Washington, 20 May 1998. At a hearing before the House of
Representatives' Subcommittee on Asian-Pacific Affairs, Clinton
Administration officials reiterated on Wednesday that the United
States attaches great importance to its commitment to preserving
Testimony was also given by former U.S. Ambassadors Jim Lilley and
Nat Bellocchi, and by
former U.S. Administration official Douglas Paal.
Both Susan Shirk, deputy assistant secretary of state for East
Asian and Pacific affairs, and Kurt Campbell, deputy assistant
secretary of defense, stressed at a congressional hearing that the
US won't engage mainland China at the expense of Taiwan.
They also reaffirmed that no agreements unfavorable or harmful to
Taiwan will be signed during a summit meeting between US President
Bill Clinton and his mainland Chinese counterpart, Jiang Zemin,
scheduled for late June in Beijing.
Shirk told the Asia-Pacific subcommittee of the House Committee on
International Relations that the US has consistently insisted that
issues or disputes between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait be
resolved strictly by peaceful means.
She further said the US will continue fulfilling its obligations
under the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) concerning Taiwan's security
and sales of defensive arms to the island. The TRA, the 1979 US law
regulating Washington-Taiwan relations in the absence of official
ties, requires the US to furnish Taiwan with adequate defensive arms
to safeguard its security.
Shirk said she is convinced that the US has created a favorable
climate for cross-strait rapprochement and reconcilation by
continously implementing the above-mentioned policies. While
reinforcing engagements with both Taipei and Beijing, Shirk said,
the US will continue encouraging them to embark on regular dialogue.
By so doing, she added, the three parties and the entire
Asia-Pacific region will benefit.
Shirk went on to say that the US has decided to increase
engagements with Beijing in hopes that mainland China will remain
stable, abide by international norms and cooperate with the US in
establishing a regional security mechanism and international order.
In the process, Shirk said, the US will never sacrifice Taiwan's
interests. "There will not be a fourth joint communique. Our
relations with Taiwan will not be tampered or sacrificed at all."
Speaking on the same occasion, Campbell said it is important for
the US to reassure Taiwan that Washington will not improve ties with
Beijing at the expense of Taipei. He said the US must admit that its
previous efforts to develop ties with Beijing once hurt Taiwan.
Campbell also stressed the importance that the US has attached to
its security commitment to Taiwan. According to Campbell, Pentagon
has never viewed the obligations set in the Taiwan Relations Act as
a disgusting burden. Instead, he said, Pentagon thinks that the
obligations to furnish Taiwan with sufficient defensive arms are an
integral part of the US Asia-Pacific policy.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *