China's nominal legislature, the National People's Congress, passed a law that seeks to provide a legal justification for the People's Republic of China's cross-Strait policy. While this anti-secession law stresses that China will do all it can to peacefully reunify China and Taiwan, it also authorizes the use of "non-peaceful" means if Taiwan tries to secede from China "under any name or by any means."
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that while the U.S. supports the "one China" policy and "does not support Taiwan independence," the new Chinese law was inadvisable:
"We do view the adoption of the anti-secession law as something that is unfortunate and not helpful to encouraging peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. We continue to encourage cross-strait dialogue. We believe that's important to ensuring peace and stability and to reducing tensions. We don't believe anyone should be taking unilateral steps, or make unilateral changes that increases tensions. And that's why we view the adoption of this anti-secession law as not helpful. But we'll continue to encourage cross-strait dialogue."
The United States has an obligation under the Taiwan Relations Act to "make available to Taiwan defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability." In the event of a danger to American interests arising from a threat to the security of the people of Taiwan, the Taiwan Relations Act directs that "the President and the Congress shall determine, in accordance with constitutional processes, appropriate action by the United States in response to any such danger."
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has made it clear that neither implied threats by China nor moves towards independence in Taiwan are helpful to preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits region. Her spokesman, Richard Boucher, said he was sure that Taiwan would be a topic of discussion during Secretary of State Rice's trip to Asia, which will include a stop in China.
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government.