QUESTION: Thank you. On Taiwan, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-Jeou, who is also the Chairman of Taiwan’s biggest opposition party, he will be visiting Washington on March 22nd. Will the U.S. officials going to meet with Ma during his visit?

MR. CASEY: Well, I do understand that he’s planning to make a visit of a number of American cities. As you know, we do meet from time to time with Taiwan political leaders from all different political parties, but I don’t have anything specific for you in terms of meetings. I’m not aware of anything that might or might not be on the schedule. Certainly, you might want to check with Mr. Ma’s office for details on his travel plans.

QUESTION: Will the U.S. — I mean, welcome Mayor Ma’s visit so the U.S. can exchange views on the cross-Strait situation with Mayor Ma?

MR. CASEY: Well, again, as I said, we talk with a wide variety of people and political leaders from Taiwan. Obviously, we make the same points to them privately that we make to you all publicly here, which is to reiterate our longstanding policy on cross-Straits issues.

QUESTION: Are you saying that if he does have a meeting with a State Department official, you won’t announce it? You’re leaving it up to them to announce it?

MR. CASEY: I’m simply saying, George, I don’t have any information or details for you about his schedule.

QUESTION: I know, no, I — but you said you had — where you should check — that we should check with the Taiwanese.

MR. CASEY: About the details of his schedule, because I understand he’s visiting a number of countries and I’m not actually sure that that’s the date he’ll be here in Washington.

QUESTION: But you’re not going to volunteer anything.

MR. CASEY: George, if I have anything more to offer you, I’ll let you know, but I don’t have anything specific.



QUESTION: Taiwan’s President Chen in an interview with The Washington Post suggested that his ability to actually change the constitution to declare independence is quite limited. Therefore, he’s free to pursue the policies for independence and the U.S. shouldn’t be upset by his moves because the status quo is unlikely to be changed anytime soon. Can you clarify the U.S. stance on his assertion?

MR. ERELI: Yeah. I’ll clarify it. The United States has a one-China policy based on the Taiwan Relations Act and the three joint communique. We do not support Taiwan independence and we oppose unilateral changes to the status quo by either side. In other words, I really am reluctant to get into a daily back and forth with Taiwanese officials about things that they said the day before. I think our position is clear. The leadership of Taiwan has made public commitments with regard to its cross-straits policy. Those commitments are well known. We appreciate them and we take them seriously and we expect that they’ll be sustained.

QUESTION: But this daily colloquy — does it mean the Taiwanese officials are backing away from their commitments and the U.S. —

MR. ERELI: They’ve made those commitments — we hold them to them.

QUESTION: Sure, but are they inching backwards?

QUESTION: Can I follow up?

MR. ERELI: I think that our view is that they’ve been clear in what their commitments are and they need to stick to them.

QUESTION: Well, he’s committed to the debate on formal independence.

MR. ERELI: He’s committed in his — the commitments I’m talking about are the commitments in the inaugural pledges, the four no’s and the commitment made on the National Unification Council earlier and I’d defer you on all of that to, again, our statement on March 2nd.

QUESTION: Well — but on the National Unification Council, there are reports that the language that he used was very carefully calibrated between the U.S. and Taiwan, so as not to upset the Chinese and that he really feels as if the Council ceased to exist. There is no Council anymore — but you got these reports, anyway — that you got him to, you know, kind of finesse the language, but that his opinion is still that he wants to do away with the Council.

MR. ERELI: Yeah. And I’ll tell you what our opinion is. Our opinion is that neither side should take unilateral steps, that we have commitments from Taiwan and that those commitments should be upheld.

QUESTION: Are you denying that you worked with the language with the Taiwanese so as not to (inaudible) the situation any further?

MR. ERELI: I think we made clear to the Taiwanese regularly what our views on these issues are.

QUESTION: I think if you compare it to his February 27th commitment or assurances to his 2000, 2004 pledges, you would find that those are different.

MR. ERELI: Yeah. I’m just going to parse it. I’ll tell you what our position is. I’ll tell you what we expect, what we’re looking for, what we’ve heard from the Taiwanese and leave it at that.

QUESTION: A quick follow-upon Taiwan. Adam, you keep referring to your March 2nd statement. In that statement you were asking for Taiwan’s reaffirmation that the National Unification Council is not abolished. Have you heard any — well, you were asking for public reaffirmation. Have you heard of that? We haven’t.

MR. ERELI: We continue to stand by the March 2nd statement.

QUESTION: But you haven’t got what you want.

MR. ERELI: We continue to stand by the March 2nd statement.



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