Fri, Jan 11, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Xi’s speech shifts ‘status quo’: senator

US RELATIONSHIP:Cory Gardner said that after the Chinese president mooted the ‘one country, two systems’ formula, commitment to Taiwan is ‘stronger than ever’

Staff writer, with CNA

US Senator Cory Gardner arrives at the Senate Chamber for an abbreviated pro-forma session in Washington on Monday last week.

Photo: AP

US Senator Cory Gardner on Wednesday said that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) speech about Taiwan changes the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait and is a warning to the US.

When asked by Taiwanese media about the address Xi gave on Wednesday last week, Gardner, chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy, said the US should adhere to its commitment to Taiwan.

The US’ Asia Reassurance Initiative Act contains significant language dedicated to the US’ relationship with Taiwan, including provisions to ensure arms sales and facilitate high-level visits to Taiwan from the US, he said.

“We will continue to pursue those commitments and protections... Our commitment to our relationship with Taiwan is stronger than ever,” Gardner said,

Asked whether he would encourage President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to visit Washington, Gardner only said that he had met with Tsai when she made a transit stop in Los Angeles last year, and that he hopes similar arrangements could be made in the future.

Gardner had tweeted about Xi’s recent Taiwan policy speech and Tsai’s response, saying that he would soon resubmit the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act to the US Congress.

It authorizes the US Department of State to downgrade US relations with any government that takes adverse action regarding Taiwan, including suspending or altering foreign assistance, such as military funding.

Xi’s speech on Taiwan marked the 40th anniversary of a message Beijing sent to Taiwan in 1979 calling for unification and an end to military confrontation.

In the speech, Xi defined the so-called “1992 consensus” as “the two sides of the strait belonging to one China and working together to seek the unification of the nation.”

The “one country, two systems” formula is the best approach to achieving unification, he said.

Tsai afterward said that she has never and would never accepted the “1992 consensus,” as the phrase has been defined by China as “one country, two systems,” which leaves no room for interpretation.

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 Communist Party that both sides acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

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