BUSH'S COMMITMENT TO TAIWAN'S DEFENSE UNCHANGED: FORMER U.S. OFFICIAL
Central News Agency
Washington, June 2 (CNA) U.S President George W. Bush's 2001 promise that he will do whatever it takes to defend Taiwan remains unchanged, former U.S Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Randall G. Schriver said Friday.
During a meeting with a group of journalists from Taiwan, Schriver said Washington tried through both private and public channels to dissuade China from enacting its Anti-Secession Law early this year, calling it a wrong step unhelpful for China's ties with Taiwan.
The backlash the law produced in the international community has born out Washington's prediction, and the European Union has therefore postponed a decision to lift an arms embargo against China, Schriver went on.
He denied that Washington's response to China's enactment of the law was not as harsh as its anger over Taiwan's first national referendum in 2004, claiming that the United States was unable to frame its response to China's Anti-Secession Law before China made public its contents.
He dismissed concerns that the U.S. might withdraw its offer to sell a package of arms to Taiwan if Taiwan's opposition parties keep blocking passage of the budget for it, but warned that the foot-dragging might drive up the price of the weapons because of arms manufacturers' cost in re-launching their production lines.
When Taiwan criticizes the United States for what it felt was a weak response by Washington to China's enactment of the Anti-Secession Law, it should ask itself why it drags its feet on clinching the arms sale, Schriver said.
Schriver said he is not certain whether Chinese President Hu Jintao is amenable to the idea mulled by his predecessor Jiang Zemin of withdrawing its missiles targeting Taiwan in exchange for a U.S. promise to stop arms sales to Taiwan, but Washington's position on this issue is very clear: Such an offer should be made to Taiwan rather than to the United States, as would be Beijing's offer to build a military mutual-trust mechanism.
He dismissed the idea that China is more flexible now toward Taiwan, pointing out that Beijing hasn't stopped trying to win over Taiwan's diplomatic allies.
But he admitted that Beijing has been more creative in engaging Taiwan, citing its contacts with two of Taiwan's opposition parties as an example.
He also warned Taiwan to guard against China's trick of calling Taiwan a troublemaker while casting itself as a troubleshooter who bends over backwards to maintain peace across the Taiwan Strait.
Schriver suggested that Taiwan enhance its international profile by contributing generously to international relief operations and supporting the U.S. battle against terrorism rather than offering grants to other countries in exchange for their diplomatic recognition.
(By Maubo Chang)
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