United States Senate, July 7, 1998
Mr. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I rise to speak on the issue of
Taiwan and the events concerning Taiwan which transpired during
our President's trip to China. While President Clinton maintains
that he did not make any concessions on Taiwan, or in any way
alter our longstanding policy towards Taiwan, I am concerned
that, indeed, he may have; and I think the facts back me up and
show that President Clinton may have, in no small way, initiated
changes in our policy towards Taiwan.
I am specifically concerned with two incidents, Mr. President.
First, during a question-and-answer period at Beijing
University, President Clinton responded to a question on Taiwan.
He remarked that `when the United States and China reached
agreement that we would have a one China policy, we also reached
agreement that reunification would occur by peaceful means.'
Well, Mr. President, to my knowledge, the United States and
China have never reached an agreement that the Taiwan
question would be resolved through reunification. While the
United States has not ruled out reunification as a possibility,
we have also not ruled out the possibility that the question of
Taiwan could be resolved in some other manner, as long as it was
done peacefully. So there is a difference.
Our Federal law on this question is quite clear. Section
2(b)(3) of the Taiwan Relations Act states that `The future of
Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means.' The United States
has also signed three joint communiques with the People's
Republic of China which further elaborate our position on
Taiwan. While they all speak to the peaceful resolution
of the Taiwan question, none--none--go so far as to
speak to the question of reunification.
So why am I concerned with the President's choice of words
while he was in China? Because I think it is misleading,
dangerously misleading. It indicates to the Chinese and the
Taiwanese that our policy on Taiwan has changed, when the
President says it has not.
The second incident which raises concern, Mr. President, is
when President Clinton seemingly adopted the `Three-No's' policy
long advocated by China. The `Three-No's' policy states the
United States does not support one Taiwan, one China; the United
States does not support Taiwan independence; and the United
States does not support Taiwan's membership in nation-state
based international organizations.
As the July 2, 1998, editorial in the Washington Post
correctly points out, the United States has long `acknowledged'
China's position on Taiwan, but has never ever accepted China's
position on Taiwan. There is a significant difference. I ask
unanimous consent that a copy of this editorial be printed in
the Congressional Record following my remarks.
Considered collectively, which I know the Chinese Government
is doing, this could appear to be a major concession by the
United States on the issue of Taiwan. My guess is that the
Chinese now believe that if the Taiwanese people declare
independence, the United States will not support them. What does
that say for democracy and the ideals that we have sworn to
uphold and support?
In 1996, when the Chinese military conducted military
exercises off the coast of Taiwan in order to influence Taiwan's
national Presidential elections, President Clinton rightly
responded; swiftly and with resolve. He showed that the United
States will not tolerate the threat of the use of force against
Taiwan, just as we will not tolerate the use of force against
Mr. President, I am concerned that the President's statements
made in China have now sent the wrong message, and one that
could be destabilizing both to Taiwan and to the entire Asian
I think the United States should pursue our own `three-no's'
policy on the question of Taiwan, and they are:
- We will not accept any nonpeaceful resolution of the Taiwan
- we will not force Taiwan to the table with China, nor will
we be an intermediary in resolving this dispute; and
- we will not turn our backs on democracy and the right of
the Taiwanese people, or any people, to live according to free
So finally, Mr. President, well in advance of President
Clinton's trip to China, I and a number of colleagues in the
Senate sent a letter to the President urging him to press the
Chinese Government on renouncing the threat of the use of force
against Taiwan. I ask unanimous consent that a copy of this
letter be printed in the Congressional Record following my
I, again, call on the President to insist that the Chinese
Government renounce the threat of the use of force against
Taiwan and take great effort to clarify that our position in
support of Taiwan and our commitment to Taiwan has not changed.