The Market for Independence in Taiwan

Regarding the Opinion page article "A Call for Independence in Taiwan," March 5: I strongly disagree with the author's claims that "many key government posts continue to be reserved for the Chinese political elite." Key posts within the government are occupied mostly by local Taiwanese. President Lee Teng-hui is a native Taiwanese, as is Lien Chan, the newly appointed premier. Also, the mayors of the two largest cities are Taiwanese, and all of the chiefs of the total 21 counties and cities throughout Ta iwan are Taiwanese as well.

Taiwan has been a part of China for several centuries, and 99 percent of its people are Chinese whose ancestors came from China. Following the end of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-95), Taiwan was placed under Japanese rule for 50 years. In 1945 the brutal occupation came to an end, and Taiwan was retroceded to China.

According to all public opinion polls conducted on Taiwan so far, the majority of the people there have never supported independence. During the all-Taiwan 1992 Second National Assembly election, the Democratic Progressive Party emphasized independence in its party platform and suffered a heavy defeat.

Is it in the best interest of the US to risk a possible confrontation with the entire Chinese population on the mainland who vehemently oppose independence? Or should the US allow the question of China's unification to continue under present conditions, to be resolved by the Chinese people themselves in a gradual, peaceful way? Frank S. S. Chang,,Boston Coordination Council for North American Affairs The AID identity crisis

The article "US Nears Overhaul of Foreign Aid Effort," March 4, accurately identifies the need for a profound restructuring of the US government's foreign aid effort.

Foreign economic assistance must be better coordinated between executive branch agencies and the management structure, and operations of the Agency for International Development (AID) must be streamlined.

However, the Clinton administration should preserve parts of the system that function reasonably well. AID, for example, must remain responsive to major international crises, whether they are natural disasters like earthquakes or human disasters like wars. To assure that the agency does not run out of steam, the administration must direct aid resources to international development problems that are likely to exist for a long time. By focusing on long-term international crises, AID will avoid its own fu ture identity crisis.

Long-term problems include: world population growth; health and sanitation; education and opportunity improvements for women; and spiraling consumption of global natural resources. Matthew Auer, New Haven, Conn. Former official, AID Cut foreign aid

The front-page article "Floodgates Open for Suggestions to Cut Spending," March 5, is especially interesting in that not one politician or the president has suggested that foreign aid should be part of the sacrifices necessary to restore the American economy.

The billions of American tax dollars handed over to Egypt, Israel, and other nations - primarily to build military machines - are not to be reduced or taxed in the slightest. I am amazed at how our leaders think that sacrifice is only for American citizens and how sacred are the tax dollars they so generously pour into foreign economies. Dick Whitehead, Merritt Island, Fla.

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