Washington Spurs on Taiwan Independence

Through more actions than words, the United States has already demonstrated to Taiwan that it deserves the title of being the island's largest ally and largest weapons supplier.

The United States deserves such an honour not only because it has always shown great interest in improving the island's "self-defence" capability, but also because it has essentially encouraged the pro-independence camp in Taiwan.

In this sense, Washington's commitment to the one-China principle and non-support of Taiwan independence have become ambiguous points.

US acquiescence and support have fuelled Chen Shui-bian's bravery in openly designing Taiwanese independence schedules in an undisguised manner.

On the same day of Chen's inauguration, the US House of Representatives passed a bill authorizing the Pentagon to send general-level officials to Taiwan to assist in its defence against the mainland.

A few days later, Taiwanese media reported that John Allen, a Pentagon official in charge of Asia-Pacific affairs, was due to visit Taiwan in June.

He will be the first US general-level military official in service to visit Taiwan since Washington cut its "diplomatic ties" with the island in 1979.

Since the beginning of June, the United States has already held or has planned to hold several military exercises not too far from Taiwan with its allies.

Also, Washington is negotiating a colossal arms deal with Taiwan, from which the island can gain as much as US$18.2 billion worth of advanced weapons.

The US said the arms sales are aimed at improving Taiwan's sea command control.

Washington said it opposes Taiwan independence. But it has eaten its words while offering military support to the island. Washington also promises it adheres to the one-China position. But its promises appear faint, given its increasingly upgraded relations with Taiwan.

Washington should be well aware that any departure from its commitment to China is equal to supporting Taiwan independence, which will finally damage the interests of Taiwan, the mainland and the United States itself.

(China Daily June 11, 2004)