Despite all confucius' teachings, Chinese everywhere are sick of authoritarian despots ("Why Taiwan matters," Cover Story, May 16). Taiwan's peaceful transition from an authoritarian fascist state to a socialist welfare state shows that democratic regime transition is possible (even under Chinese culture).
Taiwan matters not just because it is an information technology powerhouse but also because the Taiwanese, under stress, are experimenting with making a better future for themselves. Taiwan has just as much to show the world about how to deal with political and social pressure as its talented engineers have to show the world about how to make the latest gadget work.
Your article was insightful and to the point: Taiwan matters. Protected now by a "silicon shield" that China dare not penetrate for economic reasons, Taiwan matters more than ever.
Chiayi City, Taiwan
I partly agree with "Why Taiwan matters," but I wish to add some points. Today, Taiwan's success is attributed mainly to U.S. assistance in the early times when the Nationalist Party -- the Kuomintang (KMT) -- retreated from the mainland. In the name of social stabilization, the KMT imposed martial law, and the Taiwanese concentrated on economic improvement, copying U.S. systems and ideas, resulting in an economic miracle. When the middle class accumulates wealth, people urge political reform, resulting in widespread democracy and freedom, including the presidential election.
The main difference between China and Taiwan is democracy and freedom. Since Deng Xiaoping adopted the "open door policy" in 1979, China has copied Taiwan's economic system. Now, China is eager to become the regional power in Asia. Although unlike the KMT, the Chinese Communist party fears the KMT's fate -- becoming the opposition party. Therefore it does not dare to implement democracy, arguing that it is unsuitable for China. We know that when a volcano erupts suddenly, it destroys everything, but when it erupts smoothly the result is a sightseeing spot like the Hawaiian Islands. If China becomes as free and rich as the U.S., most Taiwanese may not oppose unification. Military operations will only kill people and occupy lands. But money and democracy will conquer people's hearts.
Can Taiwan really find peace with China? Yes, but only if China doesn't invade and annex Taiwan, and only if peace-loving and freedom-loving democratic nations stand up together against tyranny to keep Taiwan independent. The recent Chinese missile build-up against Taiwan threatens the peace between China and Taiwan as well as destabilizes world peace.
Without Taiwan, the global economy could not function, and U.S. interests and security would be greatly threatened. If China annexed Taiwan, the Taiwan Strait would become a Chinese inner sea, and the traffic through Taiwan Strait, one of the busiest and most vital seaways, would be endangered and at the mercy of China.
Let's hope that "appeasing or excusing tyranny, and sacrificing freedom in the vain pursuit of stability" (President Bush's speech on May 7 in Riga, Latvia) will never happen again!
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Europe is a vital part of the world for Emerson [Electric Co.] -- and it will continue to be so, because it represents nearly 25% of our sales ("Cutting their losses," European Business, May 23). We have a long-established leadership position in the region, many important customers, and a slightly better growth rate in Europe than in the U.S. over the past five years.
Some 85% of our European sales are in Western Europe. Yes, we face major challenges there. Yet we continue to invest in our facilities and people. While we may not be building new plants right now, our productivity gains allow us to continue to maintain or increase our capacity.
Our current investment in expansion into Central and Eastern Europe and Russia allows us to benefit from the booming growth and investment in infrastructure -- particularly in capital goods. Our emerging market strategy is centered on the best way to serve our customers as they move their business into these markets. It is not tied solely to work rules or labor costs, as your story suggests. When we sell our products in a particular market, we must also manufacture there, source materials there, engineer and design products there -- all to be more responsive to our customers.
Long term, we need to be successful in Western Europe, and we remain committed to accomplishing that goal.
David N. Farr
Chairman and CEO
Emerson Electric Co.
After finding the geographical term "the Sea of Japan," included in "Why North Korea may start nuclear testing" (International Outlook, May 16), I am compelled to discuss the naming of the sea, which lies between the Korean peninsula and the Japan archipelago. The U.N. Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names has consistently recommended that countries having a dispute over the name of a shared geographical area should endeavor to seek agreement through consultation.
The Korean government recommends that both names "East Sea" and "Sea of Japan" be used simultaneously while Korea and Japan try to resolve the dispute on the geographical name in question.
Eung Soo Han, Consul
Korean Consulate General