- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 29, 2001

It would be ideal if the resolution of the Taiwan issue were “peacefully negotiated and mutually acceptable,” as Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Craig Thomas hope for in their Commentary column (“Caution or urgency in arms for Taiwan?” March 28) But I am puzzled how these distinguished statesmen can totally misread the following:

China´s robust and determined missile buildup aims at coercing Taiwan into accepting Beijing´s terms of unification (“peaceful surrender”). Doesn´t this violate the principle of a “peacefully negotiated and mutually acceptable” resolution of China-Taiwan differences?

The United States repeatedly has urged China to open a dialogue with Taiwan and cautioned that China´s continued military buildup will necessitate a U.S. response (to enhance Taiwan´s self-defense). China has ignored both. On March 27, The Washington Times reported fresh additions of Chinese missiles on the eve of discussions to sell arms to Taiwan (“China beefs up missile stocks as U.S. considers Taiwan arms”). If words have exhausted their effectiveness, shouldn´t the United States try actions?

Chinese President Jiang Zemin, in a recent interview with The Washington Post, flatly rejected confederation or federation with Taiwan. How credible is his “anything can be discussed” unification offer?

Engaging China is important, but it should be based on reality, not naivete.


Associate professor of political science

University of Richmond



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