Sun, Mar 16, 2014 - Page 1 News List

No extra cost for F-16 refit: US official

‘ROBUST PACE’:The US is committed to Taiwan’s F-16 refit, the US deputy secretary of state for East Asia said, amid criticism that the US is pandering to China’s whims

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in Washington

“The US-Taiwan relationship, though unofficial, has never been stronger than it is today,” Moy said.

Pressed hard by committee members on whether the Obama administration wanted Taiwan in the TPP, Moy said it was too early to make hard decisions.

He refused to go further than to say that the administration welcomed Taiwan’s interest and would continue to take TPP negotiations “one step at a time.”

The hearing turned testy at times, with committee members giving Moy a hard time, cutting short his answers to questions and peppering him with implied criticism of the Obama administration.

Relations between the US and Taiwan were at a “critical juncture,” Republican and former chairman of the committee Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said.

She said there had been a “feeble response” by the US Department of State to Chinese aggression and the people of Taiwan had every reason to fear and worry about the future of their country, and question both the resolve and commitment of the US.

“It’s tragic,” she said. “There’s no better time to reaffirm, to clarify and to strengthen relations with our democratic ally and strong friend Taiwan.”

Yet, instead of recommitting to Taiwan, Ros-Lehtinen said, the US Department of State was doing everything it could not to provoke China.

“That seems to be our policy with Taiwan — don’t provoke China,” she said.

She asked what the Obama administration’s policy toward Taiwan really was, “other than ‘don’t make China mad.’”

Moy said the Taiwan policy was not founded on “don’t make China mad” and that the US had a strong record of support for Taiwan.

Democrat Brad Sherman raised the issue of the incarceration of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and said: “One indication that a democracy is not working well is when a former president is in jail.”

Moy said the Obama administration believed that Chen’s trial had been fair and transparent, adding that the US wanted Taiwan to review Chen’s medical condition, but that there was no specific US policy on Chen.

Republican Steve Chabot said Chen had been in jail for about five years and that his health had deteriorated so much that medical parole was now the logical conclusion for what should be done.

He asked Moy if the US administration had a policy on Chen.

“We have confidence in Taiwan’s fairness and impartiality,” Moy said.

Closing the hearing, Royce said: “There is tremendous bipartisan support for Taiwan... It is my sincere hope that the administration will take a more proactive stance on Taiwan,” he added.

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