Calling for a review and the eventual normalization of Taiwan-US relations, former deputy secretary-general of the National Security Council Parris Chang (張旭成) yesterday said that one of the faults of the US’ pivot to Asia is its “failure to recognize the strategic importance of Taiwan.”
Chang, at a symposium in Taipei yesterday, said that the US Congress passed a concurrent resolution saying that the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and the “six assurances” are the cornerstones of Taiwan-US relations.
“The congress did it because it was not happy that the [US President Barack] Obama administration did not faithfully carry out the TRA,” he said.
Chang said that as a new US president will be in office next year and is likely to put forward a new foreign policy, “it is time to review and work on the normalization of US-Taiwan relations.”
When then-US president Bill Clinton ordered a review of Taiwan-US relations 22 years ago, the “then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime seemed unprepared for the move and did not make a substantial input into the Taiwan Policy Review,” Chang said, adding that the review only changed Taiwan’s unofficial diplomatic mission in the US’ name from the Coordination Council of North American Affairs to the Taipei Economic Cultural Representative Office.
However, it was “a very bad deal” for Taiwan, as in return, the Clinton administration announced that “henceforth the US will not support Taiwan’s membership in international organizations that require statehood,” he said.
Chang said that policy decision “clearly contradicts and violates the TRA,” which stipulates that “nothing in this act may be construed as a basis for supporting the exclusion or expulsion of Taiwan from continuing membership in any international financial institutions or any other international organization.”
“Few people know about this clause, but our Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee (李大維) knows it well. He referred to this provision in his doctoral dissertation,” Chang said. “From now on our diplomatic tactics when facing the US should include constantly reminding them that they would be running afoul of their own laws if they do not support Taiwan’s participation in international organizations.”
“The TRA specifically mandates the US ‘to provide Taiwan with arms of defensive character,’” but for fear of irritating Beijing, “the US has rejected Taipei’s repeated requests for submarines and advanced fighters, even the balance of military forces in the Taiwan Strait has tilted toward China, as Pentagon reports have warned over the past decade,” he said.
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