Mr. Chairman, it is a pleasure to appear before you and the other members
the Committee today. I welcome the opportunity to provide an overview of U.S.
policy toward Taiwan, as well as the Administration s assessment of relations
across the Taiwan Strait, the current situation in Taiwan, and the challenges
that lie ahead.
This month we mark the 25th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).
TRA, along with the three U.S.-China Joint Communiqués and our one China
policy, form the foundation for the complex political and security interplay
among China, Taiwan, and the United States.
Looking back over the past three decades, I think we can congratulate ourselves
on crafting a policy that has been THE key to maintaining peace and stability
in the western Pacific while helping to ensure Taiwan's prosperity and
security. Without denying the challenges and difficulties that remain, I can
confidently report that because of the leadership of seven U.S. Presidents and
active participation of the Congress, our relations with both China and Taiwan
-- economic, political, cultural, and social -- are far closer and deeper than
most would have ever predicted.
Equally important, our policy and the TRA have made vital contributions to
easing tensions between Taiwan and the P.R.C. and creating the environment in
which cross-Strait people-to-people exchanges and cross-Strait trade are
flourishing and creating, we hope, the necessary conditions for peaceful
resolution of cross-Strait differences.
It is useful to reiterate the core principles of our policy:
* The United States remains committed to a our China policy based on the
three Joint Communiqués and the Taiwan Relations Act;
* The U.S. does not support independence for Taiwan or unilateral moves that
would change the status quo as we define it;
* For Beijing, this means no use of force or threat to use force against
Taiwan. For Taipei, it means exercising prudence in managing all aspects of
cross-Strait relations. For both sides, it means no statements or actions
that would unilaterally alter Taiwan s status;
* The U.S. will continue the sale of appropriate defensive military equipment
to Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act; and
* Viewing any use of force against Taiwan with grave concern, we will
maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or
other forms of coercion against Taiwan.
Our foremost concern is maintaining peace and stability in order to advance
U.S. interests, spare the region the dangers of war, safeguard Taiwan's
democracy, and promote China s constructive integration into the global
community as well as the spread of personal freedom in China. Because the
possibility for the United States to become involved in a cross-Strait conflict
is very real, the President knows that American lives are potentially at risk.
Our one-China policy reflects our abiding commitment to preserve peace in the
Taiwan Strait so long as there are irreconcilable differences.
Status Quo Message Aimed at Both Sides
The President's message on December 9 of last year during P.R.C. Premier Wen
Jiabao s visit reiterated the U.S. Government s opposition to any unilateral
moves by either China or Taiwan to change the status quo. This message was
directed to both sides.
The President and the senior leadership of this administration consistently
make clear to Chinese leaders that the United States will fulfill its
obligations to help Taiwan defend itself, as mandated in the Taiwan Relations
Act. At the same time we have very real concerns that our efforts at deterring
Chinese coercion might fail if Beijing ever becomes convinced Taiwan is
embarked on a course toward independence and permanent separation from China,
and concludes that Taiwan must be stopped in these efforts.
Democracy in Taiwan
The 2004 presidential election was a testament to Taiwan s vibrant democracy.
More than 80% of eligible Taiwan voters turned out to participate in a free and
fair selection of their next President. Although the margin of victory was
razor-thin --- only one-fifth of one percent --- and the attempted
assassination of President Chen and Vice President Lu marred the election
campaign s final days, the people of Taiwan behaved well and with restraint. We
are confident that both sides will use the established legal mechanisms to
resolve any questions about the outcome of the election. This matter is Taiwan
s internal affair.
We applaud the success of democracy in Taiwan and the dedication of Taiwan's
people to the rule of law. This position is consistent with the deeply held
values of the American people. Taiwan is a most complex and, in some ways,
inconsistent polity. Its economic participation in the mainland Chinese economy
is at an unprecedented level, yet it is now undeniable that Taiwan identity has
emerged as a political and social issue on the island that figures in election
campaigns. However, reliable polling also consistently demonstrates that a
clear majority of Taiwan residents prefer the continuation of the status quo to
either independence or reunification. The U.S. strongly supports Taiwan's
democracy, including the right of its people to elect their leaders and make
the full range of decisions about their security, economy, foreign relations,
and other issues. But we do not support Taiwan independence. A unilateral move
toward independence will avail Taiwan of nothing it does not already enjoy in
terms of democratic freedom, autonomy, prosperity, and security. Realistically,
such moves carry the potential for a response from the P.R.C. a dangerous,
objectionable, and foolish response -- that could destroy much of what Taiwan
has built and crush its hopes for the future. It would damage China, too. We,
in the United States, see these risks clearly and trust they are well
understood by President Chen Shui-bian and others in Taiwan.
