US Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the frontrunner in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, said on Thursday that she was in favor of maintaining Washington's policy of "ambiguity" over whether the US would come to Taiwan's aid in the event of a cross-strait conflict, a report on the Financial Times' (FT) Web site said yesterday.
The senator, the wife of former US president Bill Clinton, made the remarks in response to Carnegie Endowment for International Peace China expert Michael Swaine, who said the senator had previously doubted whether Washington would come to Taiwan's defense, the report said.
The Taiwan Relations Act requires the US to help Taiwan provide for its own defense by selling it defensive weapons and states that the US would treat any attack on Taiwan as a matter of grave concern.
According to the report, in a video interview posted on the Web site of Foreign Policy magazine, Swaine said, "I talked to Hillary Clinton a couple of years ago ... She said `oh, the United States government, the people of the United States would never go to war over Taiwan."
Philippe Reines, the senator's spokesman, denied Swaine's claim, saying that the video did not accurately reflect her position, the FT wrote.
"Senator Clinton has been a clear and consistent supporter of the longstanding US policy of strategic ambiguity regarding the US response to a military conflict between Taiwan and China," he said.
Michael Green, a former Asia adviser to US President George W. Bush, told the FT, said he doubted that the senator had advocated the position outlined by Swaine.
"If any candidate said they would not stand by the Taiwan Relations Act, it would be a major change of policy, and a major retreat in the face of an enormous Chinese arms build up," the newspaper quoted Green as saying.