Sun, Jul 24, 2016 - Page 3 News List

US urges Taiwan-China communications

CONCISE:Washington believes that clear, direct and consistent communication supports the development of relations across the Taiwan Strait, a US official said

Staff writer, with CNA, WASHINGTON

The US on Thursday urged Taiwan and China to keep channels of communication open after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed hope in a Washington Post interview that China would show more flexibility in dealing with cross-strait relations.

“The United States has a deep and abiding interest in cross-strait stability. We welcome steps by both sides of the Taiwan Strait to reduce tensions and improve cross-strait relations,” US Department of State East Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau spokesperson Grace Choi said.

“We urge both sides to keep channels of communication open,” Choi said via e-mail.

In her interview with the Post, Tsai said that she hopes Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) would show more flexibility in dealing with cross-strait relations and “can appreciate that Taiwan is a democratic society in which the leader has to follow the will of the people.”

Tsai also rejected a supposed deadline for Taiwan to accept the so-called “1992 consensus,” saying it is not likely that the government would accept a deadline “for conditions that are against the will of the people.”

The consensus, which Tsai’s independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party has not accepted, refers to a tacit agreement reached in 1992 between the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait agree there is only “one China,” but each side is free to interpret what it means.

In her e-mail, Choi said Tsai has “consistently noted her public commitment to maintain the ‘status quo’ and work with Beijing in a flexible and creative way,” and the US believes that “clear, direct and consistent communication supports the continued development of cross-strait relations.”

On the question of whether there is any chance for Taiwan to be included in multilateral mechanisms to deal with South China Sea disputes — as Tsai has urged in her interview with the Post — and what the US could do to help, Choi said the US interest is in ensuring that maritime disputes are resolved peacefully, without coercion and in a manner that is consistent with international law.

“Given the complexity of the various disputes, we support claimants having the ability to avail themselves of all available tools to peacefully and lawfully resolve differences,” she said.

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