Wed, Sep 01, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Republicans back Taiwan

POLICY STATEMENT Despite having several nice things to say about Beijing, the party adopted a platform that affirms the US' pledge to defend Taiwan if it is attacked

By Charles Snyder  /  STAFF REPORTER IN WASHINGTON

The US Republican Party on Monday adopted a platform that delivered a strong endorsement of close relations between Washington and Taipei, and reiterated its pledge of four years ago to come to Taiwan's aid "in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act" if Taiwan is attacked by China.

The platform, which was approved on Monday by the party presidential nominating convention in New York, recognized that the US maintains a "one-China" policy, and endorsed the Bush administration policy of opposition to any moves to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.

The platform contains an extended commitment to support of and friendship with Taiwan.

"Republicans applaud President [George W.] Bush and the Republican Congress for honoring our nation's promises to the people of Taiwan, a longstanding friend of the United States and a genuine democracy," the platform says.

"Taiwan deserves America's strong support, including the timely sale of defensive arms to enhance Taiwan's security," it adds.

The document noted that the US government policy is "that there is one China, as reflected in the three communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act. America opposes any unilateral decision by either China or Taiwan to change the status quo."

It also recognizes that US policy is based on the principle that "there must be no use for force by China against Taiwan. We deny the right of Beijing to impose its rule on the free Taiwanese people."

The party demanded that all cross-strait issues "must be resolved peacefully and must be agreeable to the people of Taiwan."

If China attacks, "then the United States will respond appropriately in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act. America will help Taiwan defend itself," the platform says.

With the exception of the admonition against changes in the status quo, much of the wording of the document copies directly the text of the party's 2000 platform.

That might have been at the root of confusion in Washington over the weekend, when e-mails reached many Taiwan correspondents presenting the 2000 platform as the draft of this year's policy document, after the new document was approved by the party's platform committee.

Stories about the "new" platform were published in several Chinese-language Taiwanese newspapers before the error was discovered. The source of the error appeared to be the party's official convention Web site, which retained the old document in its platform page without dating the document. Platforms are not binding but remain party policy until changed.

The GOP policy statement is in sharp contrast to the Democratic Party platform adopted in late July, which contained only a passing reference to Taiwan.

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