Sun, Mar 26, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Medeiros slams Trump over Taiwan

‘ERRATIC’:The former US National Security Council adviser for Asian affairs said the US president’s shifting policy on the nation should raise concerns in Taipei

By Nadia Tsao and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter in WASHINGTON, with staff writer

Former US National Security Council senior director for Asian affairs Evan Medeiros on Wednesday slammed US President Donald Trump’s Taiwan policy, saying US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s remarks in Beijing last week showed that the administration was “flip-flopping” on the issue.

In his state visit to Beijing, Tillerson twice said the US and China have “a very positive relationship built on nonconfrontation, no conflict, mutual respect and always searching for win-win solutions.”

Tillerson’s choice of words sparked controversy in Washington policy circles and the US media, which criticized the administration for having apparently paraphrased the language of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) proposal of a “new type of major power relations.”

US Department of State spokesman Mark Toner said that Tillerson and his staff were fully aware of the phrasing of his comments and that US policy toward Taiwan has remained unchanged.

In response, Ely Ratner, former US vice president Joe Biden’s deputy national security adviser, wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post that said Trump is “not ready” to negotiate with Xi, adding that the administration should delay a planned summit in Florida for a month.

Some Japanese and South Korean diplomats have privately voiced their concerns over Tillerson’s comments in Beijing, saying the remarks appear to contradict the US’ commitment to regional allies that Tillerson had so recently affirmed during his visit to the two nations.

Former US National Security Council director for Asian affairs Michael Green said that, while Tillerson made a minor mistake, he did not endorse the Chinese proposal for “G2” relations, adding that he believes the summit would force the Trump administration to determine its China policy, so there is no reason to postpone it.

Alleged infighting in the Trump administration has further clouded the issue, making it difficult for foreign governments to confirm Trump’s strategic intentions, while his decision to go forward with the summit without appointing a full staff of experienced Asia-Pacific experts might lead to blunders.

Medeiros told reporters that Tillerson’s comments were “not a positive” development for Taiwan, and that Trump’s “erratic” policy should raise concerns in Taipei about what he thinks about the nation.

The administration of former US president Barack Obama avoided using the words of Chinese officials in their statements describing US-China relations, because such repetition might imply acceptance of Beijing’s agenda and accommodation of its interests, he added.

Repeating Chinese officials’ phrasing has the effect of reinforcing Beijing’s view that it “can shape and alter your approach,” Medeiros said.

He added that he doubts whether the Trump administration views Taiwan as crucial to long-term US interests, as the Obama administration did, or if it sees Taiwan as a bargaining chip to be traded to China when dealing with North Korea.

This story has been viewed 5256 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top