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   FAPA Press Release - Taiwan's Name Rectification Campaign Not U.S. Concern, says Rep. Tancredo

For Immediate Release                   

February 21, 2007

Contact: Coen Blaauw 202-547-3686
 

REP. TANCREDO: TAIWAN's NAME RECTIFICATION CAMPAIGN NOT U.S. CONCERN

In a letter dated February 20, 2007, to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Rep. Tancredo criticizes earlier criticism by the State Department addressed to President Chen's ‘name rectification' efforts.

Rep. Tancredo writes: "First, it is rather difficult to understand how a decision about what the name of a local business might be in Taiwan is any of the State Department's concern. Second, for the State Department to equate the renaming of a gas station with a change Taiwan's international status is, to say the least, rather puzzling. 

Referring to China's passage of the anti-secession law in 2003, Rep. Tancredo writes: "Clearly, this act represented a change in the "status quo" – yet the strongest and most direct rebuke to China that State Department spokesman Richard Boucher could muster was "[W]e think it's important for both sides to focus on dialogue." The best then-White House spokesman Scott McClellan could do at the time was to characterize the law as "unhelpful."

The Congressman concludes: "We often hear that the State Department is concerned about unilateral actions by either China or Taiwan that might change the "status quo."  In practice, however, the department seems more than willing to criticize Taiwan's leaders (often for quite trivial things), yet very reluctant to rebuke the leadership in Beijing."

FAPA President C.T. Lee states: "State Department guidelines over the past decade clearly state that U.S. officials can and may not refer to Taiwan as the "Republic of China" - only "Taiwan" - since the United States and Taiwan do not maintain diplomatic relations. (E.g. Taiwan Relations Act, American Institute in Taiwan, Taiwan desk a the State Department etc...) Now Taiwan no longer uses "China" but starts using "Taiwan," and the State Department criticizes Taiwan for that! It is the ultimate irony!"

 

February 20, 2007

The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Rice,

I was somewhat confused by a recent statement issued by the department criticizing President Chen's ‘name rectification' efforts in Taiwan.   The written statement distributed by the department expressed concern that changing the name of a few businesses in Taiwan will "change Taiwan's status unilaterally or move [Taiwan] toward independence."

First, it is rather difficult to understand how a decision about what the name of a local business might be in Taiwan is any of the State Department's concern.  It seems to me that Taiwan's elected leaders and investors are perfectly capable of determining what the name of a particular shipbuilding company ought to be.

Second, for the State Department to equate the renaming of a gas station with a change Taiwan's international status is, to say the least, rather puzzling.  While there are many important factors to be concerned with when it comes to cross-strait relations, I am not sure the name of Taiwan's national airline or post office are among them.  After all, "Taiwan Beer" has been brewed and sold on the island for quite some time – and I am not aware of the beer label triggering any sort of geopolitical crisis.    

We often hear that the State Department is concerned about unilateral actions by either China or Taiwan that might change the "status quo."  In practice, however, the department seems more than willing to criticize Taiwan's leaders (often for quite trivial things), yet very reluctant to rebuke the leadership in Beijing.

For example, compare the State Department's reaction to Taiwan's name rectification effort to that of China's adoption of the so-called "anti-secession law" in 2005.

The "anti-secession law" – by Beijing's own admission – was intended to create a legal framework for China to initiate military action against Taiwan.  The "law" represents a clear-cut, belligerent and dangerous step toward a military attack of Taiwan.

Clearly, this act represented a change in the "status quo" – yet the strongest and most direct rebuke to China that State Department spokesman Richard Boucher could muster was "[W]e think it's important for both sides to focus on dialogue."   The best then-White House spokesman Scott McClellan could do at the time was to characterize the law as "unhelpful."

But perhaps I am being too critical.

Maybe the State Department is simply waiting for China to do something extremely "provocative"– like renaming their airlines or gas stations – before issuing a similarly stern warning to Beijing.
 

                                                                       Sincerely,


                                                                       Tom Tancredo
                                                                       Member of Congress

 
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