China, Taiwan, and the US The opinion article "Losing China?" (Sept. 2) raises several issues of deep concern to Taiwan, namely national security and international integrity. Taiwan believes that peaceful means remain the only option for settling differences in cross-strait relations. Any military confrontation would be too costly for all involved.

We continue calling on Beijing to renounce any use of force against Taiwan, which seeks to maintain only a proper defense structure for its people. Beijing has more than 100 missiles positioned along its coastal provinces targeting Taiwan. Possible inclusion in the US-proposed Theater Missile Defense System against an incoming missile attack therefore remains a defense option.

Taiwan is neither tempted nor interested in "testing China" or interefering in US-China developing relations. We do rightfully insist, however, that our opinion and presence in the international community be heard. And we reserve the right to defend the democracy that we have worked so hard to achieve. Yih Jung-tzung, Boston

Taipei Economic and Cultural Office No one in the human rights community wants "single-issue" diplomacy with China. On the contrary, we fight against it. Under recent administrations, the US has come disturbingly close to "single-issue diplomacy" - the single issue being trade. It is immoral and silly to pretend, as writer Pat Holt does, that trade and human rights are "unrelated."

The PRC murders its own citizens, and the people - especially the clergy - of occupied Tibet. We forgive a huge trade deficit with China. That money keeps the brutal regime in power.

Holt feels China is too important to US interests to let human rights get in the way. China is economically less important to the US than Belgium, and its economy is sliding, not growing. But even if China were as powerful as Holt makes it sound, would it make a difference?

Holt predicts that "China is not going to become a liberal democracy." Why not? Taiwan, which Mr. Holt apparently regards as an "irritant," did. And the Chinese are clearly frightened of US trade pressure, or they wouldn't fight so hard against it.

Human rights is not the only issue in US-China relations. But stopping the killing of innocents must be our first priority. Andrew Ayers, New York Students for a Free Tibet

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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