Taiwan is the 51st state?
Your recent editorial "Taiwan is sovereign but abnormal" (Nov. 11, page 8) left out one element: Taiwan in fact falls under US Military Government authority according to "Taiwan Status: From Grotius to WTO" (www.geocities.com/taiwanstatus/taiwanstatus)
The treaty between Japan and the Republic of China (ROC) was formed under the provision of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, to which the US is the principal signatory. Since Japan recognized the People's Republic of China (PRC) after 1979, the Taipei (Japan-ROC) Treaty became void. Japan and the PRC had another treaty under the provision of the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Before this treaty, there was an agreement among Japan, China and the US when the US had to ask China's help on the Vietnam problem. What followed was China asking for Taiwan's return (which required Japan's kowtow), and Japan asked for the return of Okinawa. So history shows Japan got Okinawa back, the US got the Vietnam problem solved, and in public China got the Three Communiques, signed by Washington and Beijing in 1972, 1978 and 1982. There is no doubt that the US made some concession on Taiwan to China, otherwise China would not have kept its insistence on the fulfillment of the Three Communiques.
China can play a lot of cards. For example, the Bush administration changed its tone after the spy-craft incident during the first year of his presidency, and US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing (李肇星) became "good friends." Taiwan has to watch out for being "traded" in the geopolitics of Japan, the Koreas, China and the US. What happened during Powell's "slip of the tongue," the recent agreement of China, and the US on the North Korea question both point to one agenda.
There are signs that this event is very similar to the Vietnam problem in the 1970s. After the North Korea question is solved, there will be some changes regarding Taiwan's status as far as the Bush administration is concerned. Unless Taiwan wants to become the 51st state of the US, it cannot depend on assistance.
Overseas Taiwanese organizations have to be recruited to help prevent a status change. At least these organizations have to expand their agenda to include the Americans and British to put pressure on their representatives in the US Congress so that the Bush administration will not give Taiwan to China.
Taipei isn't Beijing
If Tongyong pinyin were a "nuisance" ("The perfect romanization system," Nov. 20, page 8), Hanyu pinyin would be worse, because most people need a phrase book to adapt to its "q" and "x." Without such a book, people will be at a loss. They will wonder, for example, whether "qing" should be pronounced as "king" or "quing" or something else; and whether "xi" should be pronounced as "zi" or "eksi" or "si."
By replacing "q" and "x" in Hanyu by "c" and "s" in Tongyong, people can read "cing" and "si" in the previous examples more easily and accurately. Tongyong is for the great majority of people who do not have any background in Hanyu, nor any reference books about Mandarin romanization.
It is inappropriate to claim Hanyu (literally meaning "Han language") is a "standard." After all, the Han is only one of the major ethnic groups in China. There is no such thing as standard English, French or Spanish. Why should there be standard Chinese?