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AIT director calls for patience in development of cross-strait ties

ROC Central News Agency

2016/06/14 18:44:22

Taipei, June 14 (CNA) The director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) called Tuesday for patience for Taiwan and China to develop their relations, saying that it will take time for the two sides to become familiar when it comes to a new relationship.

"When both sides do become familiar with one other, there's more confidence and there's more predictability in the relationship," Kin Moy said at a press roundtable with local media. The AIT represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of bilateral diplomatic ties.

He made the remarks as the future development of relations across the Taiwan Strait has been receiving great attention since Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party assumed the presidency in May.

Commenting on cross-strait relations, Moy said that when there is a level of comfort in which both sides understand the other's perspective, "that will allow for some flexibility and creativity."

He also called on both sides of the strait to use flexibility and creativity in dealing with their relations. That means trying something that has not been tried before and exploring the possibility of thinking "outside the conventional line," he said, without elaborating.

Asked whether Tsai's emphasis on the importance of a cross-strait meeting in 1992 instead of recognizing the "1992 consensus" is an example of flexibility, Moy did not give a direct answer.

He, however, reiterated the U.S. government's stance that it has no position on specific terms and that it has acknowledged it is a basis for a dialogue that has taken place over the last eight years.

"It was an important dialogue and we praised it," he said, adding that both sides of the strait were able to achieve peace and stability that did not exist before.

Moy also stressed that it is important to maintain an open channel of communication between the two sides of the strait.

Both Beijing and Taiwan's previous government under former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) have said that the "1992 consensus" should serve as a foundation for relations between Taiwan and China. The consensus refers to an understanding that both sides agree that there is only one China, with each side free to interpret its meaning.

Tsai and the DPP have never acknowledged the existence of any such consensus.

Meanwhile, Moy also expressed support for Tsai's new southbound policy, which is aimed at strengthening trade exchanges with Southeast Asian countries and avoiding overreliance on trade with China.

All countries and economies should be looking for opportunities to diversify trade and should not just rely on one or just a few markets, he said. "It's a smart thing to do" to maintain a country's competitiveness, he added.

There are markets, resources and talent in the Southeast Asian countries, he said, adding that the U.S. has also been seeking to strengthen relations with those countries.

(By Elaine Hou)

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