Wed, Jul 14, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Democrats omit pledge to back TRA

`ONE CHINA' Four years ago the US Democratic Party promised to honor the Taiwan Relations Act. Now, the party seems to have changed its policy

By Charles Snyder  /  STAFF REPORTER

The US Democratic Party's draft platform for the presidential campaign has reiterated the party's support of a "one China" policy and a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, but has omitted the party's 2000 pledge to fulfill the US' obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).

The draft platform was approved by the party's platform drafting committee over the weekend at a meeting in Florida, and will be formally presented to the full committee during the party's nominating convention in Boston later this month.

A party spokesman noted that wording is still being added to the document, stressing that it is not yet in its final form. In past election years, the drafts have been revised during the discussions on the various planks at and just before the conventions.

In a one-sentence reference to Taiwan, the draft platform says, "We are committed to a `one China' policy, and will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-Straits [sic] issues that is consistent with the wishes and best interests of the Taiwanese people."

In an equally brief reference to China, it says, "we must better engage with China to secure Chinese adherence to international trade, non-proliferation and human rights standards."

In a separate section on trade, the platform also pledges an immediate investigation into China's workers' rights abuses and currency manipulation.

"We will also use all the tools we have to break down barriers in key export markets, like the ... Chinese semiconductor market," it says.

The platform that emerged after the 2000 Democratic convention was somewhat broader than the current draft in its treatment of Taiwan.

"We must search out ways to cooperate [with China] across a broad range of issues," the 2000 document said, "such as the ... bellicose threats directed at Taiwan.

"A Gore administration," it went on, "will fulfill its responsibilities under the Taiwan Relations Act. A Gore administration will also remain committed to a `one China' policy. We support resolution of cross-Straits [sic] issues that is both peaceful and consistent with the wishes of the people of Taiwan," it said.

Then vice president Al Gore was the party's 2000 presidential candidate.

The 2000 platform also pledged to "continue to work with China and Taiwan to resolve their differences by peaceful means."

It also contained wording supporting better relations with China, saying the US "must continue to engage China" as a country that "is destined to be one of the basic facts of international life."

The Republican Party, which will hold its convention in early September in New York City is still working on its platform draft. In 2000, the party's platform included an extensive section on Taiwan and China, pledging to "promote peace in the Taiwan Strait."

In 2000, the party pledged to "honor our promises to the people of Taiwan, a longstanding friend of the United States and a genuine democracy," and pointed to Taiwan's election only a month before that platform was approved, which resulted in the election of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

The Republicans then also voiced support for Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization and other international bodies. It "acknowledge[d] the view that there is one China," and demanded that China not try to take over Taiwan by force.

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