Fri, Jul 23, 2004 - Page 8 News List

An open letter to US Senator John Kerry

By Li Thian-hok李天福

Dear Senator Kerry: There are more than 600,000 US citizens of Taiwanese heritage. In the November presidential election, Taiwanese Americans will vote for the candidate who firmly supports democratic Taiwan.

During the Iowa caucus you said the US should push for a "one China, two systems" for Taiwan. While Beijing promised Hong Kong 50 years of democracy under "one country, two systems," it has already reneged on that pledge. The Taiwan Relations Act says it is the objective of the US to preserve and enhance the human rights of the people of Taiwan. How can we in good conscience push the free people of Taiwan into servitude under the Chinese Communist Party's repressive rule?

We hope you simply misspoke when you suggested "one China, two systems" for Taiwan's future. The proposal is contrary to US policy toward Taiwan, which has been carefully developed by six former US presidents. But we have not seen any retraction of your Iowa statement.

The Democratic Party's platform committee came up with a draft during a recent meeting in Florida. In a one-sentence reference to Taiwan, the draft platform states: "We are committed to a `one China' policy, and will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-Straits [sic] issues that is consistent with the wishes and best interests of the Taiwanese people."

Missing conspicuously from the draft is any affirmation of US commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act. In contrast, the 2000 Democratic Party platform said: "A Gore administration will fulfill its responsibilities under the Taiwan Relations Act ... We support resolution of cross-Straits [sic] issues that is both peaceful and consistent with the wishes of the people of Taiwan."

The failure to affirm the Taiwan Relations Act, in combination with your suggestion of a Hong Kong-style future for Taiwan, could lead to undesirable consequences for both the US and Taiwan. Beijing could decide to actively intercede in the November election on your behalf, since your position on Taiwan appears to be much more accommodating to China's declared intent to annex Taiwan, by force if necessary. Foreign intervention in the US presidential election is not only illegal, it would be harmful to US national interests. No US president should be beholden to a foreign power because of its help in winning the White House.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) has been actively developing the capacity to invade Taiwan with a multi-prong blitzkrieg with the aim of occupying the island before the US can react. At present, the PLA is conducting a large-scale joint-force exercise simulating an invasion of Taiwan on China's southeastern coast. Tensions across the Taiwan Strait are high. If China perceives that a Kerry administration will not honor America's commitment to help defend Taiwan, China could well decide to launch an all-out military invasion against Taiwan while US forces are still preoccupied with intractable problems in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2000, the Republican platform strongly affirmed the Taiwan Relations Act as follows: "We deny the right of Beijing to impose its rule on the free Taiwanese people. All issues regarding Taiwan's future must be resolved peacefully and must be agreed to by the people of Taiwan. [If China attacked Taiwan,] the United States will respond appropriately in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act. America will help Taiwan defend itself."

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