U.S. will not push for meeting of Taiwan, China leaders: official

08/29/2013 10:08 PM
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Washington, Aug. 28 (CNA) The United States has no intentions of pushing Taiwan's and China's leaders to meet face-to-face, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday.

Richard Burghardt, Washington's Taiwan policy chief and chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan, said that forcing such a meeting "probably [would] be a violation of one of the six assurances" the U.S. made to Taiwan in 1982, after official relations were broken off.

"America is not smart enough to facilitate a negotiation between the Chinese," Burghardt said on the sidelines of a seminar on U.S.-China ties, summarizing a quote he attributed to former U.S. Ambassador to China Winston Lord.

He dismissed the suggestion as "really not something that we would have a role trying to do."

Speculation on a possible meeting between the top leaders across the Taiwan Strait has been rife since President Ma Ying-jeou raised the possibility of attending next year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in China.

That would mark a big change from past precedent in which Taiwan, participating under the name Chinese Taipei, has always appointed a proxy to the APEC leaders' summit.

The United States Congress in 1982 agreed to a six-point policy framework proposed by Taiwan. Called the Six Assurances, it stipulates:

1. The United States would not set a date for ending arms sales to Taiwan;

2. The United States would not alter the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act, the law that governs U.S. policy toward Taiwan in the absence of formal ties;

3. The United States would not consult with China in advance before making decisions about arms sales to Taiwan;

4. The United States would not mediate between Taiwan and China;

5. The United States would not change its position on the sovereignty of Taiwan, a question to be resolved peacefully by the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait;

6. The United States would not exert pressure on Taiwan to enter negotiations with China.

(By Tony Liao and S.C. Chang)

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