Thu, Jun 07, 2007 - Page 3 News List

James Baker urges retention of `strategic ambiguity'

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA, WASHINGTON

The US should continue its policy of "strategic ambiguity" on the Taiwan issue, former US secretary of state James Baker said on Tuesday.

Since the US switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, Washington has adopted "strategic ambiguity" as its guiding principle in dealing with Taiwan, he said.

Under this policy, Washington will not specify what action it will take on the question of China's possible use of force against Taiwan, while making clear to both sides of the Taiwan Strait that the US expects a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan issue, Baker said.

The Taiwan issue will find its own resolution eventually, and what the US needs to do is to maintain the cross-strait status quo, he said.

He said that as long as the trade and business activities between Taiwan and China continue, cross-strait relations will develop in a positive direction and reach a resolution in the end.

Baker, who served as secretary of state from 1989 to 1992 under former president George Bush, made the remarks in response to a question from a reporter, after delivering a speech on the future of Sino-American relations at a US-China Business Council luncheon in Washington.

Baker's remarks came in the wake of observations made by many US think tanks that US President George W. Bush's cross-strait policy is turning from one of "strategic ambiguity" to one of "strategic clarity."

In a report titled US-China Relations: An Affirmative Agenda, A Responsible Course released in April, the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations suggested that the US continue the policies of "dual restraint" and "dual assurance" toward Taiwan.

These mean "deterring Chinese aggression and opposing Taiwan's steps toward independence while at the same time assuring China that the United States does not seek to perpetuate Taiwan's separation from the mainland [sic] and assuring Taiwan that the United States does not seek to pressure it into negotiating a final resolution," the report said.

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