U.S. should grant full diplomatic recognition to Taiwan: Bolton

07/03/2020 01:20 PM
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John Bolton / CNA file photo
John Bolton / CNA file photo

New York, July 2 (CNA) John Bolton, a former national security adviser to United States President Donald Trump, reiterated Thursday that the U.S. should exert "asymmetric" pressure on China, such as by giving full diplomatic recognition to Taiwan.

In an online discussion hosted by U.S. Foreign Press Association President Ian Williams, Bolton was asked whether there was any rational or reasonable pressure the U.S. could apply on China when it came to issues such as human right abuses.

"Well, there is repression of the Uyghurs, and obviously what is going on in Hong Kong, also the repression of religious freedom for many years [in China]. When we see this kind of behavior, it provides an opportunity for asymmetric pressure on China," Bolton said, citing Taiwan as an example.

"I have believed for quite some time that the United States should grant full diplomatic recognition to Taiwan," he said.

Bolton said there have been a number of things that the U.S. has, over the years, inexplicably done to satisfy Beijing but serve no American interests.

An example he gave was the need for U.S officials to go to a coffee shop across the street to meet with the Taiwanese representative instead of its office building out of fear of angering China.

"That is ridiculous! It inconveniences Americans. We should be able to meet with whoever we want in American buildings. How is that for a radical thought," he said.

"There are a series of steps we could take to show Beijing how displeased we are with their treatment of the Uyghurs, and their repression in Hong Kong," Bolton said, arguing that while it may not have any effect, it signals to "everybody that 'business as usual' is gone."

"Frankly, I think if you are not prepared to recognize a freely elected representative government in a country like Taiwan, what is the purpose of diplomatic recognition to begin with?" Bolton asked.

During the program, the former U.S. official also commended Taiwan for its efforts in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Taiwan is stronger internationally than it's been since 1949, and I think that is important going forward. I think the example how Taiwan behaved with respect to the coronavirus compared to how mainland China behaved is a very graphic example of the difference in the approach of the two governments and really of the two societies."

During the hour-long discussion, the former U.S. official also touched on matters relating to China's national security law on Hong Kong, and the "one country, two systems" measure that has been implemented in the territory since the 1997 handover.

Bolton has been making many media appearances recently to promote his newly published book titled "The Room Where It Happened" that recounts the time he spent in his role as national security advisor to Trump in the White House.

(By Ozzy Yin and Ko Lin)

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