I would like to respond to your report on "US wants Chen to keep promises" (Oct. 19, page 3).
The US State Department comments regarding Taiwan have long baffled me.
First of all, China has already unilaterally changed the status quo with its missile and military buildup and aggressive attempts to annex Taiwan. Whatever Taiwan does to decrease the threat and increase its autonomy would be bringing things closer to the status quo of earlier years.
And secondly, how could the US not want Taiwan to be a free and independent nation? It is the best thing for their strategic interests.
So why does the US keep making these statements? I think it must be because the US State Department is actually trying to help Taiwan. They don't really care if Taiwan moves toward formal independence. But they have decided that the best way to help Taiwan prevent war is if they say they do not want Taiwan to do anything. That way, China will hold off on war because they think there is outside international pressure on Taiwan.
If this is true, then what Taiwan should do is go full-speed ahead on democratization. President Chen should ignore past promises as part of a past (un)reality, and bring this country into a new republic fit for Taiwan. The US can keep saying, "We don't want anyone to change the status quo." And we'll know they are crossing their fingers behind their backs.