Home / Local News
Sat, Feb 17, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Interim deal not our purview: US

CROSS-STRAIT NEGOTIATIONS Two former US officials said yesterday that the US should not be directly involved in any interim agreements between Taipei and Beijing

By Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Although pursuing "interim agreements" between Beijing and Taipei could improve stability across the Taiwan Strait, the US should not dictate the specifics of such deals, two former US officials said yesterday.

Reacting to comments made yesterday by President Chen Shui bian (陳水扁), Anthony Lake, a national security advisor to former president Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997, told the Taipei Times that he has long advocated that the US remain distant from interim agreement discussions.

Lake was referring to Chen's high-profile meeting on Thursday with former US state department official Stanley Roth.

Roth is known in Taiwan political circles as the first US official to raise the idea of interim agreements between Beijing and Taipei in remarks he made on the issue in March 1999 in Washington.

Chen said yesterday that he agreed with Roth that any such interim agreement referred to "a concept and a process," adding that both Beijing and Taipei should put aside thornier issues for the time being while seeking to reach consensus on issues that are easier to sort out.

One of Chen's top advisors on foreign affairs, however, told the Taipei Times yesterday that Chen's statement on Thursday was "not meant to endorse the so-called interim agreement" mapped out by Roth.

The agreement Roth spoke of in 1999 drew on earlier ideas by US scholar Kenneth Lieberthal. One version was a deal in which Taiwan would promise not to seek independence and to start unification negotiations after a certain period of time, say 50 years, while China denounces the use of force against Taiwan. Analysts have said the deal's appeal for the US is it might remove a worrying security threat in the region, but a disadvantage for Taiwan is the renunciation of its right to self-determination.

The source added that Chen's statement merely echoed remarks he made on Jan. 1 that emphasized Beijing and Taipei should seek integration in economic and cultural arenas before both sides map out a framework for political integration.

Analysts said yesterday Chen's remarks continue the friendly approach the president has employed with Beijing since his inauguration in May last year.

"Chen's statement expressed our willingness to resume dialogue with China so as to stabilize the situation across the Taiwan Strait," said Lin Bih-jaw (林碧炤), professor of international relations at National Chengchi University.

But whether Beijing will take Chen's comments seriously will depend on Beijing's "interpretation" of Chen's remarks, Lin added.

"I think Beijing will articulate its stance clearly only after the new US administration comes up with its policy platform towards China and Taiwan," said Lin, who was former deputy secretary general of the National Security Council and former deputy secretary-general of the Presidential Office.

The Bush administration has yet to review its China policy, and will take probably three months to complete the review, Lin said.

Echoing Lake's view, former US Representative Stephen Solarz said any initiative on the interim agreements should come not from the US, but from Beijing and Taipei.

"I don't think the Bush administration is going to offer itself as an intermediary between Taiwan and China. But I certainly think the Bush administration would support and encourage Taipei and Beijing to sit down and to begin the process of finding ways to resolve their differences and to generate a greater sense of confidence on both sides of the Taiwan Strait," Solarz said.

This story has been viewed 3937 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top