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Aug 13, 2007

My own take on the Nelson Report

Michael Turton at The View from Taiwan writes a post on the latest from the Nelson Report. I found these few paragraphs describing the report most interesting:

The big complaint of US-China/Taiwan watchers and players since Chen's election has been that too often his words and actions seem entirely predicated on domestic Taiwan political issues and concerns.
Obviously, Chen Shui-bian is the master of domestic politics -- he has single handedly set the scope and pace of virtually every major public debate since his election. But he has also altered the international situation in ways that would have been unimaginable in 2000. Could you have imagined ...
  • The president declaring that Taiwan is independent and sovereign, and that Taiwan and China are two countries -- so often that Lien Chan himself admitted as much in Dec. 2003? (Incidentally, Ma Ying-jeou is a throwback on this point, which can't help him.) And what did China do? Not much.
  • Taiwan passing a long-stalled referendum law and holding a referendum, ordered by the President, in response to the Chinese threat? With no real response from China?
  • The Chinese missile build up becoming an international concern, condemned by Europe and the US alike?
  • The KMT pushing a referendum on joining the UN and sitting along China?
Almost never did Chen show appreciation, in the sense of concern and consideration, of the Bush Administration's larger strategic approach to China and world affairs, nor how events on Taiwan could run afoul of US concerns...that was the constant refrain, sometimes on the record, more often "on background" over the past six or seven years.
This is harder to argue with. The DPP has really ingrained communication problems. The president doesn't always talk to his press secretary or premier, much less the State Department, and the cabinet can barely coordinate a message. Now that Hsieh's been nominated, Lu and Yu are holding press conferences or speaking in public to push their own agenda way too much. The DPP really must get its act together on this point and recognize the importance of telling the US what they'll do ahead of time.

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