Fri, Mar 30, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Drop `one China' policy: US think tank

OUTDATED The Heritage Foundation said that US policy on Taiwan is stuck in the 70s and encourages a Chinese perception that Washington supports a takeover of Taiwan

By Charles Snyder  /  STAFF REPORTER IN WASHINGTON

Describing the US' "one China" policy and the term "status quo" as politically dangerous and misleading, a conservative US think tank called on Washington to adopt a more relevant policy that favors Taiwan.

In a new book released on Wednesday, the Washington-based Heritage Foundation said that times have changed since the US policy was enunciated in 1972, when then US president Richard Nixon made a historic visit to China, and in 1979, when the US switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

The book -- Reshaping the Taiwan Strait -- said that US policy should be formulated based on the premise that only the Taiwanese be allowed to determine the nation's future.

Speaking at the Heritage's conference room on Wednesday, John Tkacik, the book's editor and a senior Heritage fellow, and four other contributors, demanded a change in US policy toward Taiwan.

Tkacik is a leading proponent among a small but vocal cadre of academics and former US government officials campaigning for the scrapping of the US' "one China" policy.

"The `one China' policy is outdated," said Bruce Jacobs, a professor at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. "Taiwan is not a part of China ... The status quo has no relevancy today."

"The notion that there is such a thing as the status quo is false. There is no such thing," said Dan Blumenthal, a member of the blue-ribbon US-China Security and Economic Review Commission, a congressional panel, and a former Pentagon China specialist in the office of the US Secretary of Defense.

"So the notion that [the situation in Taiwan] is static and that a one-China policy can continue is just not right," he said.

"The US policy toward Taiwan has been very delusional. We delude ourselves into thinking there are certain circumstances under which we would allow Taiwan to go [to China]. That leads to drift and crises. That is how catastrophes happen," he said.

The "one China policy" encourages Beijing to think that the US would allow it to take over Taiwan, Blumenthal said.

"We don't mean we acknowledge China's right to Taiwan. Actually, we are trying to wait it out until China becomes democratic and then it changes its policy [toward] Taiwan," Blumenthal said.

"We mislead China by constantly repeating we acknowledge its position and somehow one day they will actually unify [with] Taiwan. This encourages China to be more aggressive and to lay the diplomatic groundwork around the world for a more aggressive policy," he said.

Tkacik foresaw a scenario in which the pan blues would dismantle Taiwan's defenses by allowing China to take over gradually.

"I can see a situation in which a new leader of Taiwan basically says, `My policy is to improve relations across the Taiwan Strait. I want to create confidence-building measures. want to increase the number of Taiwanese going to China. I want to increase the number of Chinese coming to Taiwan. I want to drop the investment restraints so that there are no restrictions on cross-strait movements,'" he said.

"At one point, the people of Taiwan will wake up and say, `It looks like we really are part of China, after all,'" he said.

"And I think you already see in the words of some Taiwan political leaders that they don't believe Taiwan needs to divest itself from China," and Taiwan will become in effect a part of China, Tkacik said.

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