While strongly opposing the use of force by the P.R.C., we must also
acknowledge with a sober mind what the P.R.C. leaders have repeatedly conveyed
about China's capabilities and intentions. The P.R.C. refuses to renounce the
use of force regarding Taiwan despite our consistent representations stating
they should do so. P.R.C. leaders state in explicit terms that China considers
Taiwan s future a vital national interest and that the P.R.C. would take
military action in the event Taiwan declares independence. While we strongly
disagree with the P.R.C.'s approach, and see military coercion as
counter-productive to China's stated intent to seek a peaceful outcome, it
would be irresponsible of us and of Taiwan's leaders to treat these statements
as empty threats.
What is more, P.R.C. military modernization and the increasing threat to Taiwan
indicate to us that Beijing is preparing itself to react in just such a
possibility. We encourage the people of Taiwan to regard this threat equally
seriously. We look to President Chen to exercise the kind of responsible,
democratic, and restrained leadership that will be necessary to ensure a
peaceful and prosperous future for Taiwan.
There are uncomfortable realities, yet they are facts with which we must
grapple. As Taiwan proceeds with efforts to deepen democracy, we will speak
clearly and bluntly if we feel as though those efforts carry the potential to
adversely impact U.S. security interests or have the potential to undermine
Taiwan s own security. There are limitations with respect to what the United
States will support as Taiwan considers possible changes to its constitution.
We are uncertain about the means being discussed for changing the constitution.
We do no one any favors if we are unclear in our expectations or obfuscate
where those limitations are. The President's policy regarding our opposition to
unilateral changes to the status quo will be reinforced in this dialogue with
Taiwan about its political evolution.
Taiwan is a success story for democracy in Asia and around the world. We feel
strongly that others can benefit from knowing more about Taiwan's achievements.
We will explore with our friends in Taiwan how they may be able to promote
their story to a global audience, and how we can help to make Taiwan's
instructive example available to all countries that are attempting to institute
democratic reforms. We can only do this, Taiwan can only do this if it avoids
unilateral steps that risk destroying all that it has accomplished.
The United States and Cross-Strait Differences
The United States is not a direct participant in the dispute between the P.R.C.
and Taiwan, but we have a strong interest in doing all we can to create an
environment that is conducive to a peaceful resolution. Resuming the dialogue
between the two sides is an important first step. A large part of that effort
consists of our promoting a strong bilateral relationship between the United
States and the P.R.C., and a strong unofficial relationship between the United
States and Taiwan. We desire and need good relations with both, and believe
this positions us best to assist the two sides in getting to the negotiating
table on mutually agreeable terms. Indeed, we believe both sides desire and
need good relations with one another.
The process of cross-Straits dialogue and contact has moved fitfully over
last 15 years. In the late 1980s, the prospects for cross-Strait reconciliation
and dialogue began to take shape with the lifting of martial law in Taiwan and
the opening up the mainland Chinese economy and society. The Nationalist
government on Taiwan not only lifted the ban on visits to the Mainland for
family reunions, but also allowed the distribution and publication of P.R.C.
books and initiated discussion on future cross-Strait trade and investment
The 1990s ushered in a decade of incremental consensus-building. Both sides
agreed in 1992 that there was one China, but left each side free to express
their interpretation of the concept. This ambiguity and decision to reserve
differences cleared the way in 1993 for the first high-level meeting in
Singapore between heads of the two private intermediary organizations --
Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation ( SEF ) and the P.R.C.'s Association for
Relations Across the Taiwan Strait ( ARATS ).
