US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that following his substantive meetings in Beijing this week, which included talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), he did not anticipate any change in US policies toward Taiwan.
At a roundtable meeting with US reporters in Beijing, Gates said he was completing a “very positive visit” that had been “superior to any previous visit that I have had here in China.”
The three-day visit, which ended yesterday, was aimed at improving US-China military links in advance of Hu’s state visit to Washington next week.
In a transcript of a media roundtable provided by the Pentagon, Gates was asked if the US might change its policy on Taiwan in order to help the US-China relationship.
He replied: “I suppose that one of the virtues of age is that I was actually in the White House when normalization [of diplomatic relations with China] took place. So I know something about the details of this. And I have made clear when this subject has been raised that, first of all, we do have a ‘one China’ policy. We do consider the relationship to be based on the Three Joint Communiques [and] I always add — ‘and the Taiwan Relations Act,’” Gates said.
“Again, this is not policy. This is law. We do not support independence for Taiwan, but at the same time we have certain obligations under that law,” he said.
“Under [former US] president [George W.] Bush and [US] President [Barack] Obama, we have been certainly cognizant of Chinese sensitivities. And I believe that the decisions that have been made have focused on defensive capabilities,” Gates said.
“And certainly, over time, if the security environment changes, I also indicated to the Chinese that we would, we are not going to change our policy, but clearly over time if the environment changed and if the relationship between China and Taiwan continued to improve and the security -environment for Taiwan changed, then perhaps that would create the conditions for re-examining all of this,” he said.
“But that would be an evolutionary and a long-term process, it seems to me. I don’t think that’s anything that’s going to happen anytime soon,” he said.
Gates was pressed on how US policy could “evolve” and how the US could avoid military-to-military relations with China being damaged following the next arms sale to Taiwan.
“One of the comments that was made by the Chinese yesterday was that certainly the mechanisms that we have — the maritime consultative mechanism, the defense consultative talks and so on — would continue without interruption,” he said.
Gates expressed confidence that even following future Taiwan arms sales, the military-to-military relationship with China would continue to function.
Asked if he had received any indication that China was willing to cut the number of missiles it targets at Taiwan or take action to further improve the security situation, Gates said: “No, but I did reinforce our support for improving cross-strait relationships. We would very much like to see that continue.”
Pressing Gates on his comments on Taiwan policy “evolving,” reporters asked: “Is this a small shift in the US approach to the issue, at least in how you communicate the US stance?”
“No,” Gates said. “I don’t think so. I’m not trying to imply any change in US policy whatsoever.”
NPP WARNING: The NPP’s chairman said that a security law proposed by Beijing means it has renounced its promise to maintain ‘one country, two systems’ in HK The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) yesterday proposed changing the law to provide protection for those seeking political asylum. China at the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Thursday introduced a draft security law for Hong Kong to ban treason, subversion and sedition, with a review expected next week. TPP caucus whip Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said that the party is concerned about democracy advocates in Hong Kong and has taken action to support them. The party has proposed an amendment to Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例), which stipulates that the government can offer
The number of people from Hong Kong applying for residency in Taiwan last year rose 41 percent from a year earlier to 5,858, National Immigration Agency statistics showed. The statistics also showed that 600 applications were filed by Hong Kong residents in the first quarter of this year — three times the number filed in the same period last year — with applicants apparently not deterred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just one day after it was reported that the Chinese government plans to enact new national security laws in Hong Kong, inquiries regarding immigration to Taiwan grew 10-fold, a Hong Kong-based immigration
‘BEGINNING OF THE END’: Democracy advocate Joshua Wong urged Hong Kongers to stand up and fight, and let the Chinese government know that they will not cave Hong Kong protesters yesterday battled with riot police in busy downtown areas, showing their opposition toward China’s dramatic move to crack down on dissent in the biggest demonstration since the coronavirus swept through the territory in January. Police deployed a water cannon and fired tear gas in the Causeway Bay shopping area after hundreds of protesters had gathered to oppose new national security legislation from China. Police warned the crowd they were taking part in an illegal gathering, and later said in a statement that “rioters threw umbrellas, water bottles and other objects at them.” At least 120 people were arrested,
‘TAIWAN IS SAFE’: As there have been no new local cases for 42 days, people should feel free to travel around the nation — as long as they follow disease prevention rules No new cases of COVID-19 were reported yesterday and only 20 of the people hospitalized after testing positive are still being treated in hospitals, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday in Pingtung County’s Kenting (墾丁) as he promoted a “new disease prevention lifestyle” for the nation. As yesterday was the 42nd consecutive day with no new domestic cases, and experts consider 28 consecutive days with no domestic case — the span of two incubation periods — a sign that a community is relatively safe, Taiwan is safe, said Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC),