Sat, Sep 24, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Armitage tells DPP to work around AIT

STRONGER MESSAGE The former US deputy secretary of state said it was important for Taiwan to have multiple channels of communication with the Bush administration

STAFF WRITER

A former senior US official suggested Taiwan should work to strengthen its communication mechanism with high-ranking US officials, and not rely solely on the American Insititute in Taiwan (AIT) as the medium to convey messages to the US government, according to a Central News Agency (CNA) article yesterday.

That way, Washington can better understand the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government and its efforts to promote such issues as the special arms procurement budget bill, former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage said, according to CNA.

Armitage made the remarks during a meeting with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who was in Miami en route to Latin America. Aside from Armitage, Chen also received visits from a number of former high-ranking US officials during his transit in Miami.

According to the CNA report, Armitage said that part of the reason Taiwan-US relations were not so smooth was because the Bush administration did not know the DPP government nor the party's culture very well.

Because the US government had been dealing with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government in the past, it didn't understand that DPP officials mostly had a history of being activists, and are very different from KMT officials, Armitage was reported as saying during his meeting with Chen.

Given that the current Bush administration group of officials in charge of cross-strait affairs is new, Armitage suggested Taiwanese government officials, including national security staff members, should establish a diverse and frequent coordination system. Dependence on AIT as Taiwan's sole channel of communication would not be very helpful if Taiwan wanted to form closer ties with the US government.

He said that the Bush administration, immediately after taking office, passed the arms procurement case in 2001 in an attempt to stabilize cross-strait relations, because the was concerned about China's attitude toward Taiwan after the DPP administration came to power.

To expedite the passage of the arms procurement package in the Legislative Yuan, moving the items from the special budget into the general budget would be a good way, Armitage said.

Armitage stressed that the DPP government should explain its efforts to promote the arms procurement package to the US government, so that it understands DPP government's intention to maintain a peaceful cross-strait relationship.

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