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Scholars downplay significance of flag-raising flap

Scholars downplay significance of flag-raising flap

Washington, Jan. 6 (CNA) The reaction by the U.S. State Department to flag-raising ceremony held by Taiwan at Twin Oaks Estate, the former residence of Republic of China ambassadors to the United States, does not mean there are problems in bilateral communications, a scholar said. "I don't think people should conclude from this episode that there are problems" in U.S.-Taiwan communications, Bonnie Glaser, a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a U.S. think tank, told CNA in an e-mail. The ceremony that triggered the controversy marked the first time the ROC flag was raised at the site since Washington switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing 36 years ago. The U.S. was "disappointed" with the move because it considers Twin Oaks, which is still owned by Taiwan's government, a "representative compound" of Taiwan, according to U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. In a press briefing Tuesday, she said the move was "inconsistent with the spirit of our policy, and it's violated our longstanding understanding on the conduct of our unofficial relations." China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its opposition to Taiwan's action and stressed that it had lodged a strong protest with the United States. But another scholar said China was overreacting to the flag-raising ceremony and described Beijing's backlash as "absolutely foolish." William Sharp, a professor at Hawaii Pacific University and an expert on Taiwan and cross-Taiwan Strait issues, said President Ma Ying-jeou has worked to improve cross-strait relations since he assumed office in 2008, and China's strong opposition would not benefit bilateral relations. The reaction will only make Taiwanese identification much stronger, instead of moving the development of cross-strait relations toward the goal that China wants, Sharp said. (By Rita Cheng and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-09-19 17:27 GMT+08:00