The US government considers Taiwan an important partner and is committed to a long-standing relationship with it, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman Raymond Burghardt said on Wednesday.
Despite their unofficial nature, relations have been moving forward in a very healthy and productive way, Burghardt said during a discussion of US-Taiwan ties held by the US-China Policy Foundation in Washington.
“Over the last four years, the [US President Barack] Obama administration has made a very deliberate effort to deal with Taiwan as an important partner in its own right, not simply as an issue in our relations with Beijing,” Burghardt said.
“We’ve also made an effort to treat Taiwan with dignity,” he said.
He said there has been a significant increase in policy-level bilateral links, including regular consultations by civil and military representatives and visits to Taiwan by high-ranking US officials. The US government has routinely briefed Taiwan on its meetings with China, while Taipei has kept Washington informed of its dialogue with Beijing, he said.
He said the US values the progress that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration has made in stabilizing cross-strait relations.
“We see that stability as in our interests as well as in Taiwan’s. The restoration of direct cross-strait communication has obviously helped to minimize the possibilities for miscalculation and misunderstanding,” he said.
Washington respects Ma’s conviction that Taiwan must conduct its negotiations with China from a position of confidence based on an ability to deter coercion, he said.
Burghardt said US sales of military equipment are only one aspect of its support for Taiwan’s security, alongside training, information sharing and other cooperation.
“We will continue to stand by the commitment we made to Taiwan 34 years ago [when diplomatic ties were cut],” he said.
He said the construction of a new AIT building in Taipei is “an important symbol of our commitment to a long-standing relationship with Taiwan.”