Lower-level talks continued on a fairly regular basis until they were suspended
by Beijing in 1995 after President Lee Teng-hui visited the U.S. The Lee visit
prompted China to overreact and launch missile tests and military exercises
along the Taiwan Strait. The United States responded quickly to the impending
crisis, emphasizing our deep concern to Beijing in diplomatic channels and
directing the movement of two aircraft carrier battle groups into the waters
off Taiwan. Beijing's heavy-handed response was one factor that helped secure
Lee s win in Taiwan s first presidential election by universal suffrage in
Unofficial exchanges resumed in 1997 through informal meetings between
personnel of the two sides' unofficial representative organizations. Direct
SEF-ARATS contacts resumed in April 1998, and the SEF Chairman Koo Chen-fu
visited the Mainland in October 1998. Koo and ARATS chairman Wang Daohan agreed
to further dialogue on political, economic, and other issues, and Wang agreed
to make a return visit to Taiwan. His visit, however, was cancelled following
statements made by President Lee to the Voice of Germany radio on July 9, 1999
that relations between the P.R.C. and Taiwan should be conducted as
"state-to-state" or at least as "special state-to-state relations." ARATS
immediately rejected Lee s statement and called it a serious violation of the
In March 2000, Democratic Progressive Party candidate Chen Shui-bian became
first opposition party candidate to win the presidency. His victory resulted in
the first-ever transition of the presidential office from one political party
to another, validating Taiwan's democratic political system. During his May 20,
2000 inauguration, President Chen called for resuming the cross-Strait dialogue
without any preconditions. President Chen stated that such talks should be
conducted on the basis of the spirit of 1992 . He also pledged (1) not to
declare independence; (2) not to change Taiwan s official designation as the
Republic of China; (3) not to insert the state-to-state theory into Taiwan s
constitution; and (4) no plebiscite or referendum on sovereignty issues. He
also agreed not to abolish the Guidelines for National Reunification and the
National Unification Council. The P.R.C., however, has insisted that President
Chen must recognize the one China principle before official talks can resume.
Despite the differences between Taiwan and the P.R.C., unofficial contact
between the two sides has grown significantly. Taiwan continues to relax
restrictions on unofficial contacts with the P.R.C., and cross-Strait
interaction has mushroomed. In January 2001, Taiwan formally allowed the three
mini-links (direct trade, travel, and postal links) from two small islands
very close to the mainland to Fujian Province. The following year, President
Chen defined the status quo as being one country on each side of the Taiwan
Strait , once again sparking criticism from Beijing and his domestic opponents.
Our position continues to be embodied in the so-called "six assurances"
to Taiwan by President Reagan. We will neither seek to mediate between the
P.R.C. and Taiwan, nor will we exert pressure on Taiwan to come to the
bargaining table. Of course, the United States is also committed to make
available defensive arms and defensive services to Taiwan in order to help
Taiwan meet its self-defense needs. We believe a secure and self-confident
Taiwan is a Taiwan that is more capable of engaging in political interaction
and dialogue with the P.R.C., and we expect Taiwan will not interpret our
support as a blank check to resist such dialogue.
In the final analysis, the Taiwan issue is for people on both sides of the
Strait to resolve. This is the only way a peaceful and durable solution can be
found and it is a vital element in guaranteeing long-term peace and stability
in East Asia. Taiwan faces many challenges in the years ahead, and recurring
crises with Beijing can only interfere with the central tasks of promoting
democracy, ensuring economic growth, advancing the popular welfare, and
enabling Taiwan s security. Beijing likewise faces daunting challenges in
overcoming poverty and backwardness, establishing the rule of law, and
beginning a process of political reform and opening up. China would gain
nothing from a conflict. It would undermine a historic transformation through
which China has become a respected member of the international community. War
in the Strait would be a disaster for both sides and set them back decades, and
undermine everything they and others in the region have worked so hard to
achieve. We continue to urge Beijing and Taipei to pursue dialogue as soon as
possible through any available channels, without preconditions.
In the absence of a political dialogue, we encourage the two sides to increase
bilateral interactions of every sort. Clearly, there would be economic benefits
for both sides by proceeding with direct aviation and shipping links. The
increasing people-to-people contacts may also ease tensions. It is also time
that the two sides begin exploring confidence building measures that reduce the
chance for military miscalculation and accidents, and improve the quality of
communications in the event of a crisis. Any such mutual reassurance mechanisms
should be truly mutual, and not a one-way pass for the other side.
U.S. Taiwan Security Relationship
The United States is committed to make available defensive arms and defensive
services to Taiwan in order to help Taiwan meet its self-defense needs. A
secure Taiwan is more capable of engaging in political interaction and dialogue
with the P.R.C.. The United States has provided Taiwan with a significant
quantity of defensive weapons over the last 25 years, and during that
challenging period has been Taiwan's most reliable -- and often only --
supplier of weapons.
The P.R.C. has explicitly committed itself publicly and in exchanges with
United States over the last 25 years to a fundamental policy "to strive for a
peaceful resolution to the Taiwan question." If the P.R.C. meets its
obligations, and its words are matched by a military posture that bolsters and
supports peaceful approaches to Taiwan, it follows logically that Taiwan's
defense requirements will change. However, the post-1999 P.R.C. program of
military modernization, including deployment of a steadily growing number of
short range ballistic missiles (SRBM) targeted on Taiwan, undermines confidence
in China's commitment to deal with the cross-Strait situation peacefully and
requires a measured response on our part, under the TRA, to provide appropriate
defensive military equipment to Taiwan. China s missile deployments against
Taiwan are increasing by 50-75 missiles per year. As Secretary Powell stated
last month during a public speech, "China's military build-up opposite Taiwan
is destabilizing. We urge a posture more conducive to the peaceful resolution
of existing disputes."
Taiwan s implementation of the National Defense Law and the revised Ministry
National Defense Organization Law, which brought Taiwan's military command and
administrative structures clearly under civilian control, was a signal
achievement long sought by the United States. We continue to urge the full
implementation of civilian control over the military and the development of
civilian expertise on security and military affairs.
After years of steadily declining budgets, Taiwan s political leadership has
stated that they are committed to spending more on defense. Over the past 10
years, Taiwan s defense budget as a percentage of GDP has dropped from 4.75% to
2.6%. Taiwan s FY04 defense budget is NT$260.00 billion (US$7.62 billion). This
is up from NT$251.5 billion in 2003. However it still does not allow purchase
of big-ticket items approved by the U.S. for sale to Taiwan since 2001.
Recent major acquisitions that Taiwan has made include the purchase of four
KIDD-class destroyers in 2003. These destroyers will fill gaps in the Taiwan
Navy s fleet air defense and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capabilities. The
destroyers are being refurbished now and will be delivered to Taiwan in 2005.
We also just notified Congress last month of a possible sale to Taiwan of
long-planned Ultra High Frequency long range Early Warning Radar systems. The
estimated cost of these radars is US$1.776 billion. The radars will give Taiwan
early warning and detection of ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as
aircraft. These systems will be a vital component of Taiwan s air and missile
Taiwan s Ministry of National Defense is engaged now in the process of
developing a special budget request that will enable Taiwan to acquire priority
capabilities in missile defense and Anti Submarine Warfare ( ASW ).
Taiwan's political and military leaders have formally recognized Taiwan's
military needs to reform, moving away from a military dominated by ground
forces to one that emphasizes jointness and is better suited to the task of
defending against the PLA's increasingly modern air and sea forces. In support
of Taiwan's efforts the United States is engaged in a range of interactions
with Taiwan s defense and military leadership consistent with the framework of
U.S. policy, focused on acquisition of priority capabilities in areas such as
Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and
Reconnaissance ( C4ISR ), air/missile defense, anti-submarine warfare (ASW),
and other planning and training exchanges. Our security assistance policy and
arms sales to Taiwan are helping Taiwan build and maintain a self-defense
capability that is flexible, joint, responsive to civilian control, and
sufficient to meet the threat from Beijing.
It is important to note that our security relationship is not limited
exclusively to ensuring the security of Taiwan. Taiwan is a strong partner in
war on terror, which contributes in a very direct way to U.S. and global
security. We hope to conclude the Container Security Initiative agreement with
Taiwan soon. We also deeply appreciate the immediate and heartfelt response of
the people and the government of Taiwan after the attacks of September 11 and
the contributions of Taiwan to reconstruction of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Taiwan in International Organizations
The United States continues to be a strong supporter of Taiwan's participation
in international organizations, either as a member, when possible, or in an
appropriate form when membership is not possible. We actively support observer
status for Taiwan in the World Health Organization ( WHO ).
