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Madeleine Albright doesn't quite get it

Singapore, 26 July 1999

On 26 July 1999, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, atttending the ASEAN meeting in Singapore, met with Communist Chinese foreign minister Tang Jiaxuan to discuss a range of issues.

One topic, which was reportedly discussed was the rising tension generated by the renewed Chinese threats against Taiwan, which followed President Lee Teng-hui's statements that the relations with China should be considered "state-to-state" relations.

When asked about the discussions on this topic, Mrs. Albright reportedly reiterated the U.S. commitment to "One China", direct dialogue between Taiwan and Communist China, and peaceful resolution of their dispute. She added that the explanations given by the Taiwan authorities "...thus far don't quite do it."

We must suggest that thus far, Mrs. Albright doesn't quite get it:

As Taiwanese-Americans we are angry and dismayed by her reiteration of the outdated and anachronistic "One China" policy. In doing so, she is taking sides with a Communist dictatorship against a free, democratic, and independent Taiwan. In effect Mrs. Albright is saying that the Taiwanese people don't have the right to determine their own future.

This is wrong! As a nation that champions human rights and democracy, the United States needs to state first and foremost that Taiwan's future is a matter solely for the Taiwanese people to decide.

To us Taiwanese-Americans, saying that the "One China" policy has contributed to peace and stability in the region, is as outrageous as saying that Hitler's Third Reich helped bring about peace and stability in Europe in the 1930s.

The conflict between the two countries can only be resolved if China accepts Taiwan as a friendly neighbor, and ends the Civil War they fought against the Kuomintang 50 years ago. We Taiwanese were not a part of that Civil War and do not want the future of our homeland to be held hostage to it.

Taiwan is a shining example of the fact that Asian people do want freedom and full democracy. We urge the U.S. to support democratically-elected President Lee and the people of Taiwan in their search for greater international status, instead of sidelining Taiwan, and relegating the Taiwanese people to second-class citizenship in the family of nations.

We also urge the international community to accept the reality that Taiwan and China are two distinct nations, which could live in peace next to each other.