The Washington Post, which generally leans Xinhua on Taiwan affairs, published a fairly decent article on Soong’s visit to China. I wish that the paper would do a better job of representing actual public opinion on Taiwan…

The communique still includes references to the “1992 consensus” and the “one China” principle, as well as a section opposing independence for Taiwan, all of which Chen’s supporters will find objectionable. In the television interview, Chen also noted that the communique made no mention of the Republic of China or the role Taiwan’s 23 million residents should play in determining the island’s future.

…on one hand, it’s good to see a major American newspaper admit that the 23 million people of Taiwan exist and have a case. On the other, the isues that the WashPost claims are “objectionable” to “Chen’s supporters” are actually those which most Taiwanese, even those who vote for other parties, would find troublesome. Few Taiwanese accept in principle the idea that Taiwan is part of China even when they vote for the KMT, for which that position is the foundation of Party theology. Those Taiwanese who believe Taiwan will be part of China and act to bring that about often see benefits to joining China, or do not believe that they should waste their energy fighting what is seen as inevitable by many.

I look forward to the day when the Washington Post and other major newspapers actually take the time to get a correspondent here who knows about the island, one of America’s largest trade partners and a possible flashpoint for a future war with China.

How important is Taiwan? Here’s the list of top ten trade partners from the good people of the Census Department:

The values given are for Imports and Exports added together.
These Countries represent 67.08% of U.S. Imports, and 64.12% of U.S. Exports in goods.

        Year To Date                            Total in   Total in                            Billions   BillionsCountry Name                  of U.S. $  of U.S. $

Canada                          42.78    118.11Mexico                          24.01     66.93China                           19.51     60.02Japan                           17.78     47.07Federal Republic of Germany     10.54     28.19United Kingdom                   7.78     20.95Korea, South                     6.03     18.05France                           4.87     13.71Taiwan                           4.83     13.64Italy                            3.75     10.22

That’s right folks. We’re number nine (look how close we are to France). Just think about all the countries below Taiwan on this list that have full-time correspondents, but we don’t. Something is wrong, wrong, wrong.