Members Of Congress Urge Secretary Rice To Strike Political Pro-China References From Annual Technical State Department Cable

For Immediate Release
Washington DC – October 3, 2008
Contact: (202) 547-3686

Members Of Congress Urge Secretary Rice To Strike Political Pro-China References From Annual Technical State Department Cable

In a letter dated September 28, 2008, eight House of Representatives including co-chairs of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, Reps. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) and Steve Chabot (R-OH) who spearheaded the effort, urge the State Department to strike the pro-China political references form the cable that the State Department sends annually to all its overseas missions and embassies prior to the annual celebration of the Republic of China’s October 10 National Holiday aka “Double Ten.”

Since 1979, the U.S. State Department has sent an annual unclassified memo to all its overseas missions presenting its diplomats with technical hints and tips on how to participate in Taiwan’s Double Ten celebrations.

But suddenly, in 2007 the cable ballooned from a 3911 characters memo into a memo of 7885 characters – i.e. double its size. Reason?

In the 2007 (and 2008 version) there suddenly appears:

— An extensive section on the “One China” policy
— A section stating that Taiwan is not a sovereign, independent country
— A section stating that the US does not support Taiwan’s membership in international organizations “that require statehood.”

The Members of Congress write: “However, when we compared the 2007/2008 version of the cable with the version of 2006 and before that, we were disturbed by all the added political language, detrimental to democratic Taiwan, which crept into this memo.”

They continue: “We realize that for the past decade or so the People’s Republic of China has been pushing the United States for a codification of these issues. It is unacceptable to include such significant policy declarations – ones so detrimental to a U.S. ally – in a technical memo. We respectfully request a full explanation as to why the annual memo was altered so significantly and what the implications are for U.S. policy.”

FAPA President Bob Yang, Ph.D. says: “Clearly the State Department has given in to Chinese requests to codify these political provisions that are hurting Taiwan. They have been pushing the United States for the past decades to incorporate these policy statements wherever and whenever possible. And finally, in 2007, they succeeded.”

Yang continues: “Ultimately this whole memo with these nit-picking guidelines in it should be abolished. The bottom line is – the U.S. policy towards Taiwan should not be based on China’s demands.”

Photo Credit: April Brady/Project on Middle East Democracy (Flickr)