Clinton to continue Obama's policy on Taiwan: policy adviser

07/26/2016 02:58 PM
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Clinton senior policy advisor Jake Sullivan.
Clinton senior policy advisor Jake Sullivan.

Philadelphia, July 25 (CNA) U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is not expected to have a different stance on Taiwan or the "one China" policy than President Barack Obama if she is elected in November, one of her advisers said Monday.

"(Former) Secretary Clinton supports the current administration's policy on China and Taiwan, will continue to do so, believes that peaceful development strengthening of cross-strait relations is important," said Jake Sullivan, a senior policy advisor to Clinton, at a press briefing on the first day of the Democratic National Convention.

Clinton will formally receive the nomination as the Democratic Party's presidential candidate at the end of the four-day convention in Philadelphia.

Sullivan said Clinton supports the Taiwan Relations Act, as well as the "one China" policy, and there will not be "surprises or significant departures" from her position on the relationship from the current Obama administration.

The U.S. Department of State, which Clinton headed during Obama's first term from 2009-2013, has repeatedly stated Washington's commitment to the one-China policy and to the three Sino-American joint communiques signed after the U.S. switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.

At the same time, the U.S. has maintained unofficial ties with Taiwan under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, while opposing unilateral changes to the status quo by either side of the Taiwan Strait.

The commitment to the one-China policy and support of a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues that is in the best interest of Taiwanese people was included in the Democratic Party platform passed by the convention on Monday, similar to those passed in 2008 and 2012.

But Sullivan pointed out that Clinton "feels strongly that China has to be not just a selective stakeholder, but a comprehensive responsible stakeholder in the international system."

He also touched on an international arbitration tribunal's recent ruling on disputes between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea, pointing to propositions outlined by Clinton when she was in Vietnam to attend a ministerial meeting between the U.S. and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 2010.

Clinton believes the tribunal's finding in the July 12 ruling, which favored the Philippines, "advances the goal of peaceful resolution of disputes and lawful settlement of claims in that area," Sullivan said.

She also believes that the matter should be dealt with through diplomacy, and various parties should work the issue out in a multilateral format, he said.

As president, Clinton will urge all parties to get on a diplomatic pathway to resolve the South China Sea disputes and stay away from escalation or military activity, Sullivan said.

In the ruling issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the tribunal found that none of the Spratly Islands, including Itu Aba (Taiwan-held Taiping Island), could be considered "islands" and are not eligible to claim 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zones.

The ruling, made based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, also rejected China's claims of maritime rights in the South China Sea based on historic rights.

The finding was rejected by China, which argued from the beginning that the tribunal had no jurisdiction over the case, and by Taiwan because the country was unable to participate in the arbitration process to present its views.

(By Rita Cheng and Kay Liu)


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