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Friday, July 30, 1999

Tapa


Taiwan had better not break away from China

Your July 19 headline on an Associated Press story read, "China threatens force on Taiwan." It should have been, "China warns Taiwan."

President Jiang Zemin's timely warning is necessary to save the unity of China. President Clinton's one-China policy -- the People's Republic of China -- is correct.

Mung Peng Lee

Residents should determine fate of island

Your July 19 editorial on China/Taiwan is on target, especially the statement that Washington should continue to make it clear that an attack by China on Taiwan would trigger a U.S. response.

Taiwan's president, Lee Teng-hui, is also right when he states that China never owned Taiwan -- although there are many in this country, including a few professors at the University of Hawaii, who would disagree.

They must believe that mere possession is tantamount to ownership. Why not say the Dutch or Japanese are the rightful owners of Taiwan? Or why not the Malay people who originally occupied the greater Pescadore Islands?

China desperately wants to own and control Taiwan, so the Communists can gloat over the final humiliation of their hated enemy, the Nationalists. China also wants to "glom" onto the biggest economic plum in Asia.

Shouldn't it be left up to the people of Taiwan to determine their fate in a democratic way?

Art Todd
Kaneohe

People of Taiwan never agreed to 'one China'

President Clinton reassured Beijing on July 21 that American policy toward Taiwan and China is still "one China," which he maintained was agreed upon by the U.S., China and Taiwan. Clinton was responding to a distinct statement made by Taiwanese President Lee on Taiwan's state-to-state relationship with China.

I trust that President Clinton understands the Shanghai Communique (1972), Joint Communique of the U.S. and PRC (1978), and the Second Shanghai Communique (1982). These documents, which are not legally binding, were written by the U.S. and China, but not Taiwan, to declare a one-China policy and acknowledge that Taiwan is part of China.

Taiwanese were neither invited nor permitted to participate in such U.S.-China arrangements for Taiwan. In other words, the people of Taiwan had no say in the decisions affecting them.

More significantly, according to international law and in reality, Taiwan is indeed an independent state. The Taiwanese government, not Chinese, issues its own passports. Taiwan, not China, grants visas to foreign visitors. The Beijing government never has governed the Taiwanese in Taiwan, who neither pay taxes nor serve in China's military forces.

It's a fact, not fiction, that Taiwan exists as a nation. So why has the American government, over the past 27 years, feverishly insisted that Taiwan is part of China? Can we accept the facts, not the mysterious fiction?

Shu Yuan Hsieh

Brain Gain

'Brain drain' Web site has eloquent expats

Thank you for featuring Isaac Gusukuma's composition in your "Brain Drain" series for Hawaiian expatriates. I visit this Web site regularly and have read all the letters of despair. Gusukuma wrote exactly how I feel.

I'm glad there is still optimism and hope from people. They realize that attitude will pave the way for positive change.

Lance Maeda
Cypress, Calif.
Via the Internet

Legalization of drugs deserves consideration

I am happy about the stand Rep. Patsy Mink has taken on the importance of further study of medical cannabis, and am thankful she is on the drug policy subcommittee. I don't think more research is needed, because people should be able to put whatever they want into their own bodies as long as it's not disturbing others.

Mink's subcommittee met recently on "The Pros and Cons of Drug Legalization, Decriminalization and Harm Reduction." During the hearing, a New York representative characterized legalization as "a surrender to despair." In many aspects, the hearing was an effort to smear proposals for drug policy reform, with the threatening tag of being "soft on drugs."

Many groups such as the Libertarian Party and Cato Institute have well-researched, reasoned explanations of how legalization is a better alternative to criminalization. I wish our elected officials could be more open-minded when they look at what drug prohibition has done to our country.

We have lost the war on drugs and legalization is one option we should be looking at.

Cynthia Verschuur Powell
Kaneohe
Via the Internet

OHA wants state to follow state laws

In his July 5 letter to the editor, Robert Chapman's understanding of Hawaiian ceded lands, the state's obligations and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs' position are flawed. His premise is incorrect that OHA seeks the entirety of public land trust revenues and thereby denies the rest of the state trust benefits.

OHA only requires that the state abide by its own laws. Act 304 obligates the state to pay OHA 20 percent of the revenues generated from certain activities on certain ceded lands. If the general public is not benefiting from the bulk of the trust funds kept by the state, as purported by Chapman, it should demand an accurate accounting.

Hawaii's economy is hardly in jeopardy because of an obligation to the Hawaiian people, but rather because the state has not honored its obligation and large amounts of interest have accrued. Paid on time, that obligation is about half of 1 percent of the state's budget.

The fact remains that the State of Hawaii, the United States and the United Nations all acknowledge that these lands were "taken without the consent of or compensation to the Hawaiian people or their sovereign government" (U.S. Public Law 103-150).

Ryan Mielke
Public Information Officer
Office of Hawaiian Affairs
Via the Internet


Quotables

"Paddling has been like a
support group for me. From the
beginning, people acknowledged
who I was and didn't make
an issue of it."

LiAnne Taft
MEMBER OF THE WOMEN'S
KOA KAI CANOE CLUB
Objecting to a new gender verification rule implemented
by the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association that would
effectively bar the transsexual paddler from
competing as a woman

Tapa

"They (the public) wanted
tax cuts; we gave it to them --
income tax, general excise tax and
many other kinds of tax cuts.
But it is going to cost us and
they have got to be
prepared for that."

Gov. Ben Cayetano
Saying that the public must be willing to
accept reduced government services


Tapa

Theft of nuclear secrets must be punished

In 1779, an American military patriot with Valley Forge valor committed treason. By selling top secret information, and offering to turn over valuable military assets to the enemy, this patriot became the most hated spy in America.

His name was Benedict Arnold. When his plot was uncovered, he fled to England and escaped punishment -- as did the "other spy" that conspired with Arnold. This spy's name was Clinton, a Sir Clinton, no less.

America has again witnessed secret information (nuclear in nature) and hard high-tech security assets being placed into enemy hands for personal gain. This time, the recipient is Communist China.

With the blatant lack of media investigation/coverage of this security catastrophe, we must not forget history. "Personal gain leadership" must be eradicated, nationally and in Hawaii.

John Hoff
Lawai, Kauai

Hillary Clinton is as mean as a barracuda

It's a pity Diane Chang's great journalistic talents are not matched by an assessment of character (July 9 Changing Hawaii, "10 reasons Hillary shouldn't run"). Mrs. Clinton's serious flaws do not justify the positive spin that Chang put on her as a person.

Unquestionably, Hillary is an extremely talented individual -- who would win any fight, hands down, in a pool of barracudas. Happily, the New York newspapers, with the exception of "The Gray Lady" (New York Times), are having a field day with her.

George E. Lapnow
Cliffside Park, N.J.
Via the Internet

Senator Tam was first to request Nuuanu light

I would like to respond to the July 7 letter by Christopher Yee, who criticized state Sen. Rod Tam for "jumping on the bandwagon" regarding addition of traffic lights at Jack Lane and Akamu Place on Pali Highway.

Tam has been requesting this traffic light from the state Department of Transportation for over 10 years. He helped gather signatures on petitions and turned them over to the DOT, only to be refused during the Ariyoshi and Waihee administrations.

If anyone is jumping on the bandwagon, it's the other community organizations, media and legislators who joined in only after this latest traffic fatality.

As for supporting the proposed wedding chapel at Walker Estate, Tam was simply following the wishes of residents who live adjacent to the estate. They were concerned about a subdivision going in, which would have raised their property taxes and led to the demolition of the historic home.

The Pali's problem is not congestion but drivers who ignore the speed limit and who aren't attentive to pedestrians and other drivers. Where was Yee when volunteers were needed to hold signs along the Pali, urging drivers to slow down and be more careful?

Raymond Oda

Reflecting on success as a driving instructor

I was truly blessed to be a driving instructor for 26 years. When I go out, I always meet my former students, who say they were so happy to have learned from me.

I have always felt that sportsmanlike and defensive driving were very important, so I've tried to explain the many dangerous things that can happen on the road, so people can keep out of trouble.

Today, I am a decrepit old man resting in a care home. At times, when I am sad and lonely, I sit in my reclining chair and reminisce back to my years as a driving instructor.

I want to thank all my students and the general public for helping with my success. God bless each and everyone of you for giving me the opportunity to be a driving instructor.

Thomas T. Shimoda
Waipahu

Full restoration will lead to drownings, lawsuits

When the first child is discovered at the bottom of the "fully restored" Natatorium, and declared partially brain dead, after not being immediately seen and rescued by lifeguards due to the murky water, who will pay the $10 million settlement?

Will Mayor Harris dig into his own pocket? Or will the Friends of the Natatorium or taxpayers be soaked for the tragedy?

As a compromise, why not build an Olympic-sized state-of-the-art swimming pool with adequate parking somewhere else along Kapiolani Park and proclaim it to be the new Natatorium memorial?

The health of the public, especially of children, and the taxpayers' purse should come before the yesteryear, cosmetically improved memories of a few vocal people who are demanding their illusion of "full restoration."

R. Rodman

Tapa

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