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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Transcript: A Conversation with Ma Ying-jeou

Council on Foreign Relations

Speaker: Ma Ying-jeou, Mayor of Taipei City
Presider: Jerome A. Cohen, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Asia Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

March 20, 2006
Council on Foreign Relations
New York, NY

Council on Foreign Relations

JEROME A. COHEN: (In progress)—and then we’re going to bring in all of you. I asked that it be a conversation rather than the usual format of a speech and then a few questions, because I thought this may give us a chance to bore in more systematically on some of the key questions involved.

We have with Mayor Ma a distinguished delegation from Taiwan, as well as a distinguished group here in New York, and I hope we can make the most of it.

Now, of course American attention has been diverted from important developments in East Asia by our problems in the Middle East. But in East Asia we have simmering two major crises: the first concerning North Korea and nuclear weapons, et cetera, we read about, but it’s unlikely that much can happen positively until we have a new administration in Washington, and that’s three years off. The second, however, is confronting us now, and I think we can’t say with respect to the Taiwan Straits problem that there is a major difference between the Bush administration and previous administrations and perhaps subsequent ones. But the crisis is brewing in Taiwan. We know about the missiles increasingly being put in place by the PRC. We know about the increasing apparent impatience on the PRC’s part. We know about the continuing provocations that have been made by President Chen Shui-bian from time to time as Taiwan seems to be moving toward or drifting toward a more independent posture. And we know the problems the U.S. has. We are very much involved. It’s no longer true that the U.S. isn’t a mediator de facto or otherwise in this problem. We’re very much involved and we have responsibilities.

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