U.S. not moving toward conflict with China: ex-State Department official

U.S.-Taiwan-China relationship unlikely to change: Susan Thornton

Former senior State Department official Susan Thornton.

Former senior State Department official Susan Thornton. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - There should be no concern that the United States was moving toward confrontation with China or that the trilateral relationship between Washington, Taipei and Beijing was about to be disrupted, former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton said Thursday.

After leaving office last year, the senior diplomat joined Yale University’s Paul Tsai China Center as a senior researcher.

Peace and stability in the Asia Pacific were in the interests of both China and the U.S., even though both were competitors, Thornton told a Columbia University event about the next 40 years in Washington-Beijing relations.

She pointed out that the U.S. lacked a clear strategy about what it wanted from China, though the communist country could be useful in helping with economic issues and with North Korea, the Central News Agency reported. First, the U.S. needed to reach a consensus about long-term aims for the relationship, Thornton said.

While the two powers might not see eye to eye about Taiwan, there was little risk of the relationship changing on that issue, she added.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s break with Taiwan to recognize China and of the Taiwan Relations Act.