Thu, Jul 01, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Constitution concerns US: official

APPOINTEE The new deputy representative to the US says that revising the Constitution is something that worries Uncle Sam, but relations are going better now


The issue in Taiwan relations that most concerns the US now is constitutional reform, the newly appointed deputy representative to the US, Joanne Chang (裘兆琳), said yesterday. Chang also said that it is necessary to work to improve communication channels between the two countries in order to improve the quality of the bilateral relationship.

Chang also said that in a meeting with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Chen had promised that he would put into practice the proposals he made in his inauguration speech.

Chang made the statements during a forum on relations among Taiwan, the US and China in the Legislative Yuan yesterday. The forum was hosted by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水).

"Taiwan's future diplomatic efforts regarding the US must focus on the improvement of communications between the two sides, and re-establishment of mutual trust," Chang said.

"The US is most concerned about how Taiwan will go about constitutional reform. To improve Taiwan-US relations, Taiwan has to assure the US that certain sensitive issues will not come up in the reform process," Chang said.

"More importantly, we have to keep the faith and be patient in order to improve economic, military and political relations between Taiwan and the US," she said.

Chang also said that while the US had regained faith in Taiwan when Chen gave his inauguration address, China still remained skeptical about Chen's true intentions. However, Chang said, improvement of cross-strait relations depends on whether Taiwan and China can manage to find common ground in spite of their vast differences -- which is difficult because of China's attempts to isolate Taiwan and pressure the nation it to unify with China, which only pushes Taiwan further away.

"In the past, relations among Taiwan, the US and China were usually decided on only by the US and China, but since Taiwan's people directly elected their own president in 2000 and 2004, Taiwanese people have been telling the US and China that they are not willing to give up their right to play a part in trilateral affairs," Chang said.

"Meanwhile, China's Taiwan policies, with the repetition of threats, have failed. Taiwan's election results have illustrated this failure. And the more China tries to isolate Taiwan from international society, the more Taiwan turns away from China," Chang said.

As a result, China may have changed and softened its attitude toward the nation, Chang said.

"China has adjusted its position, but there is still a line in the sand that Taiwan cannot cross," Chang said when asked whether the May 17 statement issued by China's Office of Taiwan Affairs was a sign of softening.

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