Wed, Jan 26, 2011 - Page 1 News List

US kept Taiwan in mind during Hu trip: Burghardt

NEW GROUND:The American Institute in Taiwan head said that the US stuck by the Taiwan Relations Act when President Barack Obama held talks with China’s Hu Jintao

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

In response to a question on comments made by US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that sparked discussions on whether the US would change its Taiwan policy if the cross-strait security environment changed, Burghardt said Gates was talking about something “way, way in the future.”

China has an offensive military posture against Taiwan that has a number of components, which are “certainly not limited to missiles but including other weapons ... cyber warfare ... Taiwan as an espionage target and the ‘Anti-Secession’ Law as a kind of legal framework for offensive posture,” Burghardt said.

“In response [to that posture], Taiwan has a defensive military posture to defend itself ... Maybe that situation will someday change,” he said.

“If it does change, Taiwan could come to the US and say ... we need more of this and that. Because we listen to Taiwan and because our decision about defense aid to Taiwan is based on Taiwan’s perception of its needs, then we will talk about that,” Burghardt said.

Obama told China that Washington had a commitment to Taiwan and reaffirmed that the US would abide by the Taiwan Relations Act, he said.

The position held by Ma that Taiwan needs military strength so that it can negotiate with Beijing in a position of confidence “makes sense,” Burghardt said. “We respect that view of the Taiwan authority. We have repeated it to Beijing.”

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