Sat, Jul 15, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Lack of cross-strait dialogue a concern: AIT

Staff writer, with CNA

The US is aware of the political constraints that President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration faces in dealing with China, but there is a degree of concern over the lack of cross-strait dialogue, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman James Moriarty said on Thursday.

Moriarty made the comments in response to questions at a conference on cross-strait relations at the Washington headquarters of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The questions included one raised by former AIT chairman Richard Bush, who said that since the US expects leaders on both sides to be restrained, flexible and creative, how has the Tsai administration addressed that standard?

Moriarty said the US has seen and acknowledged the Tsai administration’s attempts to reach out politically to China within the bounds of the political constraints she faces.

This has also involved trying to come up with a formulation that might provide a way forward for cross-strait relations, which have all but frozen since Tsai took office last year, he said.

Moriarty added that there is a big difference in the Tsai administration’s handling of certain issues compared with that of the previous Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government more than a decade ago.

The US does not believe that Tsai, who is also DPP chairwoman, and her administration are being provocative in any way.

“We do see an attempt to show some creativity and flexibility, and we continue to urge on both sides” to do so, he said.

Asked if both sides have shown sufficient flexibility and creativity, he said: “There is concern that there is not enough dialogue going on.”

“We do think we’ve seen Taiwan try to reach out to some extent. Is it totally sufficient? Do we know everything about it? No, maybe no for the both questions,” he said.

Since Tsai’s inauguration in May last year, cross-strait dialogue has been suspended due to her refusal to heed Beijing’s call to accept the so-called “1992 consensus” as the sole foundation for exchanges across the Taiwan Strait.

The “1992 consensus” — a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) admitted making up in 2000 — refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese government that both sides acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

Instead, Tsai has adopted a policy that emphasizes maintenance of the “status quo” in cross-strait relations. In May, she proposed a “new situation, new test and new model” for cross-strait relations.

In an interview with a local media outlet, Tsai described a series of questions put forward by Beijing for her to answer last year as “lacking goodwill.”

She believes the two sides need a “structural cooperative relationship” to maintain stability and peace.

Moriarty was one of the keynote speakers at the conference, titled “Cross-Strait Relations Re-examined: Toward a New Normal,” which was cohosted by the center’s Freedom Chair in China Studies and China Power Project and National Chengchi University’s Institute of International Relations in Taipei.

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