Representative to the US King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) said on Monday that many of the points he made in an interview with Agence France-Presse (AFP) in New York late last month were “abridged” and that his office would ask the wire service to make the necessary corrections.
The Taipei Times ran the story in last Tuesday’s edition (“Washington envoy interview stresses ‘strategic ambiguity,’” page 3).
King said the “strategic ambiguity” to which AFP referred during the interview did not refer to the trilateral relationship among Taiwan, China and the US, but rather to only the relationship between Taiwan and China.
In a Washington-datelined report earlier in the day titled “Surprise Envoy Protects Taiwan’s ‘Shield’ of Ambiguity,” AFP said that during the interview, King highlighted the importance of the “strategic ambiguity” that Taiwan maintains with China on one side and its protector, the US, on the other.
In a statement, King said his “strategic ambiguity” refers to cross-strait relations, which are handled based on the so-called “1992 consensus” between Taiwan and China, according to which there is only one China, with each side free to interpret what the phrase means.
As to the trilateral ties among Taiwan, China and the US, King said the three parties need to maintain a balanced and stable relationship.
The AFP quoted King as saying: “We need strong support from the United States, but we also need to deal cautiously with China because now it is the No. 1 partner of Taiwan.”
“It is a very strategic ambiguity that we have. It is the best shield we have,” King was quoted as saying.
In his statement, King said he called China Taiwan’s “No. 1 partner” in the sense that China is its principal trade partner and the biggest export market for Taiwanese products.
The envoy, who assumed his post in December last year, went on to explain why he must “use particular caution” when making public statements, owing to his assumed close ties with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
“Because people think that I have a close relationship with President Ma Ying-jeou, what I say could easily be construed as representing President Ma’s ideas,” King said.
He said he did not talk directly about his relations with the president in the interview.
“I was passively responding to questions raised by the interviewers” regarding ties with the president, he added.