We want to find a way forward for Taiwan s participation in the World Health
Assembly that will receive broad support among WHO Member States. In order for
this effort to succeed, the focus has to be on the importance of including
Taiwan as part of global efforts to safeguard public health. In that regard, we
encourage Taiwan's efforts as an active player and a responsible member of the
international community on health issues. During the past 3 years, we have
worked intensively with Taiwan representatives in Washington, Taiwan, and
Geneva in order to advance the goal of participation by Taiwan in the WHO. We
have held annual strategy meetings, most recently in early April 2004, to hear
Taiwan's plans and to work together with Taiwan on how best to advance Taiwan's
legitimate interest in contributing to the work of the WHO. Taiwan's problem
obtaining observer status is certainly not due to a lack of U.S. commitment.
We hope the P.R.C. will adopt a more constructive view and will join in an
effort that shows genuine compassion for the people of Taiwan. Although WHO
observership explicitly does not require statehood and several WHO observers
are not nations, the P.R.C. has actively lobbied to block even the placement of
consideration of Taiwan's observership on the World Health Assembly agenda.
This is a mistake that only alienates the people of Taiwan. The question of
Taiwan's participation in the WHO deserves a full vetting by the international
community, and Taiwan can certainly count on the United States to vote in favor
of including the Taiwan observership issue on the World Health Assembly agenda
should the issue come to a vote. We hope to move beyond that question, and look
forward to supporting an appropriate resolution, and ultimately voting in favor
of Taiwan's candidacy for observership.
Taiwan: A Global Economic Player
In recent decades, Taiwan has successfully weathered an enormous economic
transition. Fifty years ago, the island was primarily agricultural. By the
1970s, it had become a major exporter of labor-intensive goods such as shoes,
textiles, and plastics. Today, Taiwan is a world leader in information
technology products and its economy is increasingly oriented towards
knowledge-based services. Taiwan s economic growth is an area which has brought
the two sides of the Strait closer together and has made Taiwan a major
economic player on the world stage.
During the past 20 years, per capita GNP in Taiwan has grown from about $7,400
in 1980 to an estimated $13,000 today. Entrepreneurial talent, coupled with
forward-looking government programs, have enabled hi-tech industries to emerge,
placing Taiwan companies in the top rung of semiconductor producers and
information technology product manufacturers. The majority of the world's
notebook computers, for example, are made by Taiwan firms -- an industry that
did not even exist 15 years ago. Taiwan is the world's third-largest holder of
foreign currency reserves, America's eighth-largest trading partner, and the
world's seventeenth-largest economy. The island has achieved its economic
stature despite few natural resources and a relatively small domestic market.
High levels of education and a dedicated work force have been among the major
drivers of Taiwan's impressive economic development.
Development of the Cross-Strait Economic Boom
Despite the outbreak of SARS and ongoing political tensions, China became
Taiwan's top trading partner in 2003, even without the presence of direct
cross-Strait transportation. Japan and the U.S. dropped to second and third
place, respectively. Trade between Taiwan and China reached $46 billion last
year, up nearly 25% over 2002. Almost one-quarter of Taiwan s exports went to
China, while P.R.C. imports made up 8.6% of Taiwan s total imports. Taiwan s
trade surplus with the P.R.C. grew by 13.4% last year.
The P.R.C. is also the number one destination for investment by Taiwan
businesspeople. Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs approved $35 billion of
Mainland investments between 1991 and 2003. Most private analysts believe the
actual figure to be around $70 billion when undeclared projects are included
along with money flows from Taiwan investments channeled through third
locations. In 2003, Taiwan approved investment of $4.59 billion in the P.R.C.
Estimates of the number of Taiwan citizens living full-time in the P.R.C. run
from 500,000 to as many as one million.
