Fri, Nov 14, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Ministry criticizes Obama misquote

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said it has “sternly expressed our position” to The Associated Press (AP) for its report alleging that US President Barack Obama had “reaffirmed his support for a ‘one China’ policy that regards Taiwan as part of China” to Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) during a joint press conference held at the APEC summit in Beijing.

As phrased by the report, Obama’s statement would appear to be a change to US policy, given that the US government has long been careful to note that it “acknowledges” Beijing’s sovereignty claims over Taiwan.

Ministry spokesperson Anna Kao (高安) said the ministry has “expressed its position sternly” to AP and “attached the official transcript from the White House for its reference.”

The AP report titled “Obama, Xi seek to downplay persistent tensions,” said the US president “reaffirmed his support for a ‘one China’ policy that regards Taiwan as part of China” in a “nod to China’s sovereignty.”

The transcript provided by the White House shows that Obama’s quote was: “I reaffirmed my strong commitment to our one-China policy based on the Three Joint Communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act.”

A New York Times report on the joint press conference lumped Taiwan and Tibet issues in the same paragraph, saying that Obama has “[reaffirmed]... that the United States does not recognize a separate Taiwan or Tibet.”

American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) spokesperson Mark Zimmer told the Taipei Times that he would not “characterize the coverage generated by any media company.”

“Nothing has changed about our Taiwan policy,” he said.

“We remain committed to our ‘one China’ policy based on the [US-China] Three Joint Communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act,” Zimmer said.

The ministry said Taiwan and the US had “ongoing, stable and intimate cooperation in politics, economy and security,” adding that Obama clearly referred to the Taiwan Relations Act during the news conference and reiterated that the US “[encourages] further progress by both sides of the Taiwan Strait towards building ties, reducing tensions and promoting stability on the basis of dignity and respect.”

Obama’s comments show that the US “places great emphasis on peace in the Taiwan Strait and US-Taiwan relations” and “approves of Taiwan’s effort in improving the cross-strait relationship,” the ministry said.

Meanwhile, a report from Xinhua news agency on the meeting between Obama and Xi quoted Obama as saying that there has been no change to the US stance on Taiwan and the US “does not support Taiwan independence.”

The report and the direct quote were cited by the Central News Agency (CNA) on Wednesday.

When asked about the quote, which was nowhere to be found in the transcript of the news conference, CNA told the Taipei Times that Xinhua’s report was about the closed-door meeting between the two leaders.

“The meeting content was reported by both Xinhua, China’s official media outlet, and the White House,” it said.

“We have run reports for both out of objectivity and impartiality,” it added.

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