The government yesterday dismissed concerns over possible changes in the US’ policy on cross-strait relations after a Chinese press release said that US President Barack Obama “rejects” any call for Taiwan’s independence.
The press release, issued on Wednesday in Washington by the Chinese delegation led by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平), China’s likely next leader, appeared to show that the US had changed its wording regarding its stance on Taiwan’s independence from “not support,” to “reject.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was unable to verify whether Obama had changed his wording in response to calls from Xi that the US should “take concrete actions to oppose Taiwanese independence,” but it was confident that Washington had kept its policy stance consistent regarding cross-strait affairs.
Xi, held talks with Obama, US Vice President Joe Biden and US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday.
During the three meetings, the Taiwan issue was brought up by the Chinese side, said Bruce Ling-hu (令狐榮達), director-general of the Department of North American Affairs.
Linghu said that while Washington has not yet briefed Taipei on the content of discussions regarding the Taiwan issue, it was expected that the US had responded to China’s concerns in accordance with the overarching principles that apply to its cross-strait policies.
“We don’t think the US offered any responses that we did not expect,” he said, adding that Taipei received a thorough briefing from Washington prior to Xi’s visit, during which it provided reassurances that it would maintain a consistent Taiwan policy.
According to Xinhua news agency reports, during the Xi-Obama meeting, the US president reiterated his adherence to the “one China” policy based on the three joint communiques.
According to a Xinhua report on Wednesday, Obama told Xi that the US “rejects any calls for Taiwan independence” and added that his country “wants to see the peaceful development of cross-strait relations move forward.”
Xi said the Taiwan issue concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and remains, as always, the most important and most sensitive issue in China-US relations, it reported.
The agency also quoted Xi as saying that Beijing appreciates Washington’s repeated declarations of its commitment to the “one China” policy.
However, the way top US officials responded to Xi on the Taiwan issue was not exactly the same as what was reported by Xinhua, Linghu said.
“We have checked with the US. In response to Xi during the three meetings, the US reiterated its commitments to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act,” Linghu said.