Hu meeting may have no effect: ex-representative
By Joseph Yeh, The China PostTaiwan's former representative to the United States said the upcoming meeting between Chinese President Hu Jintao and his American counterpart Barack Obama may not have a strong impact on Taiwan's interests. However, he noted that the ruling administration should urge Washington to reiterate its long-standing commitment based on the “Taiwan Relations Act” (TRA) during the meeting to safeguard the interest of the island nation.
January 19, 2011, 11:50 pm TWN
“Taiwan issue will not be of major concern for both sides in the meeting since in a joint statement previously issued during their last meeting in December 2009, the U.S. had already expressed respect for China's sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), former representative to the U.S. during the previous Democratic Progressive Party administration, said yesterday during a seminar.
The 2009 statement was interpreted by Beijing as recognition on the U.S. side to its stance since China has emphasized that the Taiwan issue concerns the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, he added.
The joint statement had seriously damaged the interests of Taiwan and it was also a clear violation of U.S.' unwavering commitment to the TRA. However, the ruling Ma administration did not protest over the statement at that time, but instead repeatedly reaffirmed that the Taiwan-U.S. relationship is at its highest point in six decades, he noted.
With the upcoming Hu-Obama meeting around the corner, the ex-official said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should seek to actively learn the latest developments while asking Washington to reaffirm their pledge to Taiwan based on the TRA.
Wu made the comment during a seminar organized by local think tank Taiwan Brain Trust held yesterday in Taipei to discuss the possible impact of the presidential meeting taking place this week.
Liu Shih-chung, a member of the think tank, also noted that it is unlikely for the two countries to release another joint statement following the scheduled meeting. But if a joint document is indeed released which causes further damage to Taiwan, the government should promptly make a statement to present its stance instead of making the same mistake as last time
Major topics in the meeting could be tensions over human rights, currency rates and North Korea issue in the meeting that could be Hu's final state visit to America before a Chinese leadership transition, said Wu.