Schriver said that when he served in the administration of former US president George W. Bush, he would have confirmed — “and did so on many occasions” — that the assurances were part of Washington’s policy.
Rubio said Russel’s answers to questions about the “six assurances” could be misinterpreted by China as an opening for a change in US posture toward Taiwan and that he was “very concerned.”
“I hope that we can bring some clarity to this over the next few days,” he said. “I intend to ask the question in writing of the Secretary of State to get clear assurances that the six assurances remain the cornerstone of our policy.”
The hearing, called to evaluate US policy on Taiwan on the 35th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, also heard about the ongoing protests in Taipei.
Asked for an update on how the Obama administration views the protests, Russel said the situation was evidence that Taiwan had a robust democracy with a high tolerance for divergent political views.
“The US hopes that the students and demonstrators will use their freedom responsibly and will behave in a civil and peaceful manner and avoid violence,” Russel said.
“But it is a reflection of a very open society in which debate is not only allowed, but encouraged. We believe strongly that the pace and scope of movement in cross-strait discussions is one that must be in accord with the comfort level of the wishes of the people on both sides of the strait,” he added.
Schriver said that the demonstrations reflected public opinion on the cross-strait relationship.
“What is really at the core of the protest is a very deep-seated anxiety about the future of the cross-strait relationship and what that might mean for Taiwan’s status,” he said. “There is great anxiety about where things are going and that could put a break on future cross-strait progress.”