Powell’s tongue slip

What’s with Colin Powell and his apparent eagerness to suck up to Beijing on the issue of Taiwan?

In interviews on Tuesday, Powell spoke in unusually harsh terms on the topic of Taiwan’s sovereignty. “Taiwan is not independent. It does not enjoy sovereignty as a nation, and that remains our policy, our firm policy,” he said.
But it was Powell’s subsequent remarks that left Taiwan in a state of shock. “We want to see both sides not take unilateral action that would prejudice an eventual outcome, a reunification that all parties are seeking,” Powell told CNN.
Currently the situation is that both the United States and Taiwan know that Powell goofed badly. The US wants to pass it off as a simple slip of the tongue. But Taiwan is well aware that China is likely to ignore a denial and make as much hay from Powell’s remark as it can. Indeed, on Wednesday Zhang Mingqing, spokesman for the Chinese government’s Taiwan Affairs Office, told a press conference, “Some people have said Powell made a slip of the tongue, but I don’t believe it.”

(Via Mick Hartley.)

Update: Powell is quite wrong when he says “all parties” are seeking reunification. According to a recent poll “fewer than 2% of Taiwanese want unification now and only about 11% want it at all. (This is compared with 6% who want a formal declaration of independence immediately and 18% who want it some time in the future.) Forty percent of all Taiwanese prefer the status quo now/decision later option, while 18% want the status quo to last forever”.

(Via Fabian’s Hammer.)