A disappointing Clinton in Beijing

Beijing, 27 June 1998

In a disappointing move, the Clinton administration indicated from Beijing, that the U.S. position on Taiwan would not change as a result of Saturday's summit between U.S. President Bill Clinton and his Chinese counterpart Jiang Zemin.

On Friday Clinton continued to stick to the anachronistic "One China" policy, and ruled out any change on Taiwan during his visit to China. "Our position with regard to Taiwan is embodied in the three communiques and in the Taiwan Relations Act and in the facts of our relationship over the years,'' Clinton told reporters. "So I think it's obvious there will be no change in our position one way or the other on this trip.''

Is this the President of "the land of the free, and the home of the brave?"

Mr. Clinton could have used his visit to Beijing to enunciate that he would stand up for the principle of democracy, and that the decision on the future of Taiwan is for the people on Taiwan to make, according to the principle of self-determination.

Mr. Clinton could have used to occasion to state that China should renounce the use of force, and stop blocking Taiwan's membership in international organizations, such as the United Nations, the WHO, and the WTO.

Mr. Clinton could have used the occasion to urge China to accept Taiwan as a friendly neighboring state, instead of perpetuating the hostility against the freedom-loving island, causing instability in East Asia.

Mr. Clinton thus lost an excellent opportunity to stand tall on the principles of democracy, human rights, and self-determination. He could have stood up for a democratic Taiwan; instead, he kowtowed to a repressive and Communist China.

Beijing had been pressing for a ``fourth communique'' that would tighten the screws on Taiwan by committing the United States in writing to oppose Taiwan independence and its membership of world bodies, including the United Nations. In Taipei, advocates of Taiwan independence on Thursday launched a three-day sit-in protest outside the American Institute in Taiwan, opposing the ``selling out'' of Taiwan.

Just before president Clinton's departure for his trip to Beijing, a bi-partisan group of members of the US House of Representatives -- nine Democrats and eight Republicans -- sent a joint letter, urging him to reject the so-called "Three Noes". Almost all of the signatories are members of the House International Relations Committee or its Asian Subcommittee.

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