The August 26 edition of the Taiwan-based Sino Daily carried a story by United Press International reporting, “U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called Taiwan a ‘sovereign nation’ Tuesday [August 23] and added that it was Taiwan’s choice whether or not to buy a $15 billion weaponry package on offer from the Bush Administration.” If Rumsfeld did, in fact, refer to Taiwan as a “sovereign nation,” that would mean a reversal of 28 years of U.S. diplomatic recognition of the People’s Republic of China as the only Chinese nation. The PRC considers Taiwan—which has a democratically elected government but has never declared its independence from the mainland of China—a part of its sovereign territory.
Human Events Political Editor John Gizzi repeatedly tried this week to verify the quote and seek clarification of it from Rumsfeld’s office, but could get no reply. Col. Joe Richard of the Pentagon’s Office of Public Affairs told Gizzi he passed the question onto Pentagon spokesman Larry DaRita and his deputy Bryan Whitman, but neither had called him back. However, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told Gizzi there is “only one policy—the one-China policy—that is based on three communiquÃ?Æ? Â©s under three Presidents and the Taiwan Relations Act.”
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