Fri, Feb 03, 2012 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

US and China in cahoots?

As an American, it was disheartening to experience the events leading up to Taiwan’s recent presidential elections, as described by Chen Ching-chih (陳清志) (“US intervened in Jan. 14 election,” Jan. 30, page 8), despite American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman Raymond Bughardt’s insistence that the US remained neutral during the election campaign (“AIT chair repeats US ‘neutrality’ in presidential poll,” Jan. 31, page 1).

It defies imagination that any reasonable person without a political axe to grind would come to any different conclusion than that expressed by Chen. The obvious question this raises to me is why the US so blatantly attempted to influence the outcome of the election.

As an avid follower of international news, a number of international events leading up to the election and immediately afterward raised a stunning question in my mind.

Here are my observations:

It is common knowledge that the US has been trying to get international support from countries to not purchase oil from Iran in order to reduce their oil revenues and pressure the country to negotiate a settlement to end their pursuit of nuclear technology. China, which imports about 11 percent of its oil supplies from Iran, has been a major target of US diplomacy on this matter.

On Jan. 10, US Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner visited Beijing, in part to discuss China’s participation in the international boycott of Iranian oil.

On Jan. 15, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) started his visit to oil-producing countries in the Middle East with an initial visit to Saudi Arabia.

Can we connect the dots? Was there a quid pro quo agreement between the US and China? Did the US agree to “indirectly” intervene in the Taiwanese presidential election to ensure Ma’s victory, on the condition that China would make efforts to replace its Iranian oil supply with oil from other Middle Eastern countries?

Taiwan’s presidential election was held on Jan. 14, one day before Wen began his tour of oil-producing Middle Eastern countries. It was his first visit to Saudi Arabia in 20 years.

Sam Ritchie

Taipei

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