Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian may have gone too far in calling for formal independence for his self-ruled island. His remarks triggered a furious response from China–which considers Taiwan a renegade province and has threatened military force if necessary to achieve eventual reunification.
Chen’s speech also drew a stiff rebuke from the Bush administration, which is commited to maintaining the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, even if that means looking the other way while China builds up its arsenal of missiles aimed at the island.
At a news briefing in Washington, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack reiterated US opposition to Taiwanese independence, and said President Bush has repeatedly underscored his opposition to unilateral changes in the status-quo by either Taipei or Beijing as threats to regional security. [Full Text]