Sun, Feb 15, 2009 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

Three ‘distortions’

I am extremely displeased with the article published in your newspaper entitled “Glaser floats Clinton-PRC compromise” (Feb. 11, page 3). The article purports to present the views that I expressed at a briefing for the press held at the Center for International and Strategic Studies on Feb. 10 on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s upcoming visit to Asia. A transcript of the event is available at the Federal News Service, so the record is clear and indisputable. My statements were mischaracterized and distorted.

First, the sub-headline reads that Glaser “said any agreement reached on Taiwan would probably not include something so direct as the cessation of weapons sales.” The article then says that I suggested that a “compromise” might be reached between the US and China. I said nothing to suggest that there would be negotiations between the US and China regarding Taiwan. In fact, I insisted that there would be no deal. I never said anything that would imply that the US and China would reach any agreement that concerns Taiwan. This is a complete distortion of my words.

Second, I did not term President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) policies as “pro-China” policies. I view Ma’s policies as pro-Taiwan.

Third, I did not say that China would ask the US to end arms sales to Taiwan in return for restarting its military-to-­military relationship with Washington. I said that China would not likely change its position of asking the US to end arms sales to Taiwan. But I also said that the Chinese are looking for a face-saving gesture (which is quoted accurately). That is quite different from, and even contrary to, a hard-line position that insists on an end to arms sales in return for restarting military ties.

BONNIE GLASER

Senior Associate

Freeman Chair

Center for International and Strategic Studies

Editor’s note: Review of the full transcript confirms that Glaser did not say that “China would ask the US to end arms sales to Taiwan in return for restarting its military-to-military relationship with Washington” or otherwise imply this. The Taipei Times regrets the error.

However, on the other complaints, Glaser says that Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) would “undoubtedly” raise the issue of Taiwan with Clinton. She adds: “I think there will certainly be a desire on the part of Beijing to hear the new administration state its position respecting the one China policy and the three communiques, and perhaps say something in support of the improving relations between the two sides of the strait. And I would expect that Secretary Clinton would be eager to do that because we do see the process that is taking place, the eased tensions.”

Such interaction constitutes negotiations on Taiwan, even if they are informal, tentative and reach no agreement, as do Glaser’s hoped-for exchanges relating to China’s missiles and Taiwan’s international role: “I personally hope she [Clinton] will also say something about the need for China to follow up to some of President Ma Ying Jeou’s [sic] gestures with some movement on the military front in reducing the military buildup opposite Taiwan and also taking some more measures to support Taiwan’s desire for more meaningful participation in the international community.”

Glaser did not use the word “compromise,” but in paraphrasing her comments, the story correctly interpreted that any “face-saving gesture by the United States” amounted to a potential compromise, if only symbolic.

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