Taiwan says US ties solid, as opposition chides over Trump’s response

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen reacts during an interview with Reuters in Taipei. (Reuters)
Updated 01 May 2017
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Taiwan says US ties solid, as opposition chides over Trump’s response

TAIPEI: Taiwan’s relations with the US are solid with regular contacts, its foreign minister said on Monday, as the government came under opposition criticism over US President Donald Trump’s cool response to the possibility of a phone call with Taiwan’s leader.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen told Reuters in an interview on Thursday that if the need arose, she would not rule out talking directly again to the US president, when asked about such a possibility. But later in the day, Trump brushed aside the suggestion.
Responding in a regular parliamentary session to opposition references to Trump’s comments, the island’s Foreign Minister David Lee said relations with the US were good.
“The outlook for Taiwan-US relations is very optimistic,” Lee told lawmakers.
Lee said there were “fixed” channels of high-level contacts between the two sides.
He said Taiwan was waiting for the US administration to fill vacancies at senior levels, such as those that handle Asian affairs, to be able to implement bilateral policies.
Trump took a congratulatory phone call from Tsai in early December, the first such contact in nearly four decades.
The conversation raised questions about Trump’s commitment to the long-standing US position of acknowledging Beijing’s cherished “one China” policy, that there is only one China and that Taiwan is part of China.
The December call also infuriated Beijing which fears contacts between Taiwan and foreign governments would confer sovereignty on the island. Democratic Taiwan, self-ruled since 1949, has no interest in being ruled by the autocratic mainland.
Taiwan opposition politicians said Trump’s shying away from the possibility of another phone call, in comments in an interview with Reuters, cast doubt in Taiwan on the strength of US ties, even though Taiwan’s government has said both sides had communicated on the issue and no phone call was being planned at this stage anyway.
“We heard it and felt very uncomfortable,” opposition Nationalist party lawmaker Johnny Chiang said when questioning Lee.
Trump, after raising doubts about his stance on the “one-China” policy, agreed in February to honor it. He played host to Xi at his Florida resort in April and later said he established a good relationship with him.
Taiwan ruling party lawmaker Liu Shyh-fang said Trump was the most difficult ever US president to predict.
“His only policy is: Hard to predict.”


Withdrawal from nuclear arms deal ‘dangerous step’ for US: Moscow

Updated 21 October 2018
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Withdrawal from nuclear arms deal ‘dangerous step’ for US: Moscow

  • US National Security Adviser John Bolton is set to arrive in Moscow on Sunday
  • Trump announced US plans to leave the three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, known as the INF, signed in 1987

MOSCOW: Withdrawing from a Cold War-era nuclear weapons treaty with Russia as President Donald Trump has announced he plans to do is a dangerous step, Russia’s deputy foreign minister warned on Sunday.
“This would be a very dangerous step that, I’m sure, not only will not be comprehended by the international community but will provoke serious condemnation,” deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told TASS state news agency.
The treaty is “significant for international security and security in the sphere of nuclear arms, for the maintenance of strategic stability,” he stressed.
Russia condemned what he called attempts by the US to gain concessions “through a method of blackmail,” he added.
If the US continues to act “clumsily and crudely” and unilaterally back out of international agreements “then we will have no choice but to undertake retaliatory measures including involving military technology,” Ryabkov told RIA Novosti news agency.
“But we would not want to get to this stage,” he added.
On Saturday, Trump announced US plans to leave the three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, known as the INF, signed in 1987 by the then US president Ronald Reagan.
“We’re the ones who have stayed in the agreement and we’ve honored the agreement, but Russia has not unfortunately honored the agreement, so we’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out,” said Trump.
But Ryabkov on Sunday denied Trump’s accusations, throwing the accusation back at Washington.
“We don’t just not violate (the treaty), we observe it in the strictest way,” he insisted.
“And we have shown patience while pointing out over the course of many years the flagrant violations of this treaty by the US itself.”
US National Security Adviser John Bolton is set to arrive in Moscow on Sunday.
“We hope that we will hear from him during meetings, tomorrow and the day after, more substantively and clearly what the American side intends to undertake,” said Ryabkov.
Earlier a foreign ministry source told Russian news agencies that the US move was connected to its “dream of a unipolar world,” an argument that Ryabkov also advanced.
“Apparently the existence of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty creates problems for establishing a line of total US domination and supremacy in the military sphere,” he said.