Wed, Oct 27, 2004 - Page 1 News List

MOFA blasts US `betrayal'

MUTUAL TRUST Mark Chen said yesterday that the US secretary of state's comments about Taiwan `breached mutual trust' and came as a `surprise'

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AGENCIES

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) criticized Secretary of State Colin Powell's remarks on the cross-strait relationship two days ago as a breach of the "mutual trust" shared between Taiwan and the US.

"The US has told us not to give them surprises, but this time it is the US giving us a surprise. This is unfair. Taiwan and the US share the same interests and we should build mutual trust. But Powell's talk has breached mutual trust," Chen said.

Chen made the statement when questioned by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator John Chang (章孝嚴), who is also a former minister of foreign affairs, in the legislative sitting yesterday.

"This is indeed the first time the US has used relatively heavy language [about the cross-strait relationship]," Chen said when questioned by other lawmakers.

Chen was responding to Powell's remarks two days ago that "We want to see both sides not take unilateral action that would prejudice an eventual outcome, a reunification that all parties are seeking."

Chen pointed out yesterday that the ministry was already trying to obtain further informtion. He said that usually when US top officials traveled abroad and would make remarks related to Taiwan, the Taiwan's representative office in the US would get briefed first.

But this time, Chen said, there were "surprises" in Powell's remarks.

Powell gave interviews to CNN International and China's Phoenix TV at Beijing's China World Hotel two days ago. Besides reiterating the US' "one China" policy, Powell further elaborated on Taiwan's current status.

"We want to see both sides not take unilateral action that would prejudice an eventual outcome, a reunification that all parties are seeking," Powell told CNN, according to the transcript released by the US Department of State.

Powell reiterated unification again when talking to the Phoenix TV.

"So both sides should show restraint, not take any unilateral actions, look for ways of improving dialogue across the Straits and move forward toward that day when we will see a peaceful unification," Powell said, according to the transcript released by the State Department.

Powell also explained the "one China" policy again, further elaborating on Taiwan's current status.

"There is only `one China.' Taiwan is not independent. It does not enjoy sovereignty as a nation, and that remains our policy, our firm policy," Powell told the Phoenix TV.

Powell's remarks regarding the cross-strait relation were picked up by the media, and the State Department had to stress that the US government still maintains "one China" policy and its attitude toward the cross-strait relation have not changed in the daily press briefing on Oct 25.

"The words the secretary used accurately reflect our longstanding policy on Taiwan's status. And so, frankly, I think we are today where we were yesterday," State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli said, according to the transcript released by the State Department.

"The policy has not changed. One element of our policy has been to favor a peaceful resolution of the cross-strait issue through dialogue and through a resolution that is acceptable to both sides," Ereli answered when asked about Powell's use of the word "reunification." Ereli then said that Powell's remarks about Taiwan not enjoying sovereignty as an "objective statement of fact." Powell's mention of unification and Taiwan's "non-sovereign" status also touched quite a few nerves in Taiwan, and lawmakers kept pressing the issue when questioning Chen and the premier yesterday.

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