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Chen Shui Bian's last hurray?

Updated On: May 16, 2006

After being snubbed by the US who refused to grant him a stopover in important US cities, Taiwan’s President Chen Shui-bian made surprise stopovers in Libya andIndonesia on his way home from Latin America.  This had drawn strong criticisms from China.

Indonesians were quick to appease the Chinese and promised to look into the matter. 

What was perhaps interesting about this episode was the “desperation” and “exasperation” of Chen Shui-bian and what this might portend for Sino-Taiwan ties in the next two years before Chen’s presidential term ends.   Would Chen resort to more provocative measures after unilaterally “abolition” of the National Unification Council, a move that some analysts said had unnerved Washington.

In response to some US Congressmen queries whether US acted under pressure from China in refusing Chen a stopover in a US city, Robert Zoellick, Deputy Secretary of State perhaps reflect Washington’s displeasure with Chen when he said “We want to be supportive of Taiwan while we’re not encouraging those that try to move towards independence” as independence would means war for the US.

With Chen now clearly seem as a potential trouble-maker, what lies ahead is tricky as Chen might refused to be reined in by the US and would continue its provocative acts. This perhaps was reason why the Singapore’s elderly statesman, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, in his visit to China mentioned that the cross-strait ties remained of utmost concern to the stability of the region.

Sources:

China makes "seriously representations" to Indonesia on Chen's stopover (People’s Daily, 13 May 2006)

China protests to Indonesia over Taiwan leader's stopover (Channelnewsasia, 12 May 2006)

Indonesia regrets stop-over by Taiwan President (Straits Times, 12 May 2006)