Wed, Jan 05, 2011 - Page 3 News List

No surprises expected in Obama-Hu meet: MOFA

GUESSING FOR THE BEST:As US-Taiwan interaction has been guided by open communication, MOFA presumes there will be no surprises during Hu Jintao’s visit to the US

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

The upcoming meeting between the leaders of China and the US in Washington is not expected to render any major surprises over issues relating to Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

US President Barack Obama is set to receive Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) on Jan. 19 for a three-day stay in the US, the first state visit by Hu to the US since Obama took office.

Bruce Linghu (令狐榮達), director-general of the ministry’s Department of North American Affairs, told a press briefing that after Hu concludes his visit in the US, American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond Burghardt will arrive in Taipei to brief President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on his trip.

Because “surprise-free” has been the principle guiding interactions between the US and Taiwan since Ma assumed office, Linghu said “I don’t suppose that there will be [any nasty] surprises [from the Obama-Hu meeting].”

Taipei previously said Hu’s visit to the US “would not impair the interests of Taiwan.”

When asked by reporters to elaborate on “the interests of Taiwan,” Linghu cited US arms sales to Taiwan, which Beijing strongly opposes.

“We believe that the US will cope with the issue in its standard way and take into account our concerns [in its talks with China,]” Linghu said. “The US has been consistent in its position on its arms sale policy, which is even mandatory based on the Taiwan Relations Act ... We hope and believe that the US will uphold its security commitments to Taiwan.”

Taiwanese Representative to the US Jason Yuan (袁健生) said on Sunday in Washington that US officials have recently given him their assurance that they would not allow Hu’s visit to jeopardize US relations with any other country.

It has been an established practice that the US briefs Taiwan before and after high-level exchanges between the US and Chinese leaders or major events concerning the interests of Taiwan, Linghu said.

“Following the preliminary briefing [on Hu’s visit], there will be more detailed briefings. After Hu’s visit, Chairman Burghardt will also brief us,” he said.

Linghu said that he believed Hu’s visit would not lead to another Sino-US communique on Taiwan, but added that he was not sure if there would be a joint statement because the US and China are still negotiating the matter.

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