To the Brink and Back

The rain was heavy, and there wasn't much cover. But despite the gloomy weather, Douglas Paal, head of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the U.S.'s de facto embassy on the island, was in a bright mood. For nearly an hour, Paal had sat and listened to Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian deliver his inauguration address to scores of foreign dignitaries and tens of thousands of his supporters in the square in front of the presidential office in Taipei. During his re-election campaign, Chen had repeatedly stressed Taiwan's separateness from China. While that stance helped him win votes among many people in...

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