Thu, Mar 09, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Letter: What is the US' `status quo'?

By Su Yen-pin

While the US State Department continues to ask President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to reconfirm that the cross-strait "status quo" has not changed, one cannot help but ask: What is the US' interpretation of the status quo? And is it different from that of China?

For the Chinese government, the cross-strait "status quo" means that Taiwan is a province of China, which is strongly opposed by most Taiwanese people. Because the unification council and guidelines also consider Taiwan a part of China, the decision to cease their function helps Taiwan escape from the trap of the "one China" principle. Meanwhile, this also means that it is the Taiwanese people, not the ruling elite, who have the ultimate right to decide Taiwan's future. Maintaining the status quo of Taiwan's democracy and freedom is the consensus of all Taiwanese people and it corresponds with US interests.

Needless to say, the Chinese government and the pan-blue camp were infuriated by Chen's decision. However, it seems that the US also believes Taiwan may change the status quo unilaterally. In fact, the US government seems to put much more pressure on Taiwan than China these days.

For example, the US hardly talks about China's growing military arsenal, nor the 14.7 percent increase in its military budget announced for this year. Does the US not regard this as a serious threat to the "status quo?"

If the US' idea of the "status quo" is different from that of China, namely, that Taiwan is a sovereign state instead of a part of the PRC, then the US government should clarify its interpretation unambiguously so as to avoid any misunderstanding among the main "players" on the Taiwan Strait's chessboard.

Su Yen-pin

Yonghe, Taipei County

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