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

What we said is that we favor a dialogue between the two sides, but the pace, scope and manner of that dialogue should be up to the people on both sides of the [Taiwan] Strait to determine. The dialogue should take place in a way that recognizes the dignity of both sides.

Finally, we oppose unilateral actions taken by either side that would change the “status quo.”

Question: With Taiwan’s new administration soon to be inaugurated, what would you do to enhance relations between Taiwan and the US? What is your priority?

Moy: Overall, the relationship is very solid right now. I would say — and many in Washington would say — that we are probably in the best state of our relations since they began. So, we are really confident that we are going to have solid relationships with president-elect Tsai and her administration.

One of the reasons why the relationships have really improved is that both sides agree we should continue with what we called the “no-surprises” approach and we should have as frequent and clear communications as possible.

For example, I think, in the economic and trade area, this is one area the US would like to see progress. To be even more specific, our trade and investment framework — what we call the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement — will be a great example of an area we made progress in that would have concrete benefits for the people from both sides. We are hoping to have more discussions this year, and from what it sounds like, Dr Tsai has been [advocating these] publicly. We hope to take the advantage of this opportunity, in this one area where we can see again mutual benefits we should be striving for.

That is just one example, but we have shared interests and shared values with Taiwan. So, I can imagine we have got shared interests in democracy, freedom of press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, rules of law. All of these [plus] shared interests in the open market and shared prosperity as well as a shared interest in Taiwan’s security. So, I think there are plenty of areas we can continue to strengthen under the relationship.

Question: Will the US adopt a bigger perspective, or a strategic perspective to look at the whole situation with respect to Taiwan’s intention to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), instead of focusing on minor details such as lifting the ban on US pork imports?

Moy: Before I get into the substance of your question, we have to take a step back on where we are on the TPP. I think there is an important point here. As you may well know that the 12 parties of the TPP came to an agreement on language a short time ago [in October last year]. The agreement itself has not been published. Our priority in the US government is trying to get this to pass our Congress. So, I think, for us, it’s hard to speculate on possible TPP expansion before we take steps again in the Congress. That said, we have long been of the opinion that we welcome Taiwan’s interest in TPP. We think as my colleague, [US] Assistance Secretary of State Daniel Russel, has said in the past that we think it [Taiwan] is a good candidate.

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