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Washington DC

Responding to the 25 March 2001 editorial "The Taiwan Arms Decision" in the Washington Post, we sent the following letter to the editor:

Respect Taiwan's decision to be a free and independent nation

The Hague, 25 March 2001

Dear Editor,

We agree with the main principles enunciated in your editorial ("The Taiwan Arms decision", Washpost, March 25, 2001) that Taiwan has the right to defend itself and that the United States should make it crystal clear that it will assist Taiwan in resisting Chinese agression.

However, we must disagree with the statement that the United States has never supported independence for Taiwan. The basic US position has always been one of peaceful resolution of the conflict, without taking a position on the ultimate status of Taiwan.

This was at least the case until June/July 1998, when Mr. Clinton suddenly made a unilateral 90 degree turn and pronounced his infamous "Three No's", thereby betraying freedom and democracy in Taiwan, and prompting Congress to adopt near-unanimous resolutions in the House and Senate reaffirming American commitment to Taiwan.

In your concluding remarks, you state that "If it (Taiwan) is to join China someday, it must be the will of its people, not under duress." You should have added that if it is the will of the people of Taiwan to be recognized as a free, democratic and independent nation, this should also be accepted by the international community. That's the kind of statement we would expect from a nation that fought for, and won, its freedom and independence 225 years ago.

Regards, Gerrit van der Wees Ph.D.

Editor, Taiwan Communique