The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday welcomed the White House’s statement that Taiwan is not a bargaining chip in its dealings with China, while the Presidential Office reiterated the government’s policy of establishing friendly relationships with the international community, including the US.
Speaking at a routine news conference at the ministry yesterday morning, Department of North American Affairs Deputy Director-General Hsu You-tien (徐佑典) said the ministry was happy to see the White House affirm Taiwan as a “close partner” of the US.
“The ministry welcomes the US statement, which affirms the partnership between the US and Taiwan. Forming concrete relations with Washington has always been a primary goal of the ministry,” Hsu said.
Photo: Lu I-hsuan, Taipei Times
Hsu also expressed appreciation for US President Barack Obama’s administration for underscoring the value and importance of the two countries’ partnership on different levels.
He was responding to remarks by White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Monday that “Taiwan is not a source of leverage, it’s a close partner of the United States,” while warning that disrupting the US’ long-standing “one China” policy could “have a disruptive effect on our ability to work with China where our interests align.”
Earnest’s comments came days after US president-elect Donald Trump questioned the necessity of Washington being bound by the “one China” policy in an interview with Fox News Sunday.
Asked about the possible development of future Taiwan-US ties, Hsu said all ongoing discussion on policy is hypothetical and “Taiwan will be attentive, but not panicked” over the discussions, adding that the ministry would continue to talk with Trump’s transition team and define Taipei’s expectations on bilateral relations.
The ministry’s attention is focused on whether the US intends to uphold the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and the “six assurances,” Hsu said.
However, the ministry could not define for the US what connotations are included under the “one China” policy, he said.
The “six assurances” refer to the guidelines announced by then-US president Ronald Reagan to Taiwan in 1982 that the US would not set a date for ending arms sales to Taiwan; would not consult Beijing on arms sales to Taiwan; would not pressure Taiwan to negotiate with China; would not change its position on Taiwanese sovereignty; would not revise the TRA; and would not mediate between Taipei and Beijing.
Meanwhile, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) declined to “comment on various remarks [on the US’] foreign policy.”
“Taiwan’s foreign policy is clear: We intend to build solid and sustainable relations with the international community, including the US, and in turn allow Taiwan to play a more active role and make more contributions to global society,” he said.
Huang also reiterated the government’s commitment to maintaining good cross-strait relations while upholding the three core interests of the nation — maintaining a free and democratic nation, actively participating in the international community and maintaining regional peace and stability — which would not be affected by changes in the international environment.
Separately, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said that what is important is not the “one China” principle as dictated by China, but the TRA which regulates Taiwan-US interaction.
In contrast with the “one China” policy, which acknowledges that there might only be one state called China and hopes for a peaceful resolution, the “one China” principle states that both Taiwan and China are inalienable parts of a single “China,” with no mention of a method of resolution.
The “one China” policy is not only unfair to Taiwan, but is also a policy that imposes limitations on the US, he said.
Lo said he did not expect Trump to use Taiwan as a bargaining chip and any policy right now is not indicative of the Trump administration’s actions after he is inaugurated.
China will not make a substantial response until the Trump administration challenges the “one China” policy next year, Lo added.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus Deputy Secretary-General Lee Yan-hsiu (李彥秀) said that Trump’s statements show that he is a businessman first, cautioning President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) not to dwell on the one telephone call between the two on Dec.2.
Additional reporting by CNA
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