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.
Proposed legislation in the US outlines three conditions in which Washington would be authorized to protect Taiwan were China to invade, a report said yesterday. US Representative Ted Yoho this month said he would introduce a Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act, which would authorize US military force if China were to invade Taiwan-controlled areas, including its outlying islands. According to a version of the bill obtained by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister paper of the Taipei Times), the bill lists three conditions in which a US president would be authorized to use military force to protect Taiwan: If China uses military force
Two new commuter trains are scheduled to be launched in January next year, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said yesterday. The acquisition of EMU-900 commuter train cars is part of the railway operator’s plan to replace 589 train cars that have been in operation for more than three decades. The agency has also placed orders to buy 600 intercity train cars. The first batch of 20 EMU-900 cars is to be delivered to the nation in September, although delivery might be delayed until October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said. The batch would be formed into two trains of 10
The Supreme Court on Tuesday found four men guilty of attempted murder in the 2017 stabbing of Spanish surfer Ignacio Prio on a Pingtung County beach in the final ruling in the case, sentencing them to three-and-a-half to six years in prison. The defendants had appealed their convictions for attempted murder in the first and second rulings, which had also led to prison sentences ranging from three-and-a-half years to six years. The then-42-year-old Prio went to Jialeshui Beach (佳樂水) near Kenting (墾丁) on March 31, 2017, was attacked after he asked four men to remove their fishing lines from an area
MEDICINAL HERB: The FRIL protein extracted from hyacinth beans helped laboratory mice survive H1N1 infection and effectively neutralized the coronavirus A protein isolated from hyacinth beans, a medicinal herb known for centuries, has been found to restrict the activities of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses in laboratory experiments, a team of Academia Sinica researchers said yesterday. The beans’ curative effect is documented in the 16th-century Chinese medicine classic Compendium of Materia Medica (本草綱目) and they are also a food source in some countries, the Genomics Research Center’s Chemical Biology Division Director Alex Ma (馬徹) told a news conference in Taipei. Center senior research specialist Jan Jia-tsrong (詹家琮) experimented with up to 500 medicinal herbs to see if they could restrict influenza viruses and