Saturday, March 22, 2008

Republic or Province?

George Bush has "issued" a statement on the Taiwan election, although since he's probably mountain biking around Camp David, the statement has actually been waiting to go for a few days with an {insert victor name} field once the result was in. And quite a diplomatic dance it is, especially for someone with zero willingness to confront China over Tibet. Of particular note --

Once again, Taiwan has demonstrated the strength and vitality of its democracy ... Taiwan is a beacon of democracy to Asia and the world. I am confident that the election and the democratic process it represents will advance Taiwan as a prosperous, secure, and well-governed society.

As in, not like the other place.

It falls to Taiwan and Beijing to build the essential foundations for peace and stability by pursuing dialogue through all available means and refraining from unilateral steps that would alter the cross-Strait situation.

No reference to "China" at all. Just Beijing. Two places disputing a single title.

The maintenance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the welfare of the people on Taiwan remain of profound importance to the United States.

Not "people of Taiwan" (a usage shared by the State Department). But on balance, a pro-Taiwan statement. Yet, is there really anything that the US could do if things got ugly between China and its "renegade province"? And one hopes Bush doesn't think this compensates for his silence on Tibet.

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