Hu Jintao, leader of the People’s Republic of China, concluded his trip to Washington, D.C. with a speech to the U.S.-China Business Council following some no-nonsense sessions with Congressional leaders.
After the fawning reception of Hu by President Barack Obama, which included a formal state dinner at the White House, the Chinese ruler met with key Congressional leaders and got lectured about China’s dismal human rights record.
With his ears still ringing from the Capitol Hill lectures, Hu was the keynote speaker at the trade group luncheon where he told the audience that the United States needs to back off Tibet and Taiwan.
Hu Jintao was introduced by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who remains a controversial figure in American politics for his role in the secret bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War.
Hu told the assembled business leaders that Tibet and Taiwan are “issues that concern China’s territorial integrity and China’s core interests.”
Hu’s remarks followed a morning confrontation with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who handed Hu a letter she had written to Obama prior to the arrival of the Chinese delegation.
Ros-Lehtinen wrote: “Another area of security concern is Taiwan. As you know, the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 specifies that it is U.S. policy to consider any non-peaceful means to determine Taiwan’s future a threat to peace and security of the Western Pacific area and a grave concern to the United States.”
“Despite recent overtures in cross-Strait relations, Beijing continues to modernize its military and expand its arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles targeting Taiwan in ways that raise serious questions about the sincerity of China’s charm offensive. In this context, the Congress continues to view the judicious sale of defensive weapons systems, such as advanced fighter aircraft, as an essential element of the United States support for a secure, stable and democratic Taiwan, as well as peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
During President Obama’s face time with the Chinese leader the sensitive topic of Taiwan’s status was carefully avoided. The United States is the “principal occupying Power” over Taiwan under the San Francisco Peace Treaty that ended World War II with Japan but has delegated control of the island’s population to the exiled Republic of China.
In 2009, the District of Columbia U.S. Court of Appeals urged Obama to act “expeditiously” to end Taiwan’s “political purgatory” but the White House has thus far ignored the court’s request.