US shouldn't side with China
As a Taiwanese-US grassroots organization promoting freedom and democracy for the people of Taiwan we would like to register our deep concern about a statement reportedly made by a "senior Bush administration official" who is "closely involved in cross-strait affairs."
The official recently gave a briefing to the Chinese-language Liberty Times in which he "emphasized that the two sides of the Strait have continued to avoid direct official dialogue, and that if Taiwan was not willing to make concessions on cross-strait economic policy, and refused to move ahead with direct links with Beijing, it would not be in the best interests of the US" ("US disappointed by cross-strait ties: official," Jan. 8, page 3).
What disturbs us in this statement is that the onus for the lack of dialogue is put on the government in Taiwan. As is well known, President Chen Shui-bian's (
China has continued to impose its unreasonable "one China" condition on Taipei, which basically requires Taiwan to surrender its sovereignty before talks can even start. This is obviously unacceptable.
More disturbingly, the statement implies that it is the US position that Taiwan should make concessions and move toward direct links with China, while no mention is made of any concessions from China or moderation of its stance.
The US is certainly aware of the fact that China is threatening Taiwan with military force, including some 780 missiles.
A step in the right direction would be for China to dismantle the missiles and renounce the use of military force. The Bush administration would do well to focus on those aspects.
As US citizens of Taiwanese descent we believe that the US should avoid siding with China, and should be more supportive of a free and democratic Taiwan.
President of the Formosan
Association for Public
Follow up on reserves
In a recent "Quick Take" column there was a short article on changes in the rules for entry to nature reserves ("Rules for nature reserves," Jan. 8, page 3).
It would be great if the paper could follow up on this by providing further information on how and where members of the public can register to enter nature reserves, or even if this is still possible.
Conservation of natural resources is important and the government should be commended for taking further steps to preserve Taiwan's unique biodiversity. I support efforts to tighten entry requirements to nature reserves, but at the same time I hope that if the rules are followed, ordinary people will still be allowed to visit and enjoy these wild areas.
For it is only on land with intact, working ecosystems that one can gain some insight into the complexity, interrelatedness and beauty of nature.
Let the pandas in
Bring the pandas to Taiwan! Sure, they're pretty dull to watch (what can you say about an animal that faces extinction because it can't be bothered to mate?), but the same is true for koalas.
The koalas at the Taipei Zoo might as well be stuffed for all the entertainment value they offer, but all those koala T-shirts, balloons and assorted paraphernalia have kept Taiwan's economy afloat for years. And the pandas bring hope for unemployed local actors as well: Have the pandas regularly guest star on local soap operas and Korean soaps will have to start featuring Bigfoot or something in order to compete. Everybody wins!