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PacNet #31C – Chen’s “Slip” Puts Spotlight on the U.S.

Taiwan is conducting damage control exercises in the aftermath of President Chen Shui-bian’s recent comments on relations with the mainland. In addition to the problems created in cross-Strait relations, Chen’s remarks have also caused trouble for Taipei in Washington. The Bush administration rapidly expressed its displeasure to the Chen government: focused on the global war on terrorism, desirous of stabilizing relations with Beijing, and, to that end, preparing for President Jiang Zemin’s visit to Crawford, it does not like being "surprised" and distracted by Chen’s forceful advocacy of Taiwan’s "own path." And yet, while President Chen is responsible for this controversy, there should also be some soul searching in Washington over its role in this episode.