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Former U.S. official criticizes National Security Council for not recognizing Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A former U.S. State Department official and one of the drafters of the Taiwan Relations Act yesterday criticized U.S. National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director for Asian Affairs Dennis Wilder's remarks last week that "Taiwan, or the Republic of China, is not at this point a state in the international community."

Harvey Feldman, former director of the U.S.'s Office of the Republic of China Affairs before the U.S. ended diplomatic relations with Taiwan, said "Wilder's comments are a lame kind of expression of the U.S.'s formal policy since the Truman Administration."

Wilder made the remarks last week as both the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and Kuomintang are proposing referendums on Taiwan's return to the United Nations, albeit under different national titles.

In addition, President Chen Shui-bian and the government has filed an application with the United Nations for the Republic of China to join the world body under the name of Taiwan.

Feldman, a Distinguished Fellow in China Policy at the U.S. thinktank Heritage Foundation, said that under American law, the U.S. has no basis for opposing Taiwan's membership in any international organization.

Section 4(d) in the Taiwan Relations Act states that the withdrawal of diplomatic recognition from Taiwan provides no basis for opposing its membership in the international financial institutions or any other international organization, Feldman said in his research paper entitled "The Taiwan Status Quo 'As We Define It.'"

On the issue of Taiwan joining the U.N., Feldman said that he gave advice to former President Lee Teng-hui in 1989 on the strategy which the government should take to become a member of the world body.

Feldman said that he had recommended to Lee that the R.O.C. work through specialized agencies of the U.N. rather than attacking the General Assembly in the beginning and then gradually gain support from other members to launch a formal bid for membership.

Feldman, however, added that the formula which he recommended to Lee almost twenty years ago may not be feasible now.

During his tenure of Director of the Office of the Republic of China, Feldman created the American Institute in Taiwan.

The research fellow served as U.S. Ambassador to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands and also as an alternate U.S. Representative to the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador.

Feldman is the editor of two books, "Taiwan in a Time of Transition" and "Constitutional Reform and the Future of China."

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