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    Template Letter- In Response to the White Paper

Taiwan today is a vibrant, prosperous democracy, thanks to the blood, sweat and tears of its people. It wasn't an easy journey. For forty years, the KMT ruled Taiwan under martial law with an iron fist. Having fought for their rights, the Taiwanese people want to preserve their democracy.

A Chinese white paper -issued on February 21- completely fails to understand this reality. In it, China states that it "has the right to resort to any necessary means" ("drastic measures including military force") to "realize the reunification of the two sides of the Straits." All this, one day after Taipei announced it would cancel a long-scheduled missile test "to show China goodwill." And six hours after American envoy Strobe Talbott had departed Beijing after several meetings with the Chinese urging them to show restraint between now and Taiwan's upcoming Presidential elections on March 18.

"Marry me or I'll kill you," is the basic theme of the Chinese policy paper.

The majority of the people on Taiwan have lived separate from China geographically and politically for several hundred years. The KMT government escaped from the Chinese mainland after its 1949 defeat from the civil war with the Communist party and sought asylum on Taiwan, dreaming of one day returning to China. It should be clear that Taiwan's people had nothing to do with that civil war.

When the 22 million people of Taiwan select their next president later this month, they should be able to do so free of Communist China's interference. But threats are China's answer to Taiwan's democracy: rhetorical threats in the policy paper and real physical threats through its missiles pointed at Taiwan, its nuclear submarines prowling Taiwan's shores, and its acquisition of high-tech weapons from Russia.

President Clinton's answer to these threats on February 24th is most welcomed by Taiwanese-Americans and the people of Taiwan. The President said that the U.S. will "continue to make absolutely clear that the issues between Beijing and Taiwan must be resolved peacefully and with the assent of the people of Taiwan."

If through some democratic mechanism such as a referendum, the people of Taiwan decide to opt for de jure independence, then the world in general and the United States in particular should respect that democratically constituted wish.

Additionally, we believe that enactment of the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act, which passed in the House by an overwhelming 341-70 margin on February 1, will solidify Mr. Clinton's clear statement. This bill reinforces the U.S. commitment to Taiwan's security and states, "Any determination of the ultimate status of Taiwan must have the express consent of the people on Taiwan."The bill will help maintain the peace and security of the Taiwan Strait, and thus be beneficial to all countries in the region.

Taiwan is a peace-loving, democratic nation. We want it to stay that way.


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