Sat, Jun 16, 2007 - Page 3 News List

US official anticipating closer ties with Taiwan

MODERATION Raymond Burghardt urged all presidential candidates to be prudent in their remarks and actions before next year's polls

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan's presidential election next year could bring improved relations with China, regardless of who is victorious, a top US official on Taiwan affairs said in Taipei yesterday.

Raymond Burghardt, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Institute in Taiwan, made the remarks at a meeting with local and international press in Taipei yesterday.

He also urged the presidential candidates to be prudent in making statements and in their actions before next year's polls.

"There are still 11 months before the inauguration and it is important for everyone involved, both in Taiwan and friends of Taiwan like the US to be careful not to make statements or take actions which might make it more difficult for the new president to carry out his responsibilities, to advance the interests of the people of Taiwan and to protect the security of Taiwan," said Burghardt who arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday for a visit.

confident

No matter who wins the election, the US is confident that US-Taiwan relations will be in good hands he said.

In response to concerns expressed by President Chen Shui-Bian (陳水扁) on Wednesday over the US' commitment to the "six assurances," Burghardt said the assurances have never been published or released in any official documents by the US Government but the US' view on UN membership concerning Taiwan was the same in 1982 as it is today.

The "six assurances" refer to the pledge made in 1982 by late US president Ronald Reagan in which he promised that the US would not set a date for termination of arms sales to Taiwan; alter the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act [TRA]; consult with China in advance before making decisions about US arms sales to Taiwan; mediate between Taiwan and China; alter its position about the sovereignty of Taiwan, which was to be decided peacefully by the people of Taiwan themselves, or pressure Taiwan to enter into negotiations with China; or formally recognize Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.

opposing exclusion

The US does not support Taiwan's membership of organizations that require statehood or sovereignty but also opposes the exclusion of Taiwan from all international organizations, Burghardt said yesterday.

When asked whether the US would request Taiwan's new president continue with Chen's "four noes" pledge, Burghardt, while saying that it is inappropriate for a country's representative to "dictate" what Taiwan's leader should do or say, said that he approved the effectiveness of the pledge which had maintained cross-strait stability.

Burghardt also disagreed with his predecessor Therese Shaheen's opinion in a piece published on Thursday in the Asia Wall Street Journal that there is very little transparency between the US and Taiwan and that the ranking of the officials for mutual visits is not high enough.

Shaheen in the article proposed US President George W. Bush assign a special envoy to Taiwan to amend the situation.

Burghardt yesterday said communications between Taiwan and the US are smooth and frequent and added that he did not think Bush would think it necessary to send a special envoy to Taiwan.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY REUTERS

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