Fmr AIT director foresees stable US-Taiwan relationship based on mutual 'assurances'

Richard Bush says US confidence in Taiwan's successful democratization has reinforced the importance of original US 'assurances' to Taiwan 

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File Photo: Richard Bush

File Photo: Richard Bush (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Richard Bush, a former director of the American Institute in Taiwan (1997-2002) recently penned an essay for the Global Taiwan institute on Aug. 22, which was also published by the Brooking Institute on Aug. 26.

In the essay Bush examines why U.S. diplomatic assurances to foreign countries are not taken lightly and that in the case of Taiwan, assurances that Washington has made to the security of Taiwan remain stable, and look to remain so moving forward.

Framing his piece around the “Six Assurances” which refer to U.S. legislation passed in 1982, Bush observes that while there are clear legal assurances that the U.S. has made to the security of Taiwan, from the perspective of many in Taiwan, U.S. commitments may not be perceived as “fully credible.”

Bush acknowledges that following the Carter and Nixon administrations and before Taiwan’s democratization, there was a clear sense among KMT leadership, that the U.S. could not be completely relied upon for sustained and continuous support.

Bush declares that as Taiwan has democratized, successive administrations in Washington have viewed Taiwan’s security and the U.S.’s assurances to the country with increasing importance.

However with the increased risk posed by China’s development and the increasingly divergent policies of Taiwan’s successive administrations, Bush suggests that Washington began to view Taiwan as a risk to regional stability, and began to seek assurances from Taipei, rather than Taipei seeking assurances from Washington.

According to Bush, U.S. confidence in the reliability of Taiwan’s administrations to maintain regional stability waned under the Chen Shui-bian administration, but that under Ma and Tsai that reliability has been restored and remained stable.

Hence, the current trajectory of diplomatic relations between Taipei and Washington continues to warm at a remarkable pace under the respective Tsai and Trump administrations.

Bush closes his essay with the following:

“Not only has each side believed that the policies of the other conform to its interests, but also the credibility of commitments and the confidence with which they are received has been good. That bodes well for a stable U.S.-Taiwan relationship.”