Sun, Jun 07, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Tsai completes DC visit, US says policy still same

UNPRECEDENTED?The DPP chairperson’s words were said to have reassured US Senator John McCain, while an unnamed official said others were ‘impressed’

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in WASHINGTON

There were some suggestions that Tsai avoided questions about the so-called “1992 consensus,” but Heritage Foundation Asian Studies Center Director Walter Lohman said she was “wise” to carefully construct her words on that subject.

“Saying that she wants to maintain the ‘status quo’ across the Taiwan Strait says everything,” he said.

“Everyone understands what ‘status quo’ means and that means more than if she uses the words ‘[19]92 consensus,’” Lohman added.

The “1992 consensus” refers to a supposed understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party that Taiwan and China acknowledge “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “one China” means.

Lohman said that the US is most interested in how Tsai would deal with cross-strait relations, and “she delivered well on that” and left the US with confidence that she could “handle” the situation.

“I was very much reassured,” he said. “She is not going to change Taiwan’s current status as recognized in the world, she is not going to push for some kind of de jure recognition of Taiwan’s independence.”

Senior political adviser to the Formosan Association for Public Affairs Gerrit van der Wees said the warm reception Tsai received in Washington was evidence of a “sea change in the attitudes” toward Taiwan of the administration of US President Barack Obama.

“There was a much more positive and inclusive stance toward her and the DPP than ever before,” he said.

“There was a much greater willingness to listen to her views and vision and less of a tendency to cling to preconceived notions,” Van der Wees added.

He said the change was partly due to a major change in the political landscape in Taiwan, but also partly due to developments in the South China Sea, where Beijing has been asserting disputed claims.

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