Divided China's two states need to consult as equalsThe...


August 10, 1999

Divided China's two states need to consult as equals

The Sun's editorial "One China, two states" (July 22) described Taiwan's President Lee Teng-hui's statement about a "special state-to-state relationship" between the two sides of a divided China as a "bombshell" and said he was "rocking the boat."

President Lee was responding to a reporter's question. As the elected leader of a vigorous democracy, Mr. Lee took the opportunity to remind the reporter and the world that the Republic of China, with its seat of government on Taiwan, has been a sovereign state since its founding in 1912 by Sun Yat-sen.

Mr. Lee was defending our national interests and dignity. He by no means twisted the truth or ruled out unifying the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to form a new, democratic China in the future.

He chose the word "special" to describe relations between the people of Taiwan and mainland China because they share common cultural and ethnic roots and have a special affinity for each other.

By insisting on the principle of parity, President Lee was hoping to pave the way for wide-ranging negotiations between the two sides during a visit to Taiwan by the chairman of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, Wang Daohan, scheduled for later this fall.

We have left our invitation to Mr. Wang on the table because we believe that given our current differences, it is more important than ever that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait communicate.

Both sides must be willing to work together and consult as equals the pursuit of China's future reunification.

Eric C. C. Chiang, Washington

The writer is director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States.

Sinn Fein not to blame for recent Irish troubles

The Sun's warning about efforts to bring peace to Ireland ("Ulster peace in balance," Aug. 4) was timely but misdirected. The editorial correctly notes ominous signs of the Irish cease-fire breaking down, including gun-running arrests in Florida and the killing of a suspected informant in Belfast.

The Sun infers that David Trimble was correct in refusing to work with Sinn Fein and urges "American friends of the Irish peace process" to persuade Sinn Fein that Mr. Trimble's position on decommissioning is a reasonable one.

We very much support the Belfast Agreement but see no reason Sinn Fein should change its position. To our knowledge, no Sinn Fein officials have been implicated in either of the incident the editorial cited.

Since the April 1997 cease-fire, 20 innocent Catholics have been killed in the north by loyalist assaults. Yet none of this carnage caused The Sun to call for the exclusion from the peace dialogue of loyalist elected officials.

It is because of Mr. Trimble's refusal to abide by the terms of the agreement that violence is again rearing its ugly head and threatening progress toward peace.

Michael J. Cummings, Washington

The writer is a member of the board of the Irish-American Unity Conference.

Officials must focus on transportation

The juxtaposition of The Sun's article "Billions in transit funding put at risk" and editorial "The needed route on roads and transit" (July 27) could not have been more timely.

Any objective evaluation of the region's transportation planning process would find that the elected officials of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council have failed to implement federal and state laws encouraging public participation.

The result has been the adoption in 1995 and 1998 of seriously flawed transportation plans that will increase traffic congestion and reduce air quality.

With this result, no wonder elected officials maintain an arms-length relationship to the process and discourage meaningful public dialogue.

Any new state transportation funding increase should incorporate a mechanism that restructures the regional decision-making body into an effective entity, with additional members representing various citizen and transportation interests.

After all, additional funding will not guarantee quality investments. That will take leadership and public interest -- not continued lip service.

Alfred W. Barry III, Baltimore

The writer is chair of the Committee on the Region of the Citizens Planning and Housing Association.

I want to commend The Sun's excellent coverage of the failure of regional transportation planning in the article "Billions in transit funding put at risk" (July 27).

While decisions regarding transportation profoundly shape our quality of life, how they are made is little understood.

The article exposed a reckless process that offers no alternative to a car-bound existence, but brilliantly succeeds in increasing congestion.

In the article, Baltimore County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger says he and other county executives cannot attend meetings to decide how to spend $16 billion in transportation funds because, "We have to run our government, too."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.