From Heritage Foundation website:
Bizarre as it may seem, a peaceful referendum in Taiwan may portend war. Dozens of challenges bedevil U.S.‚ÄìChina relations, but the "Taiwan Issue" was first on the agenda for President George W. Bush's talks with China's Hu Jintao at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum last week. Hu has warned Bush directly that this year and the next will be a "highly dangerous period" in the Taiwan Strait and accused Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian of "brazenly" pushing a referendum to secure Taiwan's admission to the U.N., which China sees as a move toward independence. Hu alluded to a legal mandate under China's 2005 "Anti-Secession Law" to use "nonpeaceful means" to counter "major incidents entailing Taiwan's secession from China," and Beijing has informed Washington that, regardless of the actual wording of Taiwan's referendum, the referendum itself is just such a "major incident." "Referenda" and "wars" have thus become psychically entwined in America's distracted China policy, and shooting in the Taiwan Strait is the last thing the United States needs right now. [Full Text]
John J. Tkacik, Jr., is Senior Research Fellow in China, Taiwan, and Mongolia Policy in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation.