HONG KONG -- The launching of the U.S. Congressional Taiwan Caucus on April 9, which already includes 85 members of the House of Representatives, is but the latest sign of Washington's moving inexorably closer to Taiwan, 30 years after the signing of the Shanghai communique. So far, China has shown remarkable restraint.

After U.S. President George W. Bush, in a speech at the State Department, welcomed "both countries" -- China and "the Republic of Taiwan" -- into the World Trade Organization, Beijing accepted Washington's explanation that it had made "an oral mistake" and returned to business as usual.

The Chinese, who are nothing if not pragmatic, realize that they live in a world dominated by the United States. They know that access to the American market as well as American capital and technology play a key role in their desire to become a powerful, modern country and, so for now at least, are prepared to put up with a considerable amount of provocation.