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Taiwan's United Nations Bid: Domestic Democracy or International Crisis?

Recorded on December 18, 2007

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

When he met President Bush on November 28, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi demanded that the United States "combine efforts, intensify cooperation, to resolutely block the 'UN bid referendum' and 'Taiwan independence' splittist activity in all its forms, in order to maintain the peace and stability of the Pacific region."  At the same meeting, Minister Yang told his long-time friend, President Bush, that China's denial of U.S. Navy port calls in Hong Kong was a "misunderstanding."

"Misunderstanding?"  Not according to the Beijing Foreign Ministry spokesman who flatly denied that the Ministry said any such thing.  And on hearing that, U.S. officials confirmed that "misunderstanding" was "precisely" what Yang said.  The Chinese media now blame Washington's failure to rein in Taiwan's democratic processes for their decision to deny U.S. naval ships bad-weather haven in Hong Kong, and for approving, then denying the USS Kitty Hawk battle group a port call in the city. 

Yet another crisis in U.S.-China relations is brewing over Taiwan's upcoming referendum on the Island's bid for membership in the United Nations.  Join us Tuesday morning to hear Taiwan's Representative in Washington, Dr. Jaushieh Joseph Wu, explain his country's side of the story, while two panels of experts analyze the impact of Taiwan's UN bid on Taiwan's domestic politics, international frictions and the future of Asian democracy.