Wed, Dec 04, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan-US relations still ‘firm’ despite comments, foreign ministry says

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan-US relations remain firm, despite US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell’s remark at a seminar in Washington that he would not call Taiwan a country, which was based on US policy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

Stilwell on Monday gave a speech titled “The US, China and Pluralism in International Affairs” at a seminar organized by the Brookings Institution in Washington.

“Inside China, the Communist Party increasingly enforces political, racial, cultural, digital and ideological homogeneity,” as shown in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and beyond, Stilwell said.

China’s campaign to compel ideological conformity does not stop at its borders, he said, citing as an example Beijing’s response to an unwelcome opinion about Hong Kong tweeted by Daryl Morey, general manager of the National Basketball Association’s Houston Rockets.

“Both at home and abroad, we support pluralistic systems governed by freedom, rule of law and respect for the rights of one’s neighbors,” he said. “Our challenge today, as in the past, is that the appreciation of pluralism is not universal, so we must come to its defense.”

Asked by a Taiwanese reporter if he plans to visit Taiwan after he visited Japan and other Asian countries to show support, Stilwell said: “You mention ‘countries,’ and, you know, the US abides by the [US’] Taiwan Relations Act and the Three [Joint] Communiques ... but will not refer to Taiwan as a ‘country.’”

Stilwell is a firm friend to Taiwan and his remark was made under the US’ current policy framework, with no new connotations, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a news briefing in Taipei yesterday.

Taiwan and the US share a solid trust in each other, and the ministry has not received any warning about bilateral relations, she said.

Since 2017, US President Donald Trump’s administration has approved five arms packages to Taiwan, reflecting the US’ firm support of Taiwan, she said.

Based on mutual trust and reciprocation, Taiwan would steadily and pragmatically continue to improve its partnership with the US, she said.

Stilwell on Oct. 21 met with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉) in Washington.

The meeting was announced on the Web site of the US Department of State without the meeting venue being specified.

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