Monday, November 2, 2009

My Reply To Congressman Adam Smith

See here, for Congressman Adam Smith's original letter regarding HCR18.

Congressman Adam Smith,

Thank you for your response and appreciate your concern for Taiwan as well. I would just like to point out a few things regarding the recent "warming" of ties between China and Taiwan. While on the surface, it may seem that indeed relations are warming, the fact remains that China continues to hold Taiwan hostage with 1500+ missiles aimed at Taiwan. Along with these missiles are measures by China to continue to isolate Taiwan and China from foreign interference (specifically the US), with their military advancements far exceeding the advancements made in regards to the "peace" between China and Taiwan. Because of this, I believe that Taiwan continues to have the necessity for defensive arms sales and weapons to act as a deterrent for any forcible strike that China may undertake (as it has continued to say it will, if Taiwan pursues formal independence). As a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, I am sure you are well aware of these advancements, and hope you take these into consideration when considering Taiwan's request for F-16s.

Furthermore, I would like to point out that what I hope we all strive for in Taiwan's future is the self-determination of the people of Taiwan. As my parents have emigrated from from Taiwan to the US, and I see myself as a Taiwanese-American, I believe it is part of my duty to continue to help promote the freedoms that my parents and I enjoy in the United States, for those in Taiwan as well. China's threat to take Taiwan by force if the people of Taiwan decide they want to keep their democracy, human rights, sovereignty, self-determination, and all these values that Americans cherish, is a threat that cannot and should not stand in our world today.

Lastly, while you mention that the KMT and President Ma were overwhelming victors in the elections last year, I think it is unfair to say that because of that, Taiwan as a whole supports whatever President Ma is doing. Polls conducted by both sides in Taiwan continue to show consistently that less than 10% of Taiwanese would like to unify with China, now, or ever. Here is a recent survey by the Global Views Magazine that points to the fact that the % of those favoring independence has actually increased under the KMT/President Ma administration, despite their platform being support for eventual unification between the two (the survey results are in Chinese, but I hope someone in your office can translate; also a blog-post from "Taiwan Matters" that helps with English translation on the survey). Continuing with this, a poll conducted earlier this year after Ma mishandled the Typhoon Morakot crisis, showed that support for Ma's presidency dropped as low as 16%, and currently sits around 25-30%. As you can see, while Taiwanese may have voted President Ma to office, it does not mean that Taiwanese have continued to voice support for Ma's policies. My point here is that the situation in Taiwan is much more dire than it seems, as the KMT have regained control of the government of Taiwan, human rights and symbols of democracy have continued to deteriorate under the watch of President Ma. Things such as the handling of the ex-president Chen's case that seem like another step in what seems like a political witch-hunt, as well as international bodies citing a drop in Taiwan's freedom of press, all shout of old habits that never die, a sign that the KMT's authoritarian past is not quite fully in the past yet.

While there is no simple solution to these problems, I believe that the United States plays an integral role in the future of Taiwan, not only because of the TRA, but because Taiwan serves as a beacon of democracy to the rest of region in Asia. I hope that you can support both HCR18 as well as HCR200, which expresses Congress' support for the self-determination of the people of Taiwan. I look forward to your support on this issue.


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