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Home The News News US policy on Taiwan unchanged: AIT

US policy on Taiwan unchanged: AIT

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American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman Raymond Burghardt yesterday reassured President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) that US policy on Taiwan remained unchanged, including its position on Taiwan’s sovereignty and commitment to help Taiwan meet its defense needs.

Burghardt’s visit comes a week after US President Barack Obama visited China. Since the US’ Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) was not mentioned in the US-China joint statement issued during Obama’s visit, the Democratic Progressive Party had expressed concern that the US might have backtracked on its commitment to Taiwan.

Despite the omission in the joint statement, Obama spoke about the TRA in the joint press statement he gave with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤).

Burghardt told Ma that Obama has made remarks both in public and private reaffirming Washington’s longstanding policies toward Taiwan, including its position on Taiwanese sovereignty.

“US public and private statements on Taiwan, including the joint US-China statement, in no way represented any change whatsoever in the United States’ position concerning sovereignty over Taiwan,” he said. “Simply put, the US has never taken a position on the political status of Taiwan.”

The TRA remains the central document governing relations between Taipei and Washington, as Obama pointed out in his public statement in Beijing about the US’ commitment to the TRA, Burghardt said.

He said Washington has long urged that cross-strait issues should be resolved peacefully and in accordance with the wishes of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Ma thanked Washington for keeping his administration informed about Obama’s trip before and after the visit.

“Our representative in the US felt that it was the first time they could obtain information about a US president’s trip to China so smoothly and abundantly,” he said.

Ma said that since Obama’s visit to China was the first of its kind since the two presidents took office, Taiwanese were very interested in what Obama would say to the “mainland leader” and what agreements would be signed.

Two issues of grave concern, Ma said, were the US’ respect for “mainland China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and Washington’s hope to see efforts by both sides to increase dialogue and interactions in economic, political and other fields.

Ma said he hoped to see Washington sell Taiwan the more advanced F-16 C/D fighter jets to replace its aged F5s in a speedy manner.

On US beef, Ma said his administration would impose the so-called “three controls and five checks” measure. This refers to border controls and various safety screening measures.

However, Ma said that none of the measures would violate the protocol on bone-in beef signed with Washington and would conform to the regulations of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the WTO.

He said his administration would strive to protect public health while honoring the country’s international obligations, adding that he believed the health and economic agencies would find a way to satisfy the needs of all involved.

At a separate setting later yesterday during a meeting with local media, Burghardt said the items that were not approved by Congress as part of an arms deal with Taiwan in October last year, such as F-16 jets, did not mean they have been ruled out completely.

These items will be considered at another time, he said, reiterating recent comments by Jeff Bader, the East Asia director on the White House’s National Security Council, that “there will be arms sales to this administration.”

When asked about the Chinese missiles pointed at Taiwan, Burghardt said that the number of missiles has increased and that they continue to pose a threat to Taiwan.

“[The missiles are] a form of threat. That’s the only way to look at it ... yes, of course they should remove the missiles,” he said, but added that the missiles were only one part of China’s overall threat to Taiwan and that US security commitments to Taiwan covered all contingencies.

Source: Taipei Times 2009/11/25

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