The Associated Press
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
WASHINGTON: The top U.S. military commander in the Pacific criticized Taiwan’s president on Tuesday for statements on the island’s independence he said were unhelpful to keeping peace in the volatile Taiwan Strait.
The comments by Adm. Timothy Keating reflect worry by officials in Washington over a plan by Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian to hold a referendum on Taiwan’s entry into the United Nations under its own name — an initiative that rival China strongly condemns.
Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949, and China has repeatedly threatened to attack should Taiwan formalize its de facto independence.
Keating told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank that Chen’s “rhetoric isn’t entirely helpful” and that his “statements for Taiwan independence could potentially increase Taiwan Strait tensions.”
But, Keating added, “it is a two-way street, the increased tension, and I don’t see that happening near term.”
Washington often urges Taiwan to increase its defense spending to balance a growing Chinese military, which has deployed hundreds of missiles opposite Taiwan.
Keating said Taiwan’s defense capabilities “could get better, but we’re confident that they’re appropriate.”
Although the U.S. has fewer troops in the region, because of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, Keating said he was confident the U.S. military could move a large number of forces to the area relatively quickly should conflict erupt in the Taiwan Strait.
The United States follows a “one China” policy that recognizes a single China. But Washington still encourages the sale of defensive weapons to Taiwan, and in 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush pledged to “help Taiwan defend theirself if provoked.”
It’s interesting to see Taiwan Province’s American overlords being more than happy to unload obsolete arms to the island at very bad prices while at the same time admonishing them for their pro-independence rhetoric. If Taiwan’s American overlords don’t support their bids in the United Nations or overall bid for independence, what does that say about Taiwan’s world standing?
As I said before, Taiwan Province only has their economy going for them to keep them relevant. That along with the regular aid money that is given out because Taiwan Province’s “allies” often blackmail the province for lost recognition to China. In addition, it seems the Americans are more than willing to milk the province as a cash cow for their dated weapons but are more than willing to undermine the local power structures there if they are misbehaving.
George W. Bush said he will save Taiwan province should China invade, but he has done everything he can to undermine the taidu movement there. Yet he is more than happy to sell junk weapons to the island at prices that only benefit him and his War of Terror.