In a late change to its election campaign platform this year, the Democratic Party expanded its commitment to Taiwan, adding two small but important phrases to an earlier draft that virtually ignored the Taiwan issue.
In the final document, which will be presented to the party’s presidential nominating convention in Denver next week, the party added references to the Taiwan Relations Act and the wishes of Taiwanese.
An earlier draft, which was the basis of a Taipei Times story last weekend, only referred to a commitment to the so-called “one-China” policy and the need for a peaceful solution to cross-strait issues.
As amended, the final section on Taiwan is still small. It now reads: “We are committed to a ‘One China’ policy and the Taiwan Relations Act, and will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross Straits [sic] issues that is consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people of Taiwan.”
However, presumptive party presidential candidate Barack Obama has gone beyond those commitments in statements and letters on Taiwan in recent months.
In May, Obama sent a letter to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) congratulating Ma on his inauguration and offering his support.
“A sound US-Taiwan relationship will certainly be the goal of my administration,” Obama wrote.
“I believe that the United States should strengthen channels of communication with officials of your government. We should continue to provide the arms necessary for Taiwan to deter possible aggression,” he wrote.
The letter, which was believed to have been drafted by Richard Bush, a key Obama advisor and a former chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan, the US’ de facto embassy in the absence of diplomatic ties, called Ma’s election and inauguration “good days for the people of Taiwan, for the forces of democracy around the world and for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and western Pacific.”
It also expressed the hope that China would respond to Ma’s presidency “in a constructive and forward-leaning way.”
The Republican Party, whose convention is at the beginning of next month, is expected to release its platform later this month.
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