Tuesday September 17, 2019

USCPF HOSTS PANEL DISCUSSION ON “THE FUTURE OF TAIPEI-BEIJING-WASHINGTON RELATIONS”

August 28, 2013

On August 28, 2013, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation was proud to host a panel discussion exploring Taipei-Beijing-Washington relations. The discussion, which was followed by a luncheon, took place at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C. The panel discussion featured world-renowned experts on cross-strait issues. The panel was moderated by Dr. David Lampton, Hyman Professor and Director of SAIS-China and China Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

The first panelist, Dr. Richard Bush, spoke about the potential for cross-strait political talks. Dr. Bush is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and the Director of its Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies and formerly served as Chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan. Dr. Bush expressed his opinion that political talks between Beijing and Taipei, including confidence-building measures in the security sphere, are unlikely in the near future. He argued that the 1992 Consensus, which has been used as the basis for all previous agreements, might have to be discarded for a new formulation in the future. Under the current interpretation of the consensus, Beijing and Taipei agree that there is “one China” but each defines “China” differently.

Next, Bonnie Glaser discussed Taiwan’s quest for greater international space. Ms. Glaser is a Senior Adviser for Asia in the Freeman Chair for China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies as well as a consultant for the U.S. government on East Asia. She spoke extensively about Taiwan’s effort to increase its international role, with a special focus on Taiwan’s current push to join the International Civilian Aviation Organization (ICAO). Ms. Glaser noted that Taiwan has many valid reasons for wishing to join international groups like ICAO that are entirely separate from a political need for international validation. However, expanding Taiwan’s international role will require a delicate balancing act. Consultations with Beijing are extremely useful, but Taipei must not seem to be “asking permission.” Likewise, international support, including from the U.S., can be helpful but can also backfire if Beijing feels too much pressure.

Alan Romberg gave a presentation on Beijing’s approach to cross-strait relations. Mr. Romberg is the Director of the East Asia Program at the Stimson Center, and previously spent over 20 years working in the State Department. Mr. Romberg predicted that Xi Jinping will maintain the current incremental approach towards cross-strait relations, and that Beijing will be content with slow progress. Xi is aware of the remaining issues in the relationship, and does not seem likely to press for a rapid solution. Still, Beijing is likely to push for new agreements in the economic, cultural, and even political spheres.

Dr. Robert Sutter’s remarks focused on the nuclear debates currently taking place in Taiwan, and what effects those discussions might have on Taiwan’s relationships with the U.S. and with Beijing. Dr. Sutter is currently Professor of Practice of International Affairs at the Elliott School of George Washington University and formerly spent over 30 years working for the U.S. government in various capacities. In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, there have been arguments over whether Taiwan should continue to build nuclear reactors or should switch over to alternative energy sources. Complex questions about nuclear safety and energy security may have a spillover effect on Taiwan’s international relationships.

The final speaker was Ambassador Raymond Burghardt, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Institute of Taiwan (AIT). Ambassador Burghardt provided an update on U.S.-Taiwan relations, where he emphasized the importance of the U.S.-Taiwan partnership. He said that U.S.-Taiwan relations involves fair more than military and security concerns, and that high-level interactions between the two have increased dramatically in recent years. The U.S. is committed to the relationship, as symbolized by the construction of the new AIT headquarters in Taipei.

Following the panel presentations, the panelists answered questions from the audience about the possibility of a meeting between Ma Ying-jeou and Xi Jinping, the future of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, and U.S. thoughts on Taiwan’s economic agreements with the PRC. USCPF was proud to host such a distinguished panel of experts to address this timely topic.

 

For English-language media coverage of the panel discussion, please see the following news sources:

Focus Taiwan News“U.S. sees Taiwan as important partner: AIT head”

Focus Taiwan News “U.S. will not push for meeting of Taiwan, China leaders: official”

Radio Taiwan International“US is Taiwan’s important partner: AIT”

Taipei Times“Burghardt says US-Taiwan ties are ‘moving forward’”

 

For Chinese-language media coverage of the panel discussion, please see the following news sources:

China Review News (中國評論通訊社)“薄瑞光:美國積極看待兩岸貿易協定”

China Times (中時電子報) – “薄瑞光:蕭萬長11月訪美”

China Times (中時電子報)“薄瑞光:美國正面看待兩岸服貿協議”

CTI TV“兩岸服貿協議 薄瑞光:大致上歡迎” (video)

Liberty Times (自由時報)“學者:美應低調助台入ICAO”

Liberty Times (自由時報)“薄瑞光:台灣是美政府重要夥伴”

Liberty Times (自由時報)“薄瑞光:美不促兩岸領導人會面”

Phoenix TV (凤凰网)“美方:不会同意就对台军售设中美工作小组”

Washington Chinese Daily News (華府新聞日報) – “美中政策基金會舉辦「美中台」座談會 展望三角關係未來走向”