A well-known China expert said on Thursday that he sees only a "change in style" in US policy toward Taiwan following President George W. Bush's visit to China last month.
Andrew Nathan, a professor of political science at Columbia University, noted that Bush did not mention the three communiques between the US and China regarding their bilateral relationship while he was in Beijing for a visit in February. The three communiques also deal with the positions of the two countries on the knotty issue of Taiwan.
Speaking at a round-table discussion assessing the US president's trip to Asia, Nathan noted that Bush instead stressed the importance of a "peaceful resolution" of the Taiwan issue.
Bush did refer to the Taiwan Relations Act while in Beijing, explaining that the act requires the US to come to Taiwan's defense if attacked.
Nathan said that Bush's explanation of the act "was false," pointing out that the act does not require the US to do such a thing and that it is not a question of interpretation.
The Columbia University professor said Bush's explanation does not represent a change in US policy toward Taiwan, but instead shows only Bush's "style of saying things in a way he considers to be plainer than other people have said them, or maybe his inability to remember more complicated formulations."