As the chorus of criticism of the US State Department's handling of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) name-change initiative grows among Taiwan's supporters in Washington, Therese Shaheen, former American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) chairwoman and US Representative Tom Tancredo have become the latest to slam the department for its attitudes toward Taiwan.
Shaheen's comments, made in an interview with the Taipei Times, mark the first time in the three years since she was dismissed from the AIT post for her strong pro-Taiwan views that she has broken her silence to criticize what she sees as the department's over-sensitivities toward China's complaints about political developments in Taiwan.
For Tancredo, in a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday, the department's tough reaction to the name-change move was "puzzling" in contrast to the department's mild reaction to China's passage of its "Anti-Secession" Law in 2005.
Their reactions come just days after former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage publicly criticized the department for its over-reaction on Friday.
"Taiwan ... is one of the freest democracies in Asia," Shaheen said. "From the greatest democracy in the world [the US], the maturing democracy in Taiwan deserves respect."
Claiming that the department's policy and reactions to Taiwan stem from a concern over China's feelings, she said: "As the only superpower, we should not be relating to Taiwan in a reactive way. The US needs to act strategically toward Taiwan."
She also faulted the department for implicitly accusing Chen of violating his "four noes" pledge in his 2000 inaugural address by ordering the name changes.
Tancredo said that for the department "to equate the renaming of a gas station with a change in Taiwan's international status is, to say the least, rather puzzling," in reference to changing the name of the Chinese Petroleum Corp to CPC Corp, Taiwan.
"It is rather difficult to understand how a decision about what the name of a local business might be in Taiwan is any of the State Department's concern," Tancredo said. "It seems to me that Taiwan's elected leaders and investors are perfectly capable of determining what the name of a particular shipbuilding company ought to be."
His letter recalled the muted response by the department to the "Anti-Secession" Law. At the time, then state department spokesman Richard Boucher urged both sides to seek dialogue, while White House spokesman Scott McClellan characterized the law only as "unhelpful," Tancredo wrote.
In fact, the law "was intended to create a legal framework for China to initiate military action against Taiwan. The `law' represents a clear-cut, belligerent and dangerous step toward a military attack of Taiwan," he said.
On Feb. 9 the State Department said that it opposed moves by Taiwan "that would appear to change Taiwan's status unilaterally or move toward independence. The United States does not, for instance, support changes in terminology for entities administered by the Taiwan authorities."
Critics believe the department's response is linked to the US need for Chinese cooperation in the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted