By Patrick Tyler
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Extra resources for A Great Wall: Six Presidents and China
General Shalikashvili called Prueher and told him that it was not too early to take some preliminary steps to mobilize for the defense of Taiwan if war broke out, but to take care not to telegraph any such moves to the Taiwanese leadership, lest diey grow bolder. In great secrecy, Prueher mobilized the Pacific Fleet command staff in Honolulu to prepare for the deployment to Taiwan of a huge supply of ammunition, spare parts, and missiles, including Patriot missiles to defend Taiwan's civilian population centers from incomingChinese rockets.
Taiwan's leaders recognize that whether they eventually strike a deal with mainland China or declare their independence, the island's fate will ultimately be decided by the United States, which has always been the guarantor of its security. Both Taiwan and mainland China recognize America's crucial rote. For this reason, both sides endeavor to influence die American political process. Beijing has concentrated its efforts on each successive American president, seeking continuity of the commitment to the principle of one China.
Every American president since Nixon had refused to allow such visits, in the belief that giving Taiwan's leader a political forum in the United States undermined the "one China" pledge and needlessly provoked Beijing. Both Clinton and his Secretary of State Christopher had upheld that standard during their first two years in office. Indeed, Christopher and his assistant secretary for East Asian affairs, Winston Lord, had repeatedly promised Chinese leaders that Lee would not be admitted. But in May 1995, Lee Teng-hui was able to exploit the zeal of an incoming Republican Congress to turn the tide of American politics and pressure Clinton to issue the visa.
A Great Wall: Six Presidents and China by Patrick Tyler