Flag-Waving in Taiwan
Byline: James Morrison, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Flag-waving in Taiwan
In Taiwan yesterday, a Fourth of July celebration came a day early and 24 years late.
U.S. envoy Douglas Paal hosted the Independence Day reception complete with an American flag projected on a large screen in a break with diplomatic protocol established in 1979 when the United States recognized communist China and cut formal relations with Taiwan.
"It's just a very natural thing for Americans to get together," he told the Associated Press in the capital, Taipei. "Our mutual democratic values and desire to achieve peace and prosperity make cooperation between us as natural as the waters flowing from Taiwan's beautiful mountains."
The American Institute in Taiwan, often called the unofficial U.S. Embassy, has not publicly celebrated U.S. holidays or flown the flag in more than two decades. The policy was designed to placate China, which claims Taiwan as a province and strongly opposes any diplomatic recognition of the island.
Taiwan Prime Minister Yu Shyi-kun, who represented the government at the reception, said the celebration is a sign of improving relations under the Bush administration.
"This is conducive to enhancing bilateral exchanges and friendship," he told AP.
The Polish view
The Polish ambassador is confident that the United States and European nations that opposed the war in Iraq will soon get over the diplomatic dispute because Europe and America share the same history and destiny.
"We think very strongly that America is a European power," said Ambassador Przemyslaw Grudzinski. "America is part of our European experience and a part of our past and a part of our present and part of our future. We need America as much as America needs Europe."
Poland was among many European nations that supported the United States, while France and Germany were among the few, but vocal, opponents.
"I think that the fundamentals of this relationship have not changed, and in time it will be possible to reconcile the difference, heal some wounds and to move forward," he told the Voice of America's "On the Line" television show last month. …