Go to contents

Bush to Oppose Taiwan’s Plan to Hold Referendum on Independence

Bush to Oppose Taiwan’s Plan to Hold Referendum on Independence

Posted December. 10, 2003 23:11,   


After Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met U.S. President George W. Bush at the White House on Tuesday (local time), he expressed his satisfaction in a news conference, saying, “The United States and mainland China largely saw their common interests met, and substantial progress has been made.”

Indeed, Bush has stated his unambiguous opposition to Taiwan, warning Taipei against holding a referendum that could antagonize China. Moreover, China reportedly obtained a favorable reaction for its pivotal role in trying to resolve North Korea’s nuclear issue peacefully. Responding to the U.S.’s seemingly positive response, Premier Wen Jiabao changed his position on the trade conflict between two countries in favorable way, satisfying the U.S. president.

A sister newspaper of People’s Daily reported that the U.S. has dispatched a wide variety of 20 spy vessels around the Taiwan Strait to closely watch any military moves by China and the self-ruled island, as the Taiwan Strait crisis has been heightened recently.

Washington’s clear-cut stance against Taiwanese independence: President Bush has clearly stated that the U.S. supported Beijing’s “One-China” policy and wanted to maintain the status quo between the two rivals. He reiterated that Washington opposed any move from Taiwanese leaders to change the status quo, which would heighten anxieties.

The unprecedented tough language he used against Taiwan was predictable, because a White House briefing on the issue a day before the meeting had noted, “The United States does not want to see a referendum being held in March which would demand that China withdraw all missiles aimed at Taiwan.”

The U.S press, including the Washington Post, reported that Washington had dropped its “ambiguous line,” which it had strategically maintained for decades in dealing with the Taiwan Strait crisis.

The U.S. has maintained that it supported Beijing’s One-China policy while strengthening its bilateral ties with the self-ruled island. Now Washington could not but declare a clear-cut stance on the issue as the U.S. stance might be affected by rising tension between two rivals.

Dealing with trade conflicts through compromise: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao delivered his stance on trade conflicts between the U.S. and China in a lecture that took place a day before the meeting, saying, “I am not coming Washington for a trade war. I will resolve trade conflicts in a strategic way.”

He suggested that trade conflicts between two countries, which were caused by U.S safeguard measures imposed on some Chinese textile products and anti-dumping duties on Chinese color televisions, be eased through negotiation rather than retaliation.

Chinese Premier Wen also mentioned touchy matters at the meeting, noting, “China is also aware that the U.S. has much concern over its trade deficit, the Chinese currency system, which has been pegged to the value of U.S. dollar, and intellectual property rights, which have been largely violated in China.”

He proposed to create a China-U.S. trade committee, which will be headed by the Chinese deputy premier and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and will hold its first meeting next spring. The committee is intended to correct the current situation in which China is running a huge trade surplus of $50 billion against the U.S., as of October.

Yoo-Sung Hwang yshwang@donga.com