TAIWAN: A Timely Defection

For Nationalist China, the defection to Taiwan last week of Communist Squadron Commander Fan Yuan-yen in his MiG-19 was the best piece of news since the death of Mao Tse-tung nearly a year ago. Radio stations played stirring martial music between special news flashes, and people set off firecrackers in the streets in celebration.

It was the first defection of a Communist pilot since 1965, and from Taiwan's point of view it could not have been better timed. President Carter is eager to normalize relations with Peking. Taiwan hoped the defection would...

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