November 8, 1999
Sherrod Brown Asks Albright for Clarification of "One China
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
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."
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.
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.
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."
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
of the letter which was sent out on October 25:
U.S. Secretary of State
Department of State
2201 C. Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
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.
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
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
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.
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)."
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.