Thu, Dec 27, 2012 - Page 1 News List

King grilled on US, sexual orientation

TONGUE LASHING:Lawmakers interrogated the US representative on everything from his knowldege of key players in Washington to his sexual orientation

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters

King insisted in answering in Mandarin because “not everyone in the room understands English.”

King said US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell was likely to leave his position.

Possible candidates to succeed Campbell are Frank Jannuzi, the deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA; Michael Schiffer, former US deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia; and Richard Bush, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and director of its Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, King said.

In response to concerns raised by lawmakers that US Senator John Kerry, who has been nominated to succeed US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, favors a China-friendly policy, King said he believed that Kerry would continue to support Taiwan as long it sticks to its current cross-strait policy.

Although Kerry has more experience in dealing with China than Taiwan, he has been consistent in basing his Taiwan policy on the three communiques signed by the US and Taiwan in 1972 and the US’ Taiwan Relations Act and supporting the provision of defensive weapons to Taiwan, King said.

King said US Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental affairs Rita Lewis is scheduled to visit to Taiwan early next year as part of his office’s efforts to promote visits by senior US officials.

At a press conference yesterday, Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), executive director of the DPP’s Policy Research Committee, said King’s report had “missed the point” and left several critical issues unanswered, such as Taiwan’s handling of the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) dispute.

King did not present his vision on Taiwan-US relations and failed to address US concerns about Taiwan’s seemingly pro-China stance as well as the lack of progress on bilateral trade and security ties, said Wu, who has also served as an envoy to Washington.

While King and Ma have reiterated that Taiwan-US relations are “the best in three decades,” recent developments do not support their claim, Wu said.

The US is concerned about the lack of transparency in cross-strait negotiations and lack of communication between Taipei and Washington on that subject, Wu said.

Washington has also expressed concern through various channels about Taiwan’s position in disputes in the East China and South China Seas that Taipei appears to “have chosen to cooperate with China in challenging Japan and the US-Japan security alliance,” Wu said, adding that Taiwan is standing on the opposite side of the US in the Asia-Pacific strategic landscape.

Ma had also failed to achieve his pledge to spend at least 3 percent of GDP on the military and has yet to submit new arms procurement proposals, he said.

On trade ties, King failed to point out that declining bilateral trade in recent years was due to Taiwan’s closer economic integration with China, Wu said.

Taiwan’s trade with the US accounted for 11.54 percent of its total trade volume in 2008, but only accounted for 10.04 percent this year, he said, adding that US imports from Taiwan fell from 11.28 percent of the total import volume in 2008 to 8.75 percent this year.

“Bilateral trade relations have been idle in the past three years, if you take the suspension of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement negotiations since 2009 into consideration,” Wu said.

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