Taiwan's concerns voiced over possible 4th U.S.-China communique

2017/03/22 16:39:33
Taiwan's concerns voiced over possible 4th U.S.-China communique

Taipei, March 22 (CNA) Taiwan has clearly told the United States that it would be unwise for it to sign a fourth joint communique with China, Foreign Minister David Lee (李大維) said Wednesday at a legislative hearing.

Speculation has arisen in local media that a new communique could be signed when U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping meet in the U.S. next month.

Asked about such a possibility, Lee said Taiwan's government has made its position clear to the U.S. through formal and informal channels of communication and told Washington that "such a development is inadvisable."

The U.S. also expressed its opinion, which Lee said he was not at liberty to reveal.

Lee said Taiwan will pay particular attention to topics related to Taiwan during the meeting. Most importantly, he said, Washington should not backpedal from its one-China policy and its support for Taiwan based on the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and the Six Assurances.

The question of a "fourth joint communique," which would follow the three communiques on Taiwan issued from 1972 to 1982, arose because of a report in the Chinese-language Liberty Times on March 8.

The report, citing an unnamed source, said that former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was trying to get the United States and China to sign such a document.

Taiwan's officials in the U.S. had also heard similar information, but it was not confirmed by U.S. officials, according to the report.

A U.S. source was cited as saying that Kissinger had influence on the Trump administration and that Taiwan should not take his opinions about Taiwan affairs lightly.

The report did not speculate on what a fourth communique might include.

There have been numerous denials that a fourth communique is in the works since the report appeared, including from former deputy assistant U.S. secretary of state for East Asian affairs, Randall Schriver.

During a visit in Taiwan last week, Schriver said the information he had was that there was no plan for a fourth communique, and that he expected Trump to reaffirm the U.S.'s one-China policy, including the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and the Six Assurances.

Still, Taiwan remains concerned by the speculation because a fourth communique would likely box the United States into a corner on its one-China policy, which Trump had suggested could be changed before reaffirming it in a phone call with Xi in early February.

The three communiques are a set of formal statements jointly issued by the U.S. and Chinese governments.

The first communique, also known as the Shanghai Communique, was issued in 1972. The second communique, also known as the Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, was issued in 1978 and became effective on January 1, 1979.

The third communique, also known as the Joint Communique on Arms Sales to Taiwan, was issued in 1982.

The Taiwan Relations Act was enacted in 1979 to maintain commercial, cultural and other unofficial relations between the U.S. and Taiwan after Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

The TRA also requires the U.S. "to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character."

Under the Six Assurances given to Taiwan in 1982 by then-President Ronald Reagan, the U.S. pledges not to set a date for ending arms sales to Taiwan, not to hold prior consultations with China regarding arms sales to Taiwan, and not to play a mediation role between Taiwan and China.

They also include assurances that the U.S. will not revise the TRA, alter its position regarding Taiwan's sovereignty, or pressure Taiwan to enter into negotiations with China.

(By Ku Chuan and Evelyn Kao)
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