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U.S. official: Taiwan policy unchanged despite 'country' description

2018/11/08 12:39:24

Washington, Nov. 7 (CNA) Brian Hook, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran, reiterated Wednesday that the United States' policy toward Taiwan remains unchanged, despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling it a nation earlier in the week.

"Our policy has not changed. The United States remains committed to the U.S. one China policy, the three joint communiques and our responsibilities under the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA)," Hook told a regular news briefing in Washington when asked whether it was a slip of the tongue by Pompeo or if it marked a policy change toward Taiwan.

On Nov. 2, Pompeo first announced that the U.S. will re-impose sanctions against Iran but added that eight "jurisdictions" will get exemptions to continue importing crude oil from that country.

Pompeo, however, referred to Taiwan as a country when announcing Nov. 5 that China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Greece, Italy and Turkey will be granted waivers, as long as they work to reduce oil imports from Iran to zero.

"And then the secretary, when he made his announcement on Monday, included Taiwan as among the eight countries..." one reporter said.

"He (Pompeo) specifically said (it). Does this mean that -- that at least the two of you, Brian Hook and Secretary Pompeo... regard Taiwan as a country? Or is this just kind of a slip of the tongue?" the reporter asked.

While Hook reiterated that the U.S. remains committed to its one China policy, the three joint communiques, and its responsibilities under the TRA, the reporter continued to ask: "So why call it a country and court the ire of the Chinese?"

The waiver the U.S. has granted to Taiwan "is relevant to Taiwan's economy. And anything else you may have heard, whatever you've interpreted, nothing has changed in our policy," Hook replied.

Pompeo said the sanctions are "aimed at fundamentally altering the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran."

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Flor Wang)