Who's Pulling the Strings?

December 13, 2003


Mr. Bush has forsaken American Ideals

From the e-taiwan news

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The following material is an edited transcript of Taiwan-related portions of the press briefing given to White House reporters by White House Spokesman Scott McClellan after Tuesday's meeting between United States President George W. Bush and People's Republic of China Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶).
Many of the reporters, mainly from European as well as U.S. media, sharply questioned McCellan on the apparent hypocrisy in Washington's alleged shift in position on Taiwan and reluctance to support the island country's democratic progress in the face of threats from the PRC.

Question: Why is the President opposing the exercise of the democratic self-determination by the people of Taiwan when he says that that's a cornerstone of his policy worldwide?

McClellan: Well, our policy remains the same. And the President, in the meeting, made it very clear that we support the one China policy and the Taiwan Relations Act, which is part of the three joint communiqués, and that we do not support Taiwan independence...The President made it very clear that the United States opposes any unilateral attempt to change Taiwan's status, or to change the status quo. The President also made it clear that that applies to both Beijing's possible use of force and Taiwan itself, including referenda and constitutional reform that would change the status quo.

Question: The President does not support Taiwan independence under any circumstances?

McClellan: We have made it very clear that we do not support Taiwan independence. We support the one China policy, which is part of the three joint communiqués. The President believes it's important to continue urging both sides to refrain from actions or statements that increase tensions or make dialogue more difficult to achieve.

Question: Isn't there a contradiction between that policy of maintaining the status quo and not allowing unilateral actions, and the desire, apparently, of a substantial number of the people of Taiwan to vote on the matter? I thought this President was for that kind of democratic activity.

McClellan: The President opposes any unilateral attempt to change the status quo. That has been our policy, and that remains our policy. And that applies to both Beijing and Taiwan.

Question: The Taiwanese make the point that the referendum they have proposed is not about independence, the word doesn't appear in it; it's about the Chinese missile build-up on the coast facing Taiwan, a missile build-up that I think it's U.S. policy also to oppose... Why is the President opposed to a referendum ... on a question of missile build-up?

McClellan: The President talked about some of this in the Oval Office. ... It is our view that the recent statements and proposals coming out of Taiwan that you bring up would imply a desire to change the status quo, and we oppose any unilateral attempt to change the status quo.

Question: What are the consequences for Taiwan ignoring the President's wishes on this?

McClellan: Well, we've made our views very clear. Our policy is well-known. They are very aware of our views, as is Beijing.

Question: Well, they're planning to go ahead with this resolution as of now. Are the United States willing to impose sanctions?

McClellan: We will continue to emphasize what we already have. No, I am not going to get into hypothetical actions or anything like that.

Question: But you would not rule out the use of sanctions?

McClellan: I'm not going to rule in or rule out.

Question: On the question of whether or not the referendum itself is heading down the path toward independence, is there a specific statement that you could point us to that indicates that that is indeed what the Taiwanese have in mind by doing this referendum?

McClellan: That's what I said that it seems to imply, a desire to change the status quo. You've seen the public comments that have been made.

Question: Why shouldn't people see this as the administration picking and choosing its moral clarity when it comes to foreign policy, by opposing democracy here because it doesn't suit your interests in the region, especially since China is helping on North Korea?

McClellan: Well, one, this has been a longstanding policy. This policy has been in place, and what the President said today was reiterating what that policy is. He was asked a question about it, and he reiterated what our policy is.

Question: Why isn't that hypocritical? I mean, you're all for democracy in the Middle East and in Iraq, but the Taiwanese people see that and then America says, no, not for you, not democracy for you.

McClellan: There are a lot of matters you address around the world, and different circumstances require different action and strategies.

Question: Explain why this strategy is different, why the Taiwanese are being sacrificed for what? What is the larger good here that the President sees?

McClellan: You might want to go back and look at the three joint communiques, and look at that.

Question: Do you want to get 10 Americans on the street, and see if it's clear?

McClellan: This is what he has said from the beginning, this policy.

Question: Why don't you educate us about what the President's thinking is - why there's moral clarity when it comes to pushing democracy in some parts of the world, but not here. What is the larger interest?

McClellan: Wait. We do not support any change - any unilateral attempt to change the status quo. That's what he's made very clear.

Question: Even a democratic change?

McClellan: I think you need to look at that.

Question: Scott, you say you oppose a unilateral movement toward democracy in Taiwan. In what way could Taiwan move toward democracy that would please the administration?

McClellan: Again, this is addressing the current status quo. We oppose any attempt to change, unilaterally, the status quo, in regards to China and Taiwan.

Question: Premier Wen said that democracy as was being practiced by President Chen in Taipei was being used as a tool to split Taiwan away from mainland China. Does the President agree with that?

McClellan: You heard the President's comments. That's what the President believes, in terms of what he said in his comments, and what I've reiterated from this podium. That's the President's belief.

Question: Does he agree with Premier Wen that President Chen is using democracy to split Taiwan away?

McClellan: We're working together to address these issues and talk about any differences we may have, as well, on a whole host of issues, but also working together on areas of common interest.

Question: If there is a threat from China, U.S. will defend Taiwan at the same time U.S. policy will change on China?

McClellan: U.S. policy will change?

Question: Towards China.

McClellan: Our policy is the same under the one China policy and the Taiwan Relations Act, the three joint communiques.

Question: I thought that the United States had never foreclosed the possibility of Taiwanese independence, as long as it was mutually agreed to.

McClellan: We've made it clear that we do not support Taiwan independence, and that we oppose any unilateral attempt to change the status quo.

Question: So you don't - it's possible that some day Taiwan could be independent?

McClellan: It's important for there to be dialogue on these issues. And that's why we've urged both sides to refrain from actions or statements that would increase tensions.

Question: The Chinese Premier said that President Bush told him he opposed Taiwan's independence. And you just told us that U.S. do not support Taiwan's independence. Could it be in private U.S. is telling China opposing Taiwan independence and in public you are saying another thing, you do not...
McClellan: You heard from the President himself; our policy is that we do not support Taiwan independence and that we oppose any unilateral attempt to change the status quo. That's our policy and we've made it very clear publicly for a long time.

Question: I don't understand why the U.S. is committed to defending Taiwan militarily if it's attacked if it doesn't think that Taiwan can be a separate country. There's no consistency here.

McClellan: No, I think there is. And we've talked about this issue previously, in terms of the one China policy and in terms of the Taiwan Relations Act. This applies to both sides. This applies to Beijing, this applies to Taiwan in terms of any unilateral attempt to change the status quo. And there are a lot of reasons for that.

Posted by manystrom at December 13, 2003 04:28 PM


The reporter who roasted this squirming, pathetic mouthpiece for the Bushite Hypocrites should get a big fat bonus & raise for a job well done!

Posted by: peanut gallery at December 15, 2003 03:07 PM
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