Questions Raised on U.S. Stance on Cross-Strait Relations

Questions Raised on U.S. Stance on Cross-Strait Relations
Photo Credit: Reuters / 達志影像

What you need to know

The U.S. and China seem to have different explanations regarding Obama’s response on cross-Strait relations during the recent Obama-Xi meeting.

Cross-Strait relations were raised during U.S. President Barack Obama's Sept. 3 meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) ahead of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, with some fearing that Washington may be moving toward a more Beijing-friendly position on Taiwan's status.

State-owned Xinhua agency reported that Xi retained a firm stance against Taiwan independence, and that in response Obama told him that the U.S. would retain its “one China" policy and “oppose” any form of actions intended towards Taiwanese independence.

Yen Chen-shen (嚴震生), a researcher at the National Chenchi University Institute of International Relations, wrote in an op-ed in the China Times that the Obama-Xi meeting had "eliminated" the chances for Taiwanese independence.

In the past, Yen wrote, the U.S. used terms such as “not supporting” when addressing Taiwanese independence issues, which was interpreted as a less aggressive attitude. Yen said he is worried that by using the term “oppose,” the U.S. was siding with China on any action potentially connected with Taiwanese independence.

on Formosa Television, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said that “the Chinese government often twists words when restating other’s opinion towards Taiwan, in this case, the U.S.” He also said the U.S. has not changed much of its views on Taiwan’s cross-Strait policies and is rather satisfied with the current state.

Myles Caggins from the U.S. National Security Council told state-owned CNA that the U.S. has not changed sides and will keep its long-standing commitment to the “one China” policy based on the three joint communiqués and the Taiwan Relations Act, aiming to resolve cross-Strait issues in peaceful ways. Caggins has declined to disclose records of the actual conversation between the two presidents.

In a press release, the Mainland Affairs Council said it will continue to handle cross-Strait issues based on current regulations and keep striving to maintain stable cross-Strait relations through communication and collaboration between both sides.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in Taipei said developments between the U.S. and China should not harm the interests of Taiwan. MOFA will keep communicating with the U.S. and keep track of any consequences of the Obama-Xi meeting that might affect any of Taiwan’s interests.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole