US analysts, Richard Armitage arrive

TILLERSON IN ASIA::Christine Hsueh denied reports that a fourth joint US-China declaration would be signed at a summit between the US and China next month

By Lu Yi-hsuan and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer and CNA

Wed, Mar 15, 2017 - Page 3

Washington on Monday reaffirmed the US’ commitment to the “one China” policy ahead of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Asia this week, while former US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage yesterday evening arrived in Taiwan with Project 2049 Institute analysts.

Armitage is to discuss Taiwan-US ties, cross-strait relations, security in the Asia-Pacific region and US President Donald Trump’s foreign policies with Taipei officials, Department of North American Affairs Director-General Christine Hsueh (薛美瑜) said.

The think tank delegation is comprised of leading US experts on national security issues, Hsueh said, adding that they would be in the nation until Friday.

Armitage is one of Washington’s most long-standing advocates for Taiwan. He is credited with being instrumental in then-US president George W. Bush’s approval of three arms-sales packages to Taiwan in 2001.

Armitage has met with former presidents Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has met Armitage twice, the first time as a presidential candidate during a tour of the US in 2015, and the second time in Taipei last year as the then-president-elect.

At a news conference, Hsueh denied reports that a fourth joint US-China declaration would be signed at a summit between the two countries next month.

Talk of a fourth joint declaration has emerged prior to every summit between the leaders of the US and China since the 1990s, Hsueh said, adding: “It should be treated as rumor at the present time.”

At a seminar organized by the Brookings Institution in Washington, former American Institute in Taiwan director Richard Bush said that there is absolutely no need for the US to sign another joint declaration with China, adding that it would not be in the US’ national interest.

The US on Monday reaffirmed its commitment to the “one China” policy ahead of Tillerson’s visit to Beijing, scheduled for later this week.

Asked about Trump’s “one China” policy and how he plans to address the issue during a possible meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), acting US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton said that Washington’s “one China” policy has been unchanged for several decades and was reaffirmed in a telephone call between the two presidents last month, the first since Trump took office on Jan. 20.

Washington’s “one China” policy is based on the three Sino-US communiques — signed in 1972, 1979 and 1982 — and the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), which was enacted in 1979, she said during a US Department of State news conference for foreign journalists.

Under its “one China” policy, the US recognizes the People’s Republic of China claim to be the sole legal government of China, acknowledging Beijing’s position that there is “one China” and that Taiwan is part of it.

Under the same policy, the TRA provides for “robust, strong, committed and unofficial relations” between the US and Taiwan, Thornton said. “I think that that has been stated clearly by President Trump. It’s been understood by President Xi.”

Tillerson is scheduled to visit Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing from today through Sunday.

Thornton said the trip could to some extent be seen as paving the way for a summit between Trump and Xi, but she did not confirm reports that the two leaders will have their first meeting in Florida on April 6 and April 7.