Mon, Mar 31, 2008 - Page 3 News List

John Bolton makes case for 'full diplomatic ties'

REAFFIRM The former US ambassador to the UN said that the KMT win in the presidential election does not mean Taiwanese gave up on independence

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA , LOS ANGELES

Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton said in an article published in the Los Angeles Times on Saturday that the US should grant "full diplomatic recognition" to Taiwan.

Bolton, now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute -- a conservative think tank based in Washington -- said that US policy has long held that Taiwanese should determine their own political future without being subjected to coercion by Beijing.

Now that Taiwanese have elected Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) as their new president, the US should "reaffirm clearly and unequivocally that it supports the expression of the people's will in Taiwan's elections and will continue to stand beside its longtime ally, including through necessary military assistance," Bolton wrote.

Bolton said Ma's victory over rival Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) of the Democratic Progressive Party does not mean that Taiwan would shift from seeking formal independence to unification with China, because the majority of Taiwanese prefer to maintain the "status quo," which implies that Taiwan is a sovereign state.

The clearest way of expressing US support for Taiwan is to "give full diplomatic recognition to the state that already exists and that the Taiwanese overwhelmingly wish to preserve," he wrote.

Bolton said it was potentially dangerous for the US to maintain ambiguous, informal ties with Taiwan, because such a position is confusing and only obscures Beijing's understanding of how committed the US is to Taiwan's defense and self-determination.

"Recognition [of Taiwan] would bring stability and certainly, thus actually lowering the risks that Beijing will misinterpret the US position and threaten or actually commence military action to regain Taiwan," Bolton wrote.

"Extending diplomatic recognition would no more prejudice the US' `one China' policy [itself an exercise in confusion and ambiguity] or the ultimate issue of reunification than did US recognition of the two Germanys during the Cold War," he wrote.

In conclusion, Bolton said: "China will not like this turn of events, but inevitably it will have little choice but to accept dual recognition. Now more than ever, the US -- and Europe and Japan -- must be assertive in supporting a strengthening democracy in Taiwan."

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