Thu, Sep 06, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Democrats outline policy on Asia-Pacific, Taiwan

AN AFTERTHOUGHT?The Republicans’ policy platform is considered slightly stronger on Taiwan, with more direct language on Taiwan and a pledge to defend it if attacked

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in WASHINGTON

Both the Democratic and Republican parties have now released their official foreign policy platforms — including mentions of Taiwan — ahead of the November US presidential election.

Democrats published their platform on Tuesday as they opened their three-day national convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, to renominate US President Barack Obama for a second term.

The Republicans issued their platform last week when they met in Tampa, Florida, to nominate former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney as their presidential candidate.

Coen Blaauw, an official with the Washington-based Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), said that while the Republican stand on Taiwan was “a little stronger” than the Democratic stand, both were “pretty much as expected.”

He said that it was usual for the out-of-power party to be more assertive, while the party holding the White House was careful not to upset existing policies.

“We remain committed to a ‘one China’ policy, the Taiwan Relations Act and the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues that is consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people of Taiwan,” the last paragraph of the Democratic platform on the Asia-Pacific region reads.

Some analysts, speaking privately, said that it appeared as though Taiwan had been mentioned “as an afterthought.”

The platform says that Obama is committed to continuing efforts to build a cooperative relationship with China, “while being clear and candid when we have differences.”

The world has a profound interest in the rise of a peaceful and prosperous China, the platform says, but China must also understand that it must abide by clear international standards and rules of the road.

“We will consistently speak out on the importance of respecting the universal human rights of the Chinese people, including the right of the Tibetan people to preserve their cultural and religious identity,” the Democratic platform says.

The Republicans devoted far more words directly to Taiwan.

“We salute the people of Taiwan, a sound democracy and economic model for mainland China,” the Republican platform says.

“America and Taiwan are united in our shared belief in fair elections, personal liberty and free enterprise,” it says.

The stated Republican policy goes on to oppose any unilateral steps by either side to alter the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait on the principle that all issues regarding Taiwan’s future must be resolved peacefully, through dialogue, and be agreeable to Taiwanese.

“If China were to violate those principles, the US, in accord with the Taiwan Relations Act, will help Taiwan defend itself,” the platform says.

“We praise steps taken by both sides of the Taiwan Strait to reduce tension and strengthen economic ties,” it says. “As a loyal friend of America, Taiwan has merited our strong support, including free-trade agreements status, as well as the timely sale of defensive arms and full participation in the World Health Organization, International Civil Aviation Organization and other multilateral institutions.”

Recent opinion polls give Obama a narrow lead over Romney, but political analysts predict that the election will be very close.

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