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For immediate release
November 8, 1999


Rep. Sherrod Brown Asks Albright for Clarification of "One China Policy"

 Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) asked Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, in a letter dated October 25, 1999,  to "clarify the Administration's statements concerning the so-called one China policy."

 Brown noted several instances, including Albright's 9/23 joint press conference with the Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China, Tang Jiaxuan, where he believes the only interpretation that seems possible of the one China policy is "that the Administration accepts, not acknowledges, the People's Republic of China's version of the one China position."

 Brown notes that, in the 1972 Communique, the United States did not say it agreed with the statement that "all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is part of China" or endorsed the statement.  "We simply acknowledged it," he states.

 Brown concludes that he believes "recent Administration seem to have moved away from this neutral position" and asks for "your clarification of this most important issue.

 Brown and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) have submitted House Concurrent Resolution 166 which expresses the "sense of Congress that the United States should adopt a "One China, One Taiwan Policy" which reflects the present day reality that Taiwan and China are two separate nations."

 "This clarification request could not be more timely," stated Wen-yen Chen, Ph.D., President of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs.  "President Lee Teng-hui's July 9th "state-to-state" formulation, explained in great detail in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, calls for both clarification of the U.S. position and serious rethinking of US-Taiwan policy.  FAPA has called for a One China, One Taiwan Policy for many years now.  The time has come for this policy to become a reality."

The text of the letter which was sent out on October 25:

The Honorable Madeleine Albright
U.S. Secretary of State

Department of State

2201 C. Street, NW

Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Madam Secretary:

 I am writing to ask that you clarify the Administration's statements concerning the so-called one China policy.  The drumbeat of this phrase, repeated as a mantra over the last few months, has given Congress and the American public the distinct impression that the Administration has assumed the People's Republic of China's definition of "one China" as its own.

 On September 23, 1999 you held a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China, Tang Jiaxuan.  Asked about Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui's "special state-to-state" formulation, Foreign Minister Tang called President Lee a "troublemaker" and "a major obstacle to the continued sound relationship" between the United States and China.  Furthermore, Foreign Minister Tang warned the United States not "do anything to puff him [President Lee] up."

 Your response to Foreign Minister Tang's remarks was "I think that we have made quite clear what our China policy is, supporting our one China policy.  We have stated the three nos."  Is there any other interpretation that can be construed from your remarks but that the Administration accepts, not acknowledges, the People's Republic of China's version of the one China position?

 Furthermore, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Susan Shirk, in her September 15, 1999 testimony before the Asia and Pacific Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee, reiterated the "one China policy" term four times within the first three pages of her statement.  Two days later, while no text was released, it is my understanding that a U.S. official used this same formulation in a UN General Assembly Steering Committee meeting when a resolution to put membership for Taiwan on the General Assembly's agenda was discussed and, for the first time, the U.S. effectively opposed the resolution.

 The bedrock statement of U.S. policy, as I understand it, has always been that of the 1972 Shanghai Communique: "The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is part of China."  We did not say we agreed with that statement, or endorsed it.  We simply acknowledged it.  Furthermore, the conference report on the Taiwan Relations Act remains a valid interpretation of this Communique: "The administration acknowledged the Chinese position that Taiwan is part of China, but the United States has not itself agreed with this position (Taiwan Enabling Act Report No. 967, March 1, 1979, page 7)."

 As I indicated, recent Administration statements seem to have moved away from this neutral position.  American Institute of Taiwan Chair Richard Bush's summary, enunciated on July 25, 1999 after a series of meetings in  Taiwan, captures best what I believe should be our policy, "How specifically to define the 'one-China' principle and how concretely to realize it are best left to the two sides of the Strait on a mutually acceptable basis."

     I ask your clarification of this most important issue.

      Sincerely etc....
 

 


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