Mon, Jan 25, 2016 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: AIT director Moy looks forward to working with Tsai

Saying that US-Taiwan relations are probably as strong as they have ever been, in a joint interview with the ‘Taipei Times’ and its sister newspaper the ‘Liberty Times,’ American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Kin Moy on Friday expressed confidence about the prospect of forging strong ties with president-elect Tsai Ing-wen’s administration, while adding that the US encourages Taipei and Beijing to maintain dialogues

American Institute in Taiwan Director Kin Moy smiles during an interview on Friday.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Question: As you know, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has won the election. We have noticed that to stabilize the regional situation, the US has sent envoys to Taipei and Beijing. Will the US take further steps to stabilize the regional situation?

Kin Moy: As you may have read from the announcements of these visits, we often do sent people. In this case, a senior statesman [former US deputy secretary of state Bill Burns] to Taiwan, but also a deputy secretary of state [US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken] to Beijing. These are actually routine kind of visits that we conduct in order to further communicate with the respective capitals.

I think our policy is very clear and you can probably recite it as well as I can. We have a ‘one China’ policy that is set forth in the Three Joint Communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act.

We have long encouraged dialogues between Beijing and Taipei. We believe that in the last few years, there has been increasing engagement between the two sides. I think we feel very comfortable with the election and the way that relationship has been going. To answer your question, I think we are in a good place and one should not [view] these visits as being extraordinary.

I am glad that ambassador Burns came because he was able to express the White House’s perspective, [extend] our own sort of congratulations, and hope for solid relations. That said, I think what ambassador Burns was also able to do was indicate how we hoped to forge stronger relations with Madam Tsai and her administration.

Relatively, it was a fair campaign. Of course campaigns are campaigns, and there are going to be a lot of discussions and a lot of controversial issues, but I thought it was conducted in a manner that we will not find unusual in the US. We are just so impressed with how mature Taiwan’s democracy is. We could not be more impressed with the people and their engagement as well.

Question: Tsai has been advocating the maintenance of the ‘status quo’ across the Taiwan Strait. However, Beijing would continue to exert pressure on her before May 20 and threaten that if she does not accept the so-called “1992 consensus,” there would be consequences. On the other hand, the US regards itself as a rule-setter in the Asia-Pacific region and also demands that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait maintain the ‘status quo.’ How does the US define the ‘status quo’ and what are the rules?

[Editor’s note: The “1992 consensus” refers to a supposed understanding reached during the cross-strait talks in 1992 that both Taiwan and China acknowledge that there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what that means.

Former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su admitted he made up the term “1992 consensus” in 2000, before the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) handed power to the Democratic Progressive Party].

Moy: We do not have a view on the “1992 consensus,” nor do we have a dentition that others should be provided. What we do feel is that the “1992 consensus” has provided a kind of foundation, or a kind of basis, for a discussion that has been going on for the last few years, a basis for a kind of engagement that we feel has improved the environment not just across the [Taiwan] Strait, but in the region.

If you ask people in Washington about the reasons for Asia’s development and ability to thrive over the last few years, many of them would say one of the principal reasons is that there has been a lowering of tension between Taiwan and the PRC [People’s Republic of China]. That has provided an environment that has allowed a lot of discussions about many other issues to take place.

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