Taiwan's Democratic Taunts

Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian's recent call for a law enabling popular referendums quickly turned into an international crisis. China, fearing that the law could be used to move Taiwan towards independence, reacted strongly even before the referendum bill was approved by the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan's parliament.

Major General Wang Zaixi, Deputy Director of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, warned of the use of force if Taiwanese authorities "collude with separatist forces to openly engage in pro-independence activities and challenge the mainland and the one-China principle."

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was slightly more civil. In an interview with an American newspaper, he reminded Taiwan that China would "pay any price to safeguard the unity of the motherland."

A few days after Wen's interview, while commenting on recent developments in Taiwan with Premier Wen at his side, US President George W. Bush said that America opposed "any unilateral decision to change the status quo, and the comments and actions made by the leader of Taiwan indicate that he may be willing to make decisions unilaterally to change the status quo, which we oppose."