Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Arab Press (AP): Powell's China Comments Anger Taiwanese. (Hat tip: Goose)
According to a State Department transcript, Powell told Phoenix: "There is only one China. Taiwan is not independent. It does not enjoy sovereignty as a nation, and that remains our policy, our firm policy."
That was a departure from the U.S. government's longtime "one China policy," a purposely fuzzy approach that merely "acknowledges" people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait agree there is one China. Washington also insists differences should be settled peacefully and in recent years has emphasized that the Taiwanese people should have a say in the matter.
Taiwan is highly sensitive to any kind of language — especially from Washington — that might suggest their democratic island is part of the communist mainland. Taiwanese view China's government to be repressive and have spent decades resisting rule by Beijing, which occasionally threatens to use force to bring the island under its sway.
Rebuking Powell without mentioning him by name, Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian told visiting former South Korean President Kim Young-sam on Tuesday that the island is a separate nation.
"Taiwan is absolutely a sovereign, independent nation. It's a great nation, and it absolutely does not belong to the People's Republic of China. That is the present situation, that is the reality," Chen said.
Using the island's official name, Republic of China, Chen said no country had the right to tell Taiwan it isn't independent.
"Other countries, whether they have official diplomatic relations with our country or not, have no way of influencing or deny the present situation and the fact that the Republic of China or Taiwan is a sovereign, independent nation," Chen said.
Taiwanese Premier Yu Shyi-kun made a terse response to Powell's comment. "Taiwan is a sovereign, independent nation. This is reality," Yu told reporters Tuesday.