This article collects a bunch of news articles from around the net, opening with the usual blarney from the authoritarians across the Strait:

China issued a warning that Taiwan should stay the course toward eventual unification with the mainland Thursday, a day after Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian called for the abolition of the National Unification Council.

The first report the CS Monitor article draws on is a Financial Times article from K. Hille, who usually cites pan-Blue sources and is anti-Chen, as this paragraph confirms:

Analysts said Mr Chen’s decision to take a hard line in the face of growing US pressure showed that he could grow increasingly difficult to control over his remaining two years in office. “He’s not afraid of anything any more,” said George Tsai, a cross-Strait scholar at Taipei’s Chengchi University.

The citation is typical of a propaganda mode that often appears in the international media whose purpose is to depict Chen as a madman who has to be “controlled” because he could do anything at anytime. The reality is that Chen is a pragmatic politician who has to contend with a variety of pressures and whose space for manuever is limited. But then dealing with complexities is something best left to academics and bloggers. Hille also uses more hyperbole elsewhere in the article:

The comments marked unprecedented defiance of the US, Taiwan’s sole protector, which had urged his administration to back down from any plan to scrap the the moribund 15-year-old council.

“Unprecedented defiance”? Taiwan’s done a lot worse things than asking that a useless and outdated government organ be shut down! The writer of the CS Monitor article then falls into error…

The Taipei Times reports that the US, which is bound by law to defend Taiwan in case of Chinese invasion, confirmed its commitment to maintaining the status quo in a Tuesday meeting with Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi in Washington.

The US is not bound by law to defend Taiwan. Think I’ll have to drop him a line. He also makes a minor error:

Chen, a member of the pro-independence Democratic People’s Party, has “made boat-rocking his hallmark,” Reuters reports. That hallmark may be wearing US patience thin, as it tries to balance its military obligations to Taiwan with its political ties to China.

That’s the Democratic Progressive Party. The “Chen is a madman” theme is faithfully transmitted in this article as well, as Chen the Boat-Rocker. I guess you can point hundreds of missiles at Taiwan and threaten to murder Taiwanese and be conservative, but if you struggle to escape this fate, you’re rocking the boat.

Sure.