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Posted: 2/26/2002 2:20:57 AM EDT
Taiwanese Praise Bush, Slam Clinton By Patrick Goodenough CNSNews.com Pacific Rim Bureau Chief February 25, 2002 Pacific Rim Bureau (CNSNews.com) - Taiwanese leaders, media and citizens are praising President Bush for his firm backing for their democratic island state during his visit to Beijing. They said Bush's support contrasted sharply with his predecessor's views, spelled out at a conference in Australia just a day after Bush flew home. During his brief China visit, Bush called Friday for a "peaceful resolution" of the dispute between Taiwan and the mainland, pointedly declining when pressed to support "peaceful reunification." He also reiterated America's commitment to defend Taiwan if necessary. The following day, former President Clinton addressed a conference in Sydney where -- in a speech for which he was reportedly paid $300,000 ($153,000 in U.S. dollars) -- he said reunification was inevitable. Noting the "economic and personal interaction" underway across the Taiwan Strait, Clinton told his audience "the important thing is that time is taking care of this problem ... sensible people are moving to a resolution everyone can live with." The conference participants also issued a declaration denouncing what they called a "breakaway scheme" on the part of pro-independence elements in Taiwan, "aided by foreign forces." While there was no indication that Clinton, as guest speaker, had actually endorsed the declaration, the fact that he spoke at the same event was picked up by the official Chinese media. The People's Daily in its report Monday stressed that the declaration had been "unanimously agreed" upon. China regards Taiwan as a renegade province which must be reunited with the mainland - by force if necessary. Taiwan maintains that it is a sovereign state. 'Orchestrated by Beijing' Outside the Sydney conference venue, anti-Beijing demonstrators protested. At one point scuffles broke out between protestors and a couple of conference delegates who came outside to remonstrate, and police stepped in to separate them, eyewitnesses said. Pam Little, a Taiwanese expatriate lawyer who participated in the demonstration, said Monday the Taiwanese-Australian community had been disappointed at Clinton's association with the 2002 World Congress on the Peaceful Reunification of China. The group organizing the conference, she said by phone from Sydney, was widely viewed in the community as a front for Beijing. "Although we have no evidence we feel this so-called reunification congress was very much sponsored or orchestrated by the Chinese government in its attempt to divide the overseas Taiwanese community, to force them to take a stand for or against reunification." Little said the public mood in Taiwan right now was for a continuation of the status quo - "hard-won democracy and freedom" - and the suggestion that a merger was inevitable was "outrageous." Protestors had included members of the community in Sydney, while others had flown in from other Australian cities. Leading Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng, who was jailed in China for 17 years, also participated. According to a press agency report, Wei said Clinton should not be taking part in the conference, and then called on him to come outside to address the demonstrators, saying the former president would do so if he still believed in American values. "Of course, we don't have A$300,000 to pay him," Wei added.
Link Posted: 2/26/2002 2:21:27 AM EDT
'Incompatible systems' Little said the protestors had not been surprised at Clinton's participation, but felt it was "inappropriate." "The American people enjoy democracy. How can one work on the assumption that going back to China is the only political future for Taiwan?" she asked. "I thought that the fundamental principle of democracy was self-determination. The Taiwanese people should be given a fair go to decide that." By contrast, Little praised Bush's statements in Beijing, noting that he had stressed peaceful resolution rather than reunification. "The two systems are totally incompatible - the totalitarian system in China and a thriving democracy now in Taiwan. How can anyone suggest with the current situation that the two should merge as one?" 'Sacrificing Taiwan' In Taiwan, meanwhile, Vice President Annette Lu at the weekend also drew a distinction between Bush and his predecessor. During a speech at a panel discussion on Taiwan's future, Lu praised Bush's supportive remarks in Beijing, but said by contrast that "Clinton didn't hesitate to sacrifice and harm Taiwan by uttering the 'three nos'..." During his visit to China in 1998, Clinton declared his administration would not support an independent China; not recognize "two Chinas"; and would not support Taiwan's attempt to be admitted to international organizations which require members to be sovereign states. Bush made no public mention of the "three nos" during his visit, although he did mention the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which commits to U.S. to the defense of Taiwan. In a hard-hitting editorial Sunday, the Taipei Times said Bush and Clinton were worlds apart, and accused the latter of "selling out his integrity" for $153,000. "What [Clinton] said at the rally assumed that unification was not only a given, but also the right thing. His speech conveniently ignored the fact that the people of Taiwan reject unification and that they have a right to decide their own future." Taiwanese media described Bush as the American president most supportive of Taiwan since Washington severed official diplomatic ties with Taipei in 1979. Warning Clinton had been urged ahead of his Australia visit not to participate in the conference. The U.S. pro-Taiwan lobby group, Formosan Association for Public Affairs, urged supporters to write the former president, pointing out that the conference organizers had a policy on Taiwan that was not in accordance with that of the U.S. Noting that Bush would be in Beijing at the same time, FAPA warned Clinton that his attendance at the pro-unification event would be "trumpeted greatly in the PRC-controlled press." If he decided nonetheless to go ahead, the group wrote, he should "clearly articulate U.S. policy. Failure to do so would most assuredly be used by the Beijing authorities in an effort to undercut President Bush." ---------------------------------------------- No surprise here I suppose. Clinton would naturally sacrifice Taiwan for the $$, "world peace," or whatever. I wish Carter never broke off full relations with them in the first place. It only emboldened China.
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