Tue, Jun 24, 2008 - Page 3 News List

DPP hails Rice's remarks on Taiwan-US relations

INTERNATIONAL SPACE A comment made by the US secretary of state conveyed a message that should set alarms ringing in the Ma administration, the DPP said

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Recent comments by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were aimed at reminding President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration that a close Taiwan-US relationship is indispensable in maintaining regional and cross-strait peace, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

DPP Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said his party hoped the administration would hear the “alarm bells” message that Washington was sending and use it wisely when conducting cross-strait and foreign relations.

“Ms. Rice was reminding the administration that the US is Taiwan’s leverage and buttress,” he said. “A close relationship between Taiwan and the US is essential in protecting Taiwan’s status in the Asia-Pacific region and peace in the Taiwan Strait.”

Cheng made the comments while talking to reporters about comments Rice made in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last Thursday.

Rice said that although the US encourages improvements in the Taiwan-China relationship, she wanted to remind people that the US has a strong relationship with Taiwan and would like to see “Taiwan have real space in the international community.”

Rice was responding to a question on whether the election of Ma had opened an opportunity to improve US-Taiwan relations.

Cheng yesterday said that Ma had been leaning toward China since his inauguration on May 20, causing a change in the region’s delicate strategic balance.

Recent interaction between Taipei and Beijing had apparently led to grave misunderstandings in the international community, Cheng said. Rice’s comments ought to make the Ma administration think about the position it must take as it engages further with China, he said.

Cheng also commented on speculation that National Security Council Secretary-General Su Chi (蘇起) asked the US to delay Taiwan’s military procurement package in order to create a more harmonious cross-strait atmosphere.

Cheng yesterday said that if this were true, it would sound “unbelievable” to the country’s diplomatic allies.

“It is stupid to abandon the country’s defense and diplomatic autonomy and put them on the negotiating table as a bargaining chip simply for the sake of creating a better atmosphere,” he said.

“We hope President Ma’s national security team understands what the mainstream view in the international community is,” Cheng said.

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