Sat, Aug 15, 2015 - Page 3 News List

US reaffirms Taiwan ties as China’s Zhang visits

Staff writer, with CNA

The US on Thursday reiterated its obligations stipulated in the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and its commitment to ensure that Taiwan has the ability to defend itself and be free from coercion or intimidation.

US Department of State spokesman John Kirby made the remarks in a daily press briefing after being asked about the status of the US security commitment to Taiwan.

A meeting between China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel in the US that same day drew media attention, as Taiwan is set to hold a presidential election in January next year and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is scheduled to visit the US next month.

Kirby declined to comment on whether the Taiwanese election was among the topics being discussed.

However, he gave a straight “no” when asked if it is time for the US to review its policy on Taiwan and if there have been any discussions at the Department of State regarding that.

Kirby was also asked if he shared the observation espoused in a recent article published in The Diplomat magazine that says: “US defense planners cannot help but wonder if the DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] will seek to entrap the United States in a cross-Taiwan Strait crisis in an effort to achieve its dreams of independence from China.”

DPP presidential candidate and Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is leading Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) in opinion polls.

The Diplomat said that Tsai “has done little to assuage such fears.”

On the cross-strait issue, Kirby said: “We remain committed to fulfilling our responsibilities under the Taiwan Relations Act.”

“Key priorities with Taiwan include ensuring it has the ability to defend itself, and remains free from coercion or intimidation. When free from coercion, Taiwan has increasingly engaged China with confidence. That’s our position on it,” Kirby said.

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