As U.S. President George W. Bush prepares to leave the White House after eight years in office, he has once again revisited the sensitive issue of Washington's relationship with Taiwan.

During a meeting at the White House with Asian media reporters held on the eve of his last official trip to Asia, President Bush brought up the issue of Taiwan and his views about the current state of cross-strait relations.


Addressing what he termed the "Taiwan-Chinese relationship," President Bush said that following recent developments, "people who study this very closely will see that the issue is in a better place."


He added: "I'm very pleased with the state of relations now, and I recognize it took a lot of work to get them there."


While President Bush is infamous for lacking skills in public speaking, he clearly is pleased with the current state of relations between Taipei and Beijing.


This is a far cry from the kinds of things that President Bush has said in recent years about Taiwan and how Taipei handles its relations with mainland China.


During the administration of former president Chen Shui-bian, President Bush openly chided our government for deliberately provoking tensions by undertaking steps toward seeking de jure independence.


In his remarks published yesterday, Bush revealed for the first time that the U.S. administration indeed had "some red lines" that it would not permit Taipei to cross, namely that "there would be no unilateral declaration of independence" by Taiwan.


This marked the first time that a sitting U.S. president has ever publicly stated what observers have known for many years, namely that the U.S. would not permit our government to stir up regional tensions by seeking de jure independence.


In the past, U.S. leaders have couched their warnings in more vague terms, such as warning that Washington was against any change in the status quo of the Taiwan Strait by either Beijing or Taipei.


Now we can see that the U.S. viewed Taipei, not Beijing, as the troublemaker in cross-strait relations during the Chen Shui-bian era.


But at the same time, we can see that Washington is now satisfied with our current government's policy. So it appears that our government is finally out of the doghouse in Washington.In many ways, this brings us back to the situation we enjoyed when President Bush first took office in early 2001.


At the time, President Bush experienced his first minor foreign policy crisis when he unexpectedly announced that he would do "whatever it took" to help defend Taiwan against an attack from mainland China.


President Bush also announced a broad-ranging package of arms sales to Taiwan, of which many items have yet to be bought and paid for by our legislature.


Reports have widely speculated that when President Bush meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao next week, he will inform Hu that the U.S. will continue with its plans to sell advanced arms to Taiwan.


This would put an end to widespread press speculation suggesting that Washington had frozen arms sales to Taiwan until the new U.S. president takes office in January of next year.


The reports have said that Bush will "inform" Hu about the arms sales, rather than make it an issue for further discussion or negotiation.


Based on President Bush's remarks to reporters in the White House, we believe these reports are probably true. Indeed, given the sensitive nature of any arms sales to Taiwan, the best time for the U.S. government to make such sales come at the tail end of an outgoing president's administration.


This was how things worked in 1992, when President Bush's father, former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, announced during a campaign stop in Texas that he had approved the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan.


While the sale that saved thousands of jobs did not push the elder Bush over the top and enable him to win his battle for re-election that year, the election's winner Bill Clinton honored his predecessor's promise and went though with the sale of the planes.


But even if the arms sales matter is not brought up during his meeting with Hu, President Bush's remarks also show that Washington is once again placing its trust in our government and its leadership.


President Bush's statements also show that he realizes our government has made compromises.


We believe that Bush will most likely advise Hu to be more generous in his dealings with Taipei, since it is clear that in his view, we are no longer deliberately stirring up trouble in the region.


administration : 行政;施政
arms : 武器
broad : 寬的,闊的
brought up : 養育;提起...,談到
chide : 責備;責怪;責罵[(+for/with)]
closely : 接近地
compromise : 妥協,和解[C][U][(+between)]
couch : 躺著
crisis : 危機;緊急關頭;轉折點
declaration : 宣佈,宣告;宣言,聲明
deliberately : 慎重地;謹慎地
doghouse : 犬屋
eve : 前夜,前夕
experienced : 有經驗的;老練的;熟練的[(+in/at)]
far cry : 長距離
frozen : 凍結的;冰凍的
handle : 買賣;經營;處理
indeed : 真正地,確實,實在
infamous : 聲名狼藉的,臭名昭著的;罪大惡極的
inform : 通知,告知,報告[O5][O6][(+of/about)]
lack : 缺少;沒有
legislature : 立法機關
minor : 較小的;少數的
namely : 即,那就是
negotiation : 談判,協商[P1][(+with)]
openly : 公開地,公然地
permit : 允許,許可,准許[O1][+v-ing][O2]
pleased : 高興的,喜歡的;滿意的[(+at/about/by/with)][+to-v][+that]
predecessor : 前任;前輩
provoking : 令人生氣的
publicly : 公開地,公然地
status quo : 現狀
realize : 領悟,了解,認識到[+(that)][+wh-]
recognize : 認出,識別;認識[(+as)]
regional : 地方的;區域的;局部的
reveal : 揭示,揭露;暴露;洩露[U][C]
revisit : 再訪;重遊;重臨
satisfied : 感到滿意的; 令人滿意的; 滿足的
sensitive : 敏感的;易受傷害的[(+to)]
speculate : 思索;沈思;推測[(+on/upon/about)]
speculation : 思索;沈思;推測[(+about/on/upon)]
state : 狀況,狀態[C]
stated : 指定的
stir : 微動;騷動;激動;轟動[S1]
tension : 使拉緊;使繃緊;使緊張
term : 期,期限
toward : 向,朝
troublemaker : 惹麻煩的人,鬧事者,搗亂者
undertaking : 事業;企業;工作[C][S1]
unexpectedly : 未料到地,意外地
unilateral : 一方的,單邊的;單方面的
vague : 模糊不清的,朦朧的
widely : 範圍廣地;廣泛地
widespread : 分佈(或散佈)廣的

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