These robust cross-Strait economic ties began less than two decades ago. From
1949 until 1987, Taiwan had banned trade, investment, transportation, and
communications with the P.R.C.. Beginning in 1987, Taiwan residents were
allowed to visit the P.R.C. in increasing numbers, and to invest so long as
they went through a third location such as Hong Kong. As wage and land costs in
Taiwan were soaring, labor-intensive Taiwan industries such as textiles,
footwear, and plastics began departing the island for cheaper labor and land in
the P.R.C. and ASEAN countries. Much of Taiwan s investment in the PRC reflects
the normal cycle of business transition, from import substitution to export-led
growth, from labor-intensive products to more capital- and technology-intensive
goods, and from doing all operations in Taiwan to moving production off-shore
to take advantage of an increasingly global economy. The advantages to Taiwan
businesses of working in China were obvious, given the low cost labor, land,
and other inputs that have also attracted other foreign investors. Linguistic
and cultural affinities gave Taiwan businessmen immediate advantages compared
with non-Chinese investors, while for its part, the PRC welcomed its Taiwan
compatriots to invest and trade in the mainland.
Taiwan s trade with and investment in the P.R.C. soared, although it is
difficult to calculate exact figures because people, goods, and finance flow
across the Strait indirectly, because both sides keep different statistics, and
because a proportion of Taiwan investment in the P.R.C. continues to go
unreported. Whatever the exact figures may be, the trend has been clear.
According to Taiwan statistics, two-way trade reached $25.8 billion in 1999.
Only $4.5 billion of that was imports to Taiwan from the P.R.C., since Taiwan
has restricted imports from the mainland. In the mid-1990s, Taiwan launched its
no haste, be patient and go south investment policies aimed at slowing the
flood of Taiwan investment in the P.R.C. and directing it elsewhere. Despite
these policies, the rate of growth of Taiwan s investment in Southeast Asia
slowed steadily, and there was an increase on average of 23% per year in
realized investment in the P.R.C. in the mid-to-late 1990s. Approximately 40%
of Taiwan s outward investment is now in the P.R.C.
The Three Links
Taiwan and China have yet to establish the "Three Links" -- direct
transportation, and postal services across the Taiwan Strait -- although as the
cross-Strait economic relationship grows, the economic incentives to establish
direct links will grow. In 2001, the "mini links" were created to allow travel
and trade between Taiwan's offshore islands of Kinmen and Matsu and China's
Fujian Province. Activity via the "mini links" has grown rapidly, but it
remains a small part of overall trade. In early 2003, Taiwan permitted its air
carriers to ferry Chinese New Year passengers back and forth across the Strait
by way of "indirect charter flights" that touched down briefly in Hong Kong or
Macau. Taiwan and China did not repeat the charter flights during the 2004
Chinese New Year, in part because the two sides could not agree on the terms
for meetings to discuss how PRC carriers might also participate.
In addition to concern about over-dependence on a potential adversary, Taiwan
worries that direct cross-Strait links could speed the hollowing out of
Taiwan s economy and create problems of unemployment in Taiwan. While Taiwan s
concerns about overdependence and hollowing out cannot be dismissed, these
issues need to be seen in the broader context of global interdependence.
Cross-Strait trade is not occurring in a vacuum, and both sides are connected
to world trade. Even though approximately 25% of Taiwan's exports go to the
P.R.C., most of those goods end up re-exported from China to developed country
For example, if the P.R.C. were to adopt economic sanctions against Taiwan
business due to a cross-Strait political crisis, much of the damage would fall
on China itself, not just Taiwan. According to one 1997 study by a Taiwan s
Chung-hua Institute for Economic Research, if Taiwan s exports to China were
disrupted by one dollar, China s exports produced by Taiwan invested companies
would decline by five dollars. The negative impact on regional and global
supplies, particularly in IT products where Taiwan continues to be a world
leader, would be devastating. These factors may have been one reason why in
1995-1996, when cross-Strait tensions erupted and the P.R.C. launched missile
tests, China did not match its military threats with economic sanctions against
Taiwan businesses. As a corollary, predictions that Taiwan businessmen invested
in the mainland would pressure their government to make political concessions
to China in 1995-1996 and 1999-2000 have also not proven correct, although some
did urge their political leaders in Taipei to be cautious.
The Global IT Highway Runs Across the Strait
The IT global supply chain offers important insight into the relationship
between globalization and cross-Strait trade. The P.R.C. surpassed both Japan
and Taiwan to become the world s second- largest information hardware producer
in 2002, after the United States. Much of this was due to the steady migration
of Taiwan industrial investment across the Strait. Taiwan is now second only to
Japan as a source of total imports to the P.R.C., with a 12% share. Nearly
three-quarters of those imports from Taiwan to the P.R.C. are production inputs
for assembly and processing that are then re-exported. While China now ranks as
a major player in global IT production, according to numerous private
estimates, more than 50% of Mainland China's information technology production
is generated in facilities run by Taiwan companies. Thus, China s production in
the IT sector depends on Taiwan, not the other way around. Taiwan s foreign
direct investment could be said to be an important component of China s
economic development and political stability.
Taiwan s Economic Future
Economic relations with the P.R.C., which have been steadily liberalized in
recent years, also will be a major factor in Taiwan s economic prospects.
Diversification of foreign direct investment is always a prudent practice, as
is a realistic attitude toward China s economic potential. With these
principles in mind, Taiwan investment in the P.R.C. can be a win-win-win
solution for Taiwan, the P.R.C. and the world economy as a whole. The island s
role in world trade is even more critical for Taiwan s future overall
competitiveness. Taiwan has emerged as a ranking international economy and an
industrial powerhouse. As one of the Asian tigers, it has benefited from good
policy, sound economic fundamentals, a good educational system, an outstanding
workforce, and the suppleness of Taiwan s industrial structure, which is
dominated by small- and medium-sized firms. Today, Taiwan s leaders are looking
to new sectors such as biotechnology, optoelectronics, and nanotechnology as
areas where Taiwan can maintain its world-class reputation and create new
opportunities for growth. Taiwan's Challenge 2008 National Development Plan
calls for an additional $16 billion, over 6 years, beyond existing commitments
to improve infrastructure, facilitate R&D, and create new jobs.
In order for the Challenge Plan to succeed, Taiwan will have to address both
international and domestic market factors. It needs to continue with reform of
the financial system, improve the investment climate, and continue to implement
WTO accession commitments. Taiwan s record of IPR piracy and protectionism for
domestic producers and service providers in recent years has left much to be
desired. In an increasingly knowledge-based economy, Taiwan will have to do
more to protect intellectual property. Taiwan also needs to do more to enhance
its attractiveness as a destination for more foreign direct investment. Such
changes will position Taiwan to continue to play a major role in the
international economy as well as to be an important economic partner of the
Our Economic Partnership
Today, Taiwan is the eighth-largest trade partner of the United States. Taiwan
bought $17.48 billion in U.S. goods in 2003, while the U.S. imported $25.9
billion from Taiwan last year. It is our sixth-largest market for agricultural
products, and ninth largest export market overall. We continue to encourage
Taiwan to improve its protection for intellectual property, through
strengthening both law and law enforcement, improve market access and
transparency for rice imports, meet its multilateral and bilateral commitments
on pharmaceuticals, and firmly establish an open market for telecommunications
services. Taiwan has taken encouraging steps on IPR enforcement in the past
year. While more remains to be done in all these areas, we hope Taiwan will
continue and strengthen its efforts. This will in turn brighten prospects for
stronger U.S.-Taiwan economic ties under our existing Trade and Investment
Framework Agreement, and, if appropriate, future consideration of a possible
Free Trade Agreement.
The Taiwan Relations Act has been a tremendous success, and we endeavor to
sure that success is sustained in the future. We have built a strong unofficial
relationship with Taiwan that emanates from a foundation of shared values and
mutual interests. Our interactions with Taiwan are to our mutual benefit in the
economic sphere, in bilateral security interests, and global security. Taiwan
is a good friend to the United States, as we are to Taiwan. As such, Taiwan can
count on sustained U.S. support as it addresses its many important challenges.
This very much includes Taiwan's efforts to develop its democracy. And we
expect Taiwan to respect our interests in stability embodied in the Taiwan
Relations Act. On that basis of mutual acknowledgement of and respect for our
interests, the road ahead is promising. Thank you.
Released on April 21, 2004
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