Taiwan Relations Act Should Be Central to Bush's China Policy

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 22, 2002 | Go to article overview

Taiwan Relations Act Should Be Central to Bush's China Policy


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Don Feder's Feb. 20 Commentary piece, "China would choke on Taiwan," does an excellent job of characterizing Taiwan's situation vis-a-vis China and the rest of the world. I would like to make two points about this analysis, with which I agree, as far as it goes.

First, Taiwan is the only living Chinese democracy. As such, it ought to be regarded as part of the free world, to use an expression not heard much since the fall of the Soviet Union.

No government or country in the world that considers itself democratic ought to be comfortable with the possibility of the extinction of constitutional government on Taiwan. Democracy is not divisible, in that no democracy can, in my opinion, disappear without damaging democracies everywhere.

Taiwan has earned its democratic status by gradually and without violence transferring control of the government from its original leaders to a new set. In a sense, the Kuomintang, China's original revolutionary party, validated the movement to democracy when it lost first the presidency, then control of the parliament, at the ballot box.

Second, and critical to understanding the first point, is the part the Taiwan Relations Act has played in Taiwan's economic growth and political evolution. The three communiques are merely executive communications and are superseded by, and are without the power of, an act of Congress duly signed into law by the president. However, that is precisely what the Taiwan Relations Act is: the law of the land. …

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