Obama-Hu talks risk undermining Taiwan

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Wed, Jan 19, 2011 - Page 3

This week’s meetings between Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and the top echelons of the US government risk undermining the interests of Taiwan as its government has become indifferent to notions of sovereignty and security, experts told a press conference yesterday.

Hu, who departed Beijing for Washington yesterday to attend a three-day state visit, is scheduled to meet with US President Barack Obama today.

Former envoy to the US Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) told a press conference held by Taiwan Brain Trust that he expected Hu would take the -opportunity to reiterate the US-China joint statement signed in November 2009 during Obama’s visit to Beijing.

“As the joint statement has caused major harm to Taiwan, there is no doubt that the [Obama-Hu meeting] will again undermine the interests of Taiwan,” said Wu, a research fellow at National Chengchi University’s Institute of International Relations.

The joint statement, in which the US and China “reaffirmed the fundamental principle of respecting each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and “the US encourages both sides of the Taiwan Strait to increase dialogue and interaction in economic, political and other fields,” violated the US Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and the six promises Washington made to Taiwan, Wu said.

China mentions the joint statement on every occasion to claim unilaterally that its sovereignty over Taiwan is supported by the US, while President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration has made no effort to push the US to reaffirm the TRA and its six promises, Wu said.

Although the Ma administration has repeatedly told the US that Taiwan will not sacrifice its relations with it while developing closer ties with China, that promise sounds like “lip service” to a lot of people, Wu said.

That the Ma administration did not take issue with the joint statement, deferred payment on the purchase of six Patriot anti-missile batteries and accepted the “1992 consensus” as defined by Li Yafei (李亞飛), deputy chairman of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, all “left too much room for our friends in the US to worry about,” Wu said.

York Chen (陳文政), an associate professor at the Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang University and a former National Security Council official, said it was concerning that the Chinese military buildup did not cause any alarm in the Ma administration, while neighboring countries are already closely monitoring the situation.

“The Chinese J-20 stealth fighter is meant to be used as a first-strike force against Taiwan. Japan is not its target, nor is Guam. However, the Ma administration was unable to get hold of any information beforehand and had no reaction to its test flight,” Chen said.

Liu Shih-chung (劉世忠), a researcher at the think tank, said the government should take seriously remarks recently made by US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in Beijing that the US might re-examine its Taiwan policy under certain circumstances.