Chen Shui-bian

"Chen Shui-bian Claims Taiwan as De Facto Independent Country" CND news report

This is huge news. Is Asia so off my radar that I missed a conservative daily newspaper reporting this in the headline above the fold? (Which isn't to say they did: it's just that something like this seems pretty juicy for a newspaper that stands up for Taiwan to not to run with it as la Une.)

The relevant quote from President Chen: “Taiwan is fit to be an independent country, that's the truth. And no matter if you agree or not, whether you accept it or not, Taiwan is an independent country.”

If he indeed did say that, it doesn't fully represent the views of the majority of Taiwanese. The Newsweek interview in question publishes the quote, but also reports the following: “Nearly 80 percent of Taiwanese [...] say they prefer the ambiguous status quo to either full-fledged independence or reunification with the mainland.”

I know that President Chen is fairly pro-independence, but this strikes me as awfully stupid politically, to say nothing of the military implications for the whole region of South-East Asia.