Tue, Nov 02, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Ignore Powell: Taiwan a state

By Vincent Wang

In response to the article "Poor word choice or a policy shift?" (Oct. 27, page 8): US Secretary of State Colin Powell's remarks that "Taiwan does not enjoy sovereignty as a nation" confuses a policy expedient ("one China") with reality.

The Republic of China (ROC)meets the four criteria for statehood as defined by the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States: one, a permanent population; two, a defined territory; three, government; and four, capacity to enter into relations with other states. The Convention says, "The political existence of the state is independent of recognition by other states" and "Recognition is unconditional and irrevocable." Just because the US doesn't recognize President Fidel Castro's Cuba doesn't mean Cuba is not a state. The US transfer of recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979 did not cause the ROC to cease to be a state.

Powell's expectation that Beijing and Taipei will move toward a "peaceful unification" violates the decades-old nuanced US policy of peaceful resolution of differences between Taiwan and China, while not prejudicing any final outcome.

Vincent Wang

Richmond, Virginia

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