FAPA Expresses Strong Disagreement With AIT Director Steve Young On Taiwan’s UN Membership

On Wednesday, November 14th 2007,  the Formosan Association for Public Affairs — a Taiwanese-American grassroots organization based in Washington DC — sent a letter to the Director of the American Institute in Taiwan, Mr. Stephen Young — expressing strong disagreement with statements he made, criticizing the planned Taiwan referendum on entry in the UN under the name “Taiwan”.

In a press conference in Taipei on November 9th 2007, Mr. Young  reportedly stated that the referendum, planned to coincide with the presidential elections in March 2008, are “neither necessary nor helpful”, and that “there is a price to be paid in mutual trust.”

The Association said that the referendum is necessary for three reasons:

1) in order to let the international community know that the Taiwanese people have no intention of letting themselves be subdued by an authoritarian regime in Beijing;

2) to let the world know that the Taiwanese people want their country to be a full and equal member in the international community, and

3) to counter the PRC’s relentless pressure to isolate Taiwan and push it into a corner.

In response to Mr. Young’s statement that there is a price to be paid in mutual trust, the Association stated that the price to be paid is “…the fact that US opposition to the referendum is severely undermining international trust in the US government’s resolve to stand up for human rights and democracy in the world.”

The Association added: “Your statements, and those of other US government officials, are also undermining democracy in our homeland.  We find this totally unacceptable.”

The Association closed its letter, which was signed by its President C.T. Lee MD, by saying that if the United States is serious about spreading democracy around the world, “…it needs to be supportive of – and nurture – those countries that have attained democracy through the hard work of their citizens.  Taiwan is such a country, and if the US wants to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, it needs to show resolve in support of our young and fragile democracy.” 

The full text of the letter is given below.

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Washington DC, November 14th  2007

 

Mr. Stephen Young

Director, American Institute in Taiwan

7 Lane 134, Hsin Yi Rd. Sec 3

TAIPEI,  TAIWAN 106

 

Dear Mr. Young,

As an organization of American citizens of Taiwanese descent we want to express our strong disagreement with your statements last week about the planned referendum in Taiwan regarding membership in the United Nations.  You said that the referendum is “neither necessary nor helpful”, and that you think “there is a price to be paid in mutual trust.”

Yes, there is a price to be paid, but this price is the fact that US opposition to the referendum is severely undermining international trust in the US government’s resolve to stand up for human rights and democracy in the world.  Your statements, and those of other US government officials, are also undermining democracy in our homeland.  We find this totally unacceptable.

The referendum is necessary in order to let the international community know that the Taiwanese people have no intention of letting themselves be subdued by an authoritarian regime in Beijing.  The referendum is necessary to let the world know that the Taiwanese people want their country to be a full and equal member in the international community.  The referendum is necessary to counter the PRC’s relentless pressure to isolate Taiwan and push it into a corner.

It should be clear to you and your colleagues that Taiwan is not threatening China in any way: the Taiwan government has emphasized time and again that it wants the country to live in peace with all its neighbors, including China.  However, as you well know, China is building up its armed forces with the specific aim of attacking Taiwan, and is threatening Taiwan with 980+ missiles.

If the United States is serious about spreading democracy around the world, it needs to be supportive of – and nurture – those countries that have attained democracy through the hard work of their citizens.  Taiwan is such a country, and if the US wants to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, it needs to show resolve in support of our young and fragile democracy.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

C.T. Lee MD

President, Formosan Association for Public Affairs

cc.

President George W. Bush

Secretary Condoleezza Rice

(November 15, 2007) FAPA Expresses Strong Disagreement With AIT Director Steve Young On Taiwan’s UN Membership