. There are reports that Russia has sold missile and nuclear warhead technology to Beijing.
Taiwan now sees across the straits, some 100 miles away, China expanding its missile prowess. According to a report in the Taipei Journal there are now 200 to 300 missiles in Fujian Province aimed at the people of Taiwan and there are reports that this arsenal will increase to between 600 to 1,000 missiles in coming years.
America may have forgotten but Taiwan hasnt that China, between July 1995 and March 1996, test-fired its M-9 and M-11 short-range ballistic missiles that straddled Taiwan. It was a crude act of intimidation that didnt intimidate anybody including the USS Independence that headed the U.S. carrier group in the Strait of Taiwan while China was firing its missiles.
Taiwan and China are going to negotiate again and again over reunification but the cross-straits meetings will lead to nothing except Beijings frustration or worse. As ex-President Lee Teng-hui once put it: "Its not that Taiwan does not want reunification. Its just that the Taiwanese people do not want to live under a communist system."

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide