The Associated Press (AP) on Friday issued a clarification responding to the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s criticism of a report by the news agency which said that US President Barack Obama reiterated his “support for a ‘one China’ policy that regards Taiwan as part of China” to Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) at a joint press conference during the APEC summit in Beijing, with the media outlet saying that Washington’s policy is “more nuanced and intentionally ambiguous” than that.
The AP report in question was published on Wednesday under the title: “Obama, Xi seek to downplay persistent tensions,” and said that the US president had “reaffirmed his support for a ‘one China’ policy that regards Taiwan as part of China” in a “nod to China’s sovereignty.”
The wording used in the article is arguably a paraphrasing of what Obama said about Taiwan at the press conference, which according to a transcript provided by the White House was: “I reaffirmed my strong commitment to our one-China policy based on the Three Joint Communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act.”
Since the change made to Obama’s statement in the AP article would appear to represent a change to US policy, given that Washington has long been careful to express that it “acknowledges” rather than “supports” Beijing’s sovereignty claims over Taiwan, the ministry told the Taipei Times on Thursday that it “sternly expressed our position” to the news agency over the report.
Meanwhile, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) spokesperson Mark Zimmer confirmed to the Taipei Times that “nothing has changed about our [the US’] Taiwan policy” and that Washington remains committed to its “one China” policy based on the US-China Three Joint Communiques and the US’ Taiwan Relations Act.
In Friday’s clarification, the AP said that the US’ Taiwan policy is more intricate and purposefully vague than what the report may have suggested, adding that “under these declarations and law [the communiques and the act], the United States has considered Taiwan’s status as unsettled.”
“The US acknowledges China’s view that Taiwan is part of its territory, but it does not explicitly recognize China’s sovereignty over Taiwan, nor does it recognize Taiwan as a sovereign country,” it added.