News

DATE=4/12/99 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT NUMBER=5-43090 TITLE=TAIWAN RELATIONS CONFERENCE BYLINE=MIKE O'SULLIVAN DATELINE=LOS ANGELES CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: IN 1979, THE UNITED STATES ESTABLISHED FORMAL RELATIONS WITH THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA AND CUT OFF OFFICIAL TIES WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF TAIWAN. YET INFORMAL RELATIONS CONTINUED, AND IN APRIL OF THAT YEAR (1979) THE "TAIWAN RELATIONS ACT" WENT INTO EFFECT. A CONFERENCE IN LOS ANGELES EXAMINED THE STATE OF THE RELATIONSHIP TWENTY YEARS LATER, AS WE HEAR IN THIS REPORT FROM MIKE O'SULLIVAN. TEXT: /// OPT /// RETIRED REAR ADMIRAL JAMES LINDER WAS THE LAST MEMBER OF THE U-S MILITARY TO LEAVE TAIWAN IN 1979. AND HE WAS ONE OF THE PARTICIPANTS AT THE LOS ANGELES CONFERENCE, WHICH WAS SPONSORED BY THE CLAREMONT INSTITUTE, A PRIVATE ACADEMIC ORGANIZATION. AS HEAD OF THE U-S-TAIWAN DEFENSE COMMAND, ADMIRAL LINDER HAD DEVELOPED A GOOD WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH TAIWAN OFFICIALS. HE RECALLS THAT THE MONTHS BEFORE HIS DEPARTURE WERE HARD FOR EVERYONE. /// LINDER ACT /// WE HAD A LOT OF DISCONTENT, AND THE PEOPLE WERE VERY UNHAPPY AND PRESUMED THAT WE WERE GOING TO GO AWAY AND THEY WERE GOING TO BE IN DEEP TROUBLE. AND WE SORT OF FELT THE SAME WAY. THERE WERE SOME RIOTS AND THERE WERE DEMONSTRATIONS, AND THERE WERE PEOPLE INJURED. BUT THE MILITARY AND THE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, THE SECURITY PEOPLE AND THE POLICE WERE ALL VERY ACCOMMODATING TO AMERICANS AND THE PEOPLE THAT WERE OUT THERE, AND THE DISCONTENT WENT AWAY RATHER QUICKLY. /// END ACT /// /// END OPT /// THE U-S RELATIONSHIP WITH TAIWAN WAS CODIFIED IN THE TAIWAN RELATIONS ACT, WHICH WENT INTO EFFECT APRIL 10TH, 1979. THAT U-S LAW STILL GOVERNS RELATIONS BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES. DESPITE THE CUTOFF IN DIPLOMATIC TIES, ECONOMIC RELATIONS BETWEEN TAIWAN AND THE UNITED STATES HAVE EXPANDED OVER THE YEARS. TWENTY YEARS AGO, THE TWO COUNTRIES HAD SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS IN BILATERAL TRADE. TODAY, THAT FIGURE HAS JUMPED TO 52 BILLION DOLLARS. JASON YUAN, WHO HEADS TAIWAN'S ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL OFFICE IN LOS ANGELES, SAYS TAIWAN HAS DEVELOPED INTO A FULL DEMOCRACY, WITH 85 POLITICAL PARTIES, AN ACTIVE FREE PRESS AND OPEN MARKETS. HE SAYS THE SECURITY PROVIDED BY THE TAIWAN RELATIONS ACT HAS PERMITTED THAT LIBERALIZATION. THE TAIWAN RELATIONS ACT AFFIRMS THE "ONE-CHINA" POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES. JASON YUAN SAYS TAIWAN ALSO SEES ITSELF AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF CHINA, AND LOOKS FORWARD TO A PEACEFUL REUNIFICATION. /// YUAN ACT /// IT IS IMPORTANT, BECAUSE WE ARE ALL CHINESE, EITHER MAINLAND OR TAIWAN, WE ARE THE SAME PEOPLE. WHAT WE (IN TAIWAN) ENJOY NOW IS TOTAL FREEDOM OF SPEECH, TOTAL FREEDOM OF TRAVELLING, FULL DEMOCRATIZATION, FREE MARKET OF OUR ECONOMY, THIS IS WHAT WE ARE PROUD OF. WE HOPE DOWN THE ROAD, IN THE LONG RUN, THE WHOLE OF CHINA, THE WHOLE CHINESE PEOPLE CAN ENJOY EXACTLY THE SAME AS WE PEOPLE IN TAIWAN ENJOY. THAT'S THE HOPE. /// END ACT /// PROFESSOR RICHARD BAUM, A POLITICAL SCIENTIST AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, SAYS THE TAIWAN RELATIONS ACT EXPRESSES U-S CONCERN FOR THE SECURITY OF EAST ASIA. BUT HE SAYS ITS LANGUAGE IS IMPRECISE, ALLOWING ROOM FOR INTERPRETATION OF THE THREE-WAY RELATIONSHIP INVOLVING THE UNITED STATES, CHINA AND TAIWAN. HE SAYS ITS LACK OF PRECISION WAS A GOOD THING IN THE PAST, BUT MAY NOT BE IN THE FUTURE. /// BAUM ACT /// THE PROBLEM WITH THE CURRENT SITUATION IS ITS VERY AMBIGUITY LEADS TO DOUBTS ABOUT ITS ULTIMATE VIABILITY. FOR AN INTERIM PERIOD OF YEARS, TWO DECADES ALREADY, AND PERHAPS ANOTHER DECADE OR TWO (IN THE FUTURE), THE FUDGE FACTOR (VAGUENESS PERMITTING DIFFERING INTERPRETATIONS) CAN BE VERY USEFUL IN PREVENTING CONFLICT, IN PROVIDING WIGGLE ROOM FOR THE AMERICANS AND THE CHINESE AND THE TAIWANESE. BUT AS CHINA BECOMES STRONGER, AS ITS ECONOMY DEVELOPS, AS ITS MILITARY MUSCLE DEVELOPS FURTHER, THEY MAY -- WE PRESUME -- BECOME LESS TOLERANT, LESS PATIENT, AND MAY BEGIN TO PRESS MORE FORCEFULLY FOR WHAT THEY CONSIDER TO BE A DELIVERY ON THE PROMISE OF ONE CHINA, AND NO SEPARATE STATUS FOR TAIWAN. /// END ACT /// THE TAIWAN RELATIONS ACT SAYS THE FUTURE OF TAIWAN SHOULD BE DETERMINED BY PEACEFUL MEANS. CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS AGREE THAT IS ESSENTIAL. BUT THEY NOTE THAT TAIWAN'S STRATEGIC POSITION OFF THE COAST OF MAINLAND CHINA MEANS ITS STATUS WILL BE IMPORTANT TO BOTH CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES FOR MANY YEARS TO COME, AND THAT IT WILL REMAIN A POINT OF CONTENTION BETWEEN THE TWO NATIONS. (SIGNED) NEB/PT 12-Apr-99 5:53 PM EDT (2153 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .