Ko’s comment on US-Taiwan-China relationship too ‘ambiguous,’ says US academic

Bonnie Glaser challenges Taipei Mayor Ko’s stance on cross-straits policy

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Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (Photo/Taipei City Government)

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (Photo/Taipei City Government)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An approach to the tri-lateral relationship between Taiwan, China, the United States suggested by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) in an address delivered at the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. on March 20, has been criticized by a senior U.S. expert on Taiwan issues as being ambiguous and implicit, reports said.

In a speech titled “The Present Situation and Prospects for Taiwan,” Mayor Ko proposed an alternative for Taiwan’s cross-strait relations, arguing for closer ties with the U.S. while pursuing friendly relations with China.

The proposition was considered equivocal by Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia at the Washington-based think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), who expressed her opinion about Ko’s address in an interview with Financial Times.

According to Glaser, a swing in attitude and an inclination towards vagueness don’t bode well for the tri-lateral relationship, based on what she has observed over the past decade. “Scars remain for the U.S. government” left by the Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) administration, noted Glaser.

The scholar questioned the stance by the mayor of Taiwan's capital city, and urged him to be more explicit in how he characterizes his cross-straits policy. Americans want to know exactly what Ko means by "being friendly to China," she said, adding that questions are still unanswered as to whether the approach denotes “a peace treaty with China? accepting the 1992 Consensus? or China and Taiwan as one family?”