Sat, Sep 28, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan reportedly not on agenda of Kerry-Wang meet

NOT EASY TO DIGEST?A breakfast meeting in New York City focused on other issues, although Taiwan did come up in previous meetings in recent days

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in WASHINGTON

US Secretary of State John Kerry held a one-hour breakfast meeting with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) on Thursday in New York, discussing issues that included the South China Sea and human rights.

During a briefing given later by a senior US Department of State official, Taiwan was not mentioned.

On the South China Sea, the official said that Kerry underscored the US view that it was very important for all claimants to be consistent with international law.

Kerry also reaffirmed the US’ position that conduct in disputed areas must be “careful and without intimidation.”

Kerry strongly urged that only “diplomatic and peaceful means” be used to address areas of difference, the official said.

“This was not a negotiating session, this was a strategy session,” the official said.

Both Wang and Kerry were in New York for the UN General Assembly.

Sources have told the Taipei Times that during private meetings over the last few days, Wang has discussed arms sales to Taiwan with Pentagon officials and with Kerry.

This follows a lengthy speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington last week when Wang said that the Asia-Pacific region was not only the world’s fastest-growing and most promising region, it was also home to “most of the hotspot issues.”

He also said that the US must respect China’s interests and concerns.

“The ‘Taiwan question’ concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Wang said. “Gradual integration of the two sides through two-way interactions and cooperation will lead to ultimate reunification. This is a historical trend that no one can stop.”

Wang said that for many years, the “Taiwan question” has been a liability in China-US relations that has undermined mutual trust as well as disrupting cooperation.

“However, if the United States can go along with the prevailing trend of peaceful development of cross-strait relations and genuinely appreciate and respect China’s efforts to oppose separation and achieve peaceful reunification, the issue — once a liability and negative factor in our relationship — will be turned into an asset and a positive factor, providing guarantee to the long-term, steady growth of China-US relations and opening [the] prospect for all-round cooperation,” the minister said.

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