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U.S. shouldn’t sacrifice Taiwan for China

SHARE U.S. shouldn’t sacrifice Taiwan for China

President Clinton has finally conceded to Beijing's "Three Nos" demand in dealing with the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan. While in Shanghai, the president said that the United States will not support Taiwan independence, the creation of Two-Chinas or One China, One Taiwan and Taiwan's re-entry into the United Nations. This is another unfair blow for Taiwan, which has watched its identity erode in the global community since President Nixon visited the mainland in 1972. Barred from the United Nations and often shunned from international organizations, we nevertheless exist.

The Republic of China has been a sovereign country since its founding in 1912. We still have our own government, our own territory and our own citizens. Our existence is an undeniable fact. When Clinton complied with Communist China's "Three Nos" demand, it indicated his willingness to smooth a path with the mainland at the expense of Taiwan. Given the steadfast friendship that has existed between the United States and Taiwan despite a lack of formal relations, Clinton's pledge to Beijing was therefore astounding.In the past 12 years, we have transformed our country to a full democracy, encouraging multiparty participation and free elections. Despite being a diplomatic wasteland for the past 25 years, we have also nurtured an agriculture-based economy into an industrial economy, one which now plays a key role in today's high-tech industry.

It is no secret that my country has been trying to gain admittance into the United Nations so our 21 million people on Taiwan can be allowed a voice in the international community. In addressing this issue, Clinton said, "We don't believe that Taiwan should be a member in any organization for which statehood is a requirement." We think this is unfair, especially since the United Nations allowed the former East Germany and West Germany simultaneous membership in the past. In that situation, a country was divided by Communism, but it did not prevent Germany from eventual reunification.

Don't misunderstand me. I, too, can see the wisdom of getting on mainland China's good side. After all, Taiwan has also reaped the benefits from doing business on the mainland. But must relations with Taiwan be sacrificed? Mainland China is not only a major superpower, but it's also a huge consumer market for American goods. However, keep in mind that despite the mainland's billion-plus population, Taiwan still buys 1.6 times the amount of American goods as its neighbor across the strait.

Clinton's trip is intended to cement closer ties with the Chinese mainland. However, I very much doubt Americans need to sacrifice Taiwan to promote its relationship with Beijing.