Back to Library Main Page
Back to China's Threats & China's White Papers

March 5, 2000

Senator John McCain:

"… one of Taiwan in case they need it in order to defend themselves. But most importantly, we've got to make it clear to China that they're not behaving in a fashion befitting a nation that is becoming a superpower.  And, it is in their interest not to continue these aggressive actions or behavior or threats against Taiwan because the consequences would far exceed anything they might gain from getting Taiwan back in their fold."

Tim Russert:

"Would we defend Taiwan militarily?"

McCain: "We would make sure that we would exercise every option necessary, uh, and consider all options.  For us to say we will take specific actions would get us into the Quemoy Matsu discussion of 1960. The Chinese, uh…  I would not be more specific than saying the consequences will be incredibly great."

Tim Russert: "The president now is going to try to rush normal trade relations legislation with China through Congress.  Will this current potential crisis between China and Taiwan cause that to fail?"

McCain: "I don't know enough about that vote counting but clearly the Chinese have harmed their chances in Congress. But again, this administration, again, we should have taken up this issue a long time ago.  The President should be making the case to the American people rather than just throwing it in the lap of Congress.  This is his fecklessness associated with the conduct of …"

Tim Russert: "Will support such a trade deal while China continues to threaten Taiwan?"

McCain: Depends on their behavior, depends on how active that gets et cetera, but it makes me less and less comfortable with it. But I do believe that fundamental concept of free trade with China will lead to knowledge, information knowledge, and then a freer and practically -- someday -- a more democratic nation in China as opposed to unilateral imposition of sanctions or even denying them trade status while every other nation in the world is engaging in it."

Senator Bill Bradley: "What is absolutely critical is that we be unambiguous both to the Chinese and to the Taiwanese; that we tell the Taiwanese that if they take steps toward independence that that could very well endanger the Taiwan Relations Act where we are obligated to take appropriate action - and that's purposely vague.  And, I tell the People's Republic that, if they took military action, we have this obligation with the Taiwanese under the Taiwanese Relations Act so as to leave that a little clearer what action we might take.  I think the key thing is to make sure that we preempt any action, that we buy time, we have to have patience, and I think that time can heal this in ways that we hadn't anticipated, as long as our policy steps don't create preemptory action on either side."

Tim Russert: "The Chinese Jinag President Zemin, whom you've met, has just said yesterday we will take all possible drastic measures against Taiwan if they keep moving towards independence."

Bradley: "Well, that's my point - that we should tell the Taiwanese you don't take steps toward independence.  It's one China, let's work this out over time. One of the interesting things in the White Paper that came out in China about 2 weeks ago was not only that China said unless they're negotiations they would take military action but also elements of that recognize Taiwan as a full negotiating partner, which is the first time that ever happened, so that I think this thing can be resolved over time if we can keep our objective - peace - and not be drawn into the battle of words between Taiwan and the People's Republic.  For example, I think that when President Clinton went there and enunciated the "Three No's," which is really the policy the Chinese government wants, that that had an immediate reaction in Taiwan that then claimed, no, we had a special relationship. They then went to the Congress and got the Republican allies to begin to politicize this issue.  And now we have a situation where the issue of Taiwan and China is Republican and Democrat.  It did not have to be that way.  If we could keep the focus on the issue of peace, one-China, and buying time for these countries to - er, these two places - to begin to come together in some way that would be far preferable."

Tim Russert: "Should Congress vote to normalize trade with China while the Chinese are using this bellicose language?"

Bradley: "Tim, I think that, um, it is much better to have the Chinese a member of the World Trade Organization -subject to international rules- than to have them outside the World Trade Organization in which they'll be doing bilateral deals, and cutting those deals and playing one country off to another.  Quite frankly, I don't know why the Chinese leadership agreed to the World Trade Organization agreement, because the result will be thousands, hundreds of thousands, of foreigners, Internet companies, major investors in China.  And it will have a destabilizing impact on the ability of the Communist regime to actually control their people.  And once you lose the ability to control your people, then you have headed down the road toward a much broader-based and potentially democratic society. And that is in our long-term objective, and that's why membership in the WTO is enormously important."

Any question? Please email: or Call: (202)547-3686