Wednesday, December 01, 2004

What are they thinking?

You may have noticed both on Google News yesterday, or on the front page of the Taipei Times today, that the US State Department has warned Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian that he must stick to the "Four Noes" platform that he laid out upon his first inauguration. That means Chen will not declare independence, not change the official name of Taiwan from the Republic of China, not add the state-to state model of cross-strait relations to the constitution, not hold a referendum on the status of independence or unification and not abolish the National Unification Guidelines.

Last week KMT Chairman Lien Chan dared Chen to hold a referendum, and Chen, while not stating that he would do so, bandied the idea about to call Lien's bluff and show the voting public what an asinine idea Lien had come up with in the first place. All politics as usual for the upcoming legislative elections.

But this idea that the US seems to have that Chen is going to pull a fast one and submit a constitution that has a gazillion amendments that scream "Taiwan is independent, yeaaaarrrrggghhh" is ludicrous. Chen has repeated ad nauseum that constitutional reform is needed so the constitution will reflect the realities on the ground rather than the fiction upheld in an anachronistic document that suggests the government of the ROC runs all of China and Mongolia as well.

What compels the US State Department to make such a public announcement? Are there not people in its ranks that have a background on Taiwan, and in particular, Chen's history as a politician? Perhaps they are buying China's alarmist rhetoric. Or maybe the announcement has less to do with Chen and more to do with throwing China a bone.

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