Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Stable cross-strait ties key to growing U.S.-Taiwan ties: AIT head

Stable cross-strait ties key to growing U.S.-Taiwan ties: AIT head

Washington, July 13 (CNA) Stable management of cross-Taiwan Strait relations has been a key factor that has made possible significant progress in recent years in U.S.-Taiwan relations, the head of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said Monday. "The U.S. has very much welcomed the marked improvement in cross-strait ties during the past seven years," said AIT Chairman Raymond Burghardt during a speech at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank. Both sides of the strait have reduced tension and also the possibility of miscalculation, and that stability is in the interest of the United States, he said at a conference titled "Relations across the Taiwan Strait: Retrospective and Prospects for Future Development." The AIT represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of bilateral diplomatic ties. "Stable management of cross-strait relations has been a major factor that has made possible significant progress these past seven years in U.S.-Taiwan relations," he said. He also recalled that years ago, when cross-strait relations were tense, ties between Taiwan and the U.S. were also affected, citing as an example a transit stop in 2008 by Taiwanese leaders in the U.S. that "never left the airport" in Anchorage, Alaska. Burghardt was referring to a transit stop in January 2008 by then-President Chen Shui-bian (???) on his way to Taiwan's Central American and Caribbean allies. Chen's administration saw growing tension across the strait that also affected ties between Taipei and Washington. In stark contrast to Chen's transit stop, President Ma Ying-jeou (???) made a transit stop in Boston last weekend en route to three of Taiwan's Central American and Caribbean diplomatic allies. Burghardt said that when he was with Ma in Boston last weekend, "the weather was warm and the mood was warm." Ma had the opportunity to meet with many local people and members of academia during that time, he added. This was made possible due to the improvement of Taiwan-U.S. relations and ties across the Taiwan Strait, according to Burghardt. "So we want to continue to have this kind of strong relations with Taiwan. We want to continue to see this kind of progress," he said. To build on the progress in the seven years, it will require a lot of leadership and wisdom in both Washington and in Taipei, he said, adding that bipartisan support in both Taiwan and the U.S. will also be needed. On the development of cross-strait ties, he reiterated the U.S. government stance and said that "we encourage both Beijing and Taipei to continue their constructive dialogue on the basis of dignity and respect." During his speech, he also reaffirmed that the U.S. will not take sides in Taiwan's elections and will work with whoever is chosen by Taiwanese voters in the January presidential election in 2016. In response to questions on Taiwan's presidential candidates, he said he personally knows the opposition Democratic Progressive Party's Tsai Ing-wen (???) and the ruling Kuomintang's Hung Hsiu-chu (???). He has known Tsai since he first arrived in Taipei as AIT director in 1999 and has had good relations with her, although he also said that they were "sparring partners" sometimes. In 2012, Burghardt said, he coincidentally had a chance to talk to Hung during Ma's inauguration banquet as they sat next to each other. Asked about Tsai's recent visit to the U.S., he reiterated the U.S. government's stance that they had "constructive" talks in Washington, but declined to divulge details of the discussions. "People made comments when she came four years ago," he said, but the U.S. decided not to do the same this time and let Tsai speak for herself. During Tsai's U.S. trip that ended in early June, she met with U.S. administration officials, think tank experts, members of Congress and Taiwanese expatriates. She also gave a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. (By Tony Liao, Rita Cheng and Elaine Hou)


Updated : 2021-09-22 04:59 GMT+08:00