A Taiwanese North-American Appeal

for a Clear Western Response to Continuing Threats from China

The Taiwanese North-American Community expresses deep concerns over a report in the New York Times of January 24th that the PRC's People's Liberation Army has completed plans for a conventional missile strike against Taiwan each day for 30 days, if Taiwan presses on with its quest for international status. The report stated that this information was contained in a message carried earlier this month from Beijing by former Assistant Secretary of Defense Chas. W. Freeman Jr. The attack may be mounted in the weeks after Taiwan's first democratic presidential elections, which will take place on 23 March 1996.

As Taiwan has democratized in recent years through a series of parliamentary and local elections, culminating in the presidential election to be held this March, the people of Taiwan have had to advance their peaceful democracy under the cloud of verbal threats from China and military exercises near their shores. At the same time, China has tried to get the U.S. and the international community to leave it alone to bully Taiwan.

This recent development adds to the deep concerns of the Taiwanese American community that the Chinese leadership is attempting to use fear to influence the upcoming election in Taiwan. It also confirms that the Chinese are not interested in settling their dispute with Taiwan through peaceful means. Taiwanese Americans believe that China's persistent belligerent attitude calls for further international support for a free and democratic Taiwan. Here the U.S. has particular responsibility to help the Taiwanese complete their peaceful transition to democracy.

The Taiwanese American community calls on the Clinton Administration to exert maximum leverage on China to honor its initial pledge of peaceful settlement with Taiwan, made at the time the U.S. established diplomatic relations with the PRC. The Administration should remind China that U.S. recognition of the PRC was premised on a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan issue. The U.S. should further tell China to end its threats of violence against Taiwan.

Whether these threats are credible or simply a political strategy to intimidate the Taiwanese and to influence American policy toward Taiwan, this violent rhetoric should not be tolerated. The international community, must make it abundantly clear to the Chinese that military pressure is not a permissible negotiation strategy and violence is not an acceptable option. We must communicate this in no uncertain terms. A strong response, rather than silence or ambiguity in the face of Beijing's increasingly bold threats, is the only way to deter a crisis in the Taiwan Straits.

Endorsed by:

Taiwanese Association of America Inc.
Center for Taiwan International Relations
Formosan Association for Human Rights Inc.
Formosan Association for Public Affairs
Formosan Association for Public Affairs of Canada
Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Student Association
North American Taiwanese Medical Association
North American Taiwanese Professors' Association
North American Taiwanese Women's Association Inc.
Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce of North America
Taiwanese Christian Church Council of North America
Taiwanese Collegian
Taiwanese Hakka Association for Public Affairs in North America
Taiwanese Hakka Association of U.S.A.
Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada
Taiwanese Professor's and Professional Association of Canada
World Federation of Taiwanese Associations
World United Formosans for Independence -- U.S. Chapter
World United Formosans for Independence -- Canadian Chapter

Statement endorsed by the following news organizations:

Pacific Times
Taiwan Communiqué
Taiwan Tribune

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