The media are reporting a strange emanation from the US Defense Department, whose internal contradictions are a delight to behold. Wish I could get my hands on the entire document, but it doesn’t seem to be on the DoD news site. Apparently a delegation headed by DoD chief Robert Gates is in Beijing, and said stuff that will require much “clarification”… CNA describes:

Taiwan’s representative office in Washington has been asked to approach the U.S. Department of Defense for clarification of a statement released by Pentagon officials in Beijing Sunday that likened a U.N. bid referendum to be held in Taiwan next year to an “independence referendum, ” Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) officials said Monday.

Officials from the representative office in Washington have been asked to contact the Pentagon to find out why the U.S. military authorities issued a news release in Beijing in which they labeled the U.N. bid referendum proposed by the Democratic Progressive Party administration to seek Taiwan’s entry into the U.N. under the name Taiwan as an “independence referendum” and why they flatly proclaimed that President George W. Bush is opposed to independence of that “island nation” referring to Taiwan, said MOFA deputy spokeswoman Yeh Fei-pi.

Yeh pointed out that no U.S. administration agency has ever used terms like “independence referendum” and “island nation” to refer to Taiwan during communications with Taiwan.

Another article adds:

‘The Foreign Ministry has taken note of such a statement and has asked its representative office in the US to approach Pentagon for clarification and ask it why was such a misunderstanding,’ said Phoebe Yeh, acting spokeswoman of the ministry.

She was referring to a press statement released by Pentagon on a two-day Beijing visit from Sunday by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, during which the Defense Department said the Gate’s delegation ‘expects the Chinese to bring up Taiwan - especially with the independence referendum on the ballot soon.’

LOL. “the island nation” rubs shoulders with “independence referendum.”