Taiwan's top official in charge of relations with China said the US' involvement in various crisis situations around the world could give China the opportunity to increase its influence and punish Taiwan.
Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) voiced concerns about the US' preoccupation with the war in Iraq, along with its efforts to get North Korea to scrap its nuclear program, keep Iran from developing nuclear capacities and maintain a fragile peace between Israel and Hezbollah.
"We are concerned that the United States might be caught by those crises, and they do not have sufficient attention to pay to the cross-straight situation," he said of Taiwan's relations with its huge neighbor.
"China might take advantage of that," Wu said in Los Angeles on Friday.
While in Los Angeles, Wu planned to visit Taiwanese community leaders. Earlier this week, he met with Bush administration officials in Washington.
He said China had already begun taking advantage of various distracting world crises, citing Chad's switch of diplomatic alliance from Taiwan to China last month.
Taiwan has charged China with using its status as a member of the UN Security Council, and its ability to influence events in neighboring Sudan, to push Chad to cut diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Wu said the best way to mend relations with China was by improving business ties and allowing thousands more tourists from China to visit Taiwan.
"There is a lot of bad blood between Taiwan and China at this point," Wu said. "The best way to promote mutual understanding, with the background that China suppresses its media reporting on Taiwan, is to bring the Chinese to Taiwan directly."
Wu said that many Taiwanese worried that they already had too many economic ties with China, but he believed more could only improve relations.
"With more outside forces going into China, including investment, it may make China evolve" toward democracy, he said.