FAPA on the TRA
US Congressman Eni Faleomavaega (Letters, March 31, page 8) gives the false impression that the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) takes issue with language quoted directly from the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).
We wish to state emphatically that FAPA does not object to any text in the TRA — least of all the portions advocating the provision of defense articles and the preservation of US ties with Taiwan, which were cited by Mr Faleomavaega in truncated form.
FAPA, along with many other Taiwanese-American organizations, is very grateful to the US for safeguarding Taiwan and maintaining peace and stability in the Western Pacific for decades with this piece of legislation.
Our primary concern was the deletion of the word “cornerstone” in describing the importance of the TRA. Mr Faleomavaega, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment, chose to use the word “vital” instead. This single but substantive difference was not mentioned in Mr. Faleomavaega’s March 31 letter.
We believe the TRA is the legal basis for all interaction between the US and Taiwan. The TRA carries the full force of a US public law (“the law of the land”), while the three joint US-China Communiques do not.
We are therefore gratified that the House of Representatives saw fit to restore the word “cornerstone” to House Concurrent Resolution 55 on March 24.
We also wish to make clear that FAPA and the Taipei Times are separate entities. We offered no information to the newspaper, which published an editorial on March 23 relating to Mr Faleomavaega, nor did we know that the editorial was in the offing.
In both letters, Mr Faleomavaega invokes US military forces to make his point.
It is a fact that a free and democratic Taiwan is not threatening China in any way. The root cause of the problem is authoritarian, communist China: A recent Pentagon report to Congress warns that “Beijing continues to threaten the use of military force to compel settlement of the Taiwan dispute.”
History shows that if threats by larger countries against smaller neighbors go unchallenged, it leads to a wider conflict. Nazi Germany’s threats against Poland and Czechoslovakia in 1938, China’s threat against Korea in 1951 and Iraq’s threat against Kuwait in 1991 are all cases in point.
We believe that such a conflict can be avoided if the US takes a firm position and impresses upon China to accept Taiwan as a friendly neighbor. FAPA clearly seeks to prevent conflict in the Taiwan Strait, not provoke it.
PROFESSOR BOB YANG
President, Formosan Association for Public Affairs
Independence from the ROC
The US Court of Appeals in Washington was right in its decision on Wednesday to rule in favor of the US Government, arguing that the court does not deal with political matters (“US Court sidesteps Taiwan’s sovereignty,” April 10, page 1).
The US’ policy toward Taiwan has historically been deliberately vague. In a country where separation of the judicial and executive branches of government is paramount, it is not for a court to voice an opinion on foreign affairs. Pronouncing upon the claims of Roger Lin et al would do precisely that.
When the Republic of China (ROC) was founded, Taiwan — a Japanese colony — was not part of its inheritance as a result of the terms of the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki.