- The Washington Times - Friday, August 9, 2002

China needs a reality check on Taiwan

The article "China rejects vote on Taiwan's fate" (World, Tuesday) misses one important point. Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian's speech this past weekend did not mark a change in policy but rather a reaffirmation of principles that the United States and Taiwan have shared for years.

Both the United States and Taiwan have long recognized that the Taiwanese people have a fundamental right to choose their own destiny. Despite China's threats to invade Taiwan if it should declare independence, former President Clinton declared in 2000: "The issues between Beijing and Taiwan must be resolved peacefully and with the assent of the people of Taiwan." Current legislation before the House and the Senate contains even more emphatic language, while President Bush's expressions of support for Taiwan have been equally strong.

Given that past American and Taiwanese presidents have echoed the same sentiment, Mr. Chen's remarks were hardly radical. His call for legislation that would allow the Taiwanese people to make decisions for themselves through nationwide referendums merely voices the shared democratic beliefs of the United States and Taiwan.

Also, Mr. Chen's declaration that China and Taiwan are separate countries is less a radical idea than a statement of the obvious: Taiwan has existed as a de facto independent country for the entire history of the People's Republic of China. Both the United States and Taiwan saw long ago that there is nothing revolutionary about allowing the 23 million citizens of this democracy to choose their own fate, nor in recognizing that it exists as a separate country in everything but name.

China refuses to recognize this reality. Despite statements from both Taipei and Washington that each nation's policies remain unchanged, China said that Mr. Chen's remarks "will seriously sabotage relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and affect peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region." Having said so, China immediately decided to fulfill its own prophecy, announcing new military exercises near Taiwan.

It goes without saying that Taiwan's safety and security are of ongoing concern to the people of Taiwan and to Taiwanese Americans. It is therefore all the more important that section 1202 in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Bill for 2003 (now in conference committee) about interoperability and military cooperation between Taiwan and the United States become law.


MING-CHI WU

President

Formosan Association for Public Affairs

Washington

The minus-side of 'abstinence plus'

In a letter published Aug. 1, Advocates for Youth President James Wagoner attempted to refute my research showing the effectiveness of abstinence education ("Abstinence paper pregnant with shaky 'facts'").

His claim that "there is no credible evidence" of effectiveness is inaccurate. In fact, four of the 10 studies cited in my paper appeared in peer review journals. The others, for the most part, are standard, government-funded evaluations of the sort that are routinely used in public-policy decision making.

Mr. Wagoner and his organization seek to abolish abstinence education and replace it with programs he calls "abstinence plus." In fact, most abstinence-plus programs contain little or no information about abstinence. Instead, they promote condom use and sexual promiscuity. Typically, these "abstinence" programs have middle school students practice unrolling condoms on bananas and engage in homosexual role playing and similar activities.

Mr. Wagoner's agenda, if honestly explained, would be appalling to nearly all parents.


ROBERT RECTOR

Senior research fellow

Heritage Foundation

Washington

Christian dads take cues from their heavenly Father

I read with great interest Tuesday's article based on a recent study showing that conservative Christian fathers tend to take a more active role in their children's lives than secular dads ("Fathers of faith give more time to their children," Page One). It is especially interesting that the study's author, W. Bradford Wilcox, expressed surprise at his findings: After all, according to him, religious fathers typically "embrace traditional gender attributes." Mr. Wilcox is right about the embracing but wrong about the embraced if by that he means that Christian fathers are supposed to be aloof from their children.

If Mr. Wilcox knew what those of us who have deep respect for the Bible really believe, instead of what he has heard we believe, he would not be surprised. For instance, he would know that Deuteronomy 6:7 enjoins God's people to teach God's law to their children night and day, from rising up to lying down, whether sitting at home or walking on the road. He would also know that Ephesians 6:4 instructs fathers not to provoke their children to wrath but to bring them in the nurture and training of the Lord.

For those of us who take this stuff seriously, it's pretty straightforward. If we as fathers take God's word seriously, we will spend the time necessary with our children to teach and train them to become good adults because God has specifically given that job to us. As the adage goes, "The child is father to the man."

Furthermore, Mr. Wilcox would know that we deeply believe in Psalm 127:3, which states that children are a heritage from the Lord, and the man whose quiver is full of them is truly blessed. Such a valuable gift from God as a child deserves a lot of time.

It is not surprising that fathers of faith spend more time with their children. Sadly, neither is it surprising that so-called sociological experts such as Mr. Wilcox do not understand why we do.


DAN K. GRAHAM

Trinity, Ala.

The virtue in protecting a hard-hit U.S. industry

Recent reportage and commentary in The Washington Times present a cynical and shortsighted perspective on the decision to impose temporary tariffs on certain steel imports ("Trade 'strategery' for a trade strategy," Op-Ed, Tuesday; "Bush to get new start on trade," Business, Aug. 1; and "A comeback for protectionism?" Commentary, July 24).

While these articles and columns are quick to accuse President Bush of straying from traditional free trade principles, they are remiss for not acknowledging the unique degree to which the global steel market has been distorted.

Decades of unfair trade practices and foreign government subsidies have left the global steel trade all but immune to the type of self-correction that would occur in a truly competitive market. As a result, there continue to be nearly 270 million tons of excess steel capacity in the world. Because the United States is a net importer of steel and one of the world's most open markets, much of that excess capacity has ended up here at below-market prices in violation of international trade rules and U.S. law.

The effect of this trade imbalance was a domestic steel industry on the verge of extinction. More than 30 companies had been forced into bankruptcy, tens of thousands of steelworkers had lost their jobs and steel prices fell to their lowest level in 20 years.

Contrary to The Times' assertions, Mr. Bush's decision to impose tariffs was a historic step toward solving a global trade problem. The United States has said it will no longer be the dumping ground for the world's excess steel. Now other countries must take seriously the need to reduce their uneconomical, excess capacity.

The tariffs are helping to stimulate these discussions, while also giving the U.S. steel industry the time to make critical decisions about investment, restructuring and consolidation that can help lead to long-term competitiveness.


WILLIAM KLINEFELTER

Legislative and political director

United Steelworkers of America

Co-chairman

Stand Up for Steel Task Force

Washington


TERRENCE D. STRAUB

Vice president for government affairs

U.S. Steel Corp.

Co-chairman

Stand Up for Steel Task Force

Washington

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