Taiwan in from cold after long US freeze

Click to follow
The Independent Online
THE United States yesterday marked its first change in policy towards Taiwan in 15 years with a personal call on President Lee Teng-hui in Taipei. The visit by the unofficial US representative in Taiwan, Lynn Pascoe, was the first since the US switched diplomatic recognition to Peking in 1979.

'This is a positive step,' Mr Pascoe said, after also calling on the Prime Minister, Lien Chan, and the Foreign Minister, Frederick Chien, in their offices. The policy adjustments, announced on Wednesday in Washington, will allow more high-level commercial visits and are intended to boost economic ties between the US and Taiwan, Mr Pascoe added.

Taiwan yesterday welcomed the US shift, but said it did not go far enough. 'We are dissatisfied that Mr Pascoe can visit our Foreign Ministry, but our US representative cannot visit the State Department,' said Mr Chien. Senior Taiwan leaders will still be forbidden to visit the US.

Members of Congress from both parties criticised the Clinton administration for falling between two stools by implying more respect for Taiwan but refusing to grant it outright recognition. 'We continue to give Taiwan the cold shoulder,' complained Paul Simon, a Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations committee.

Officials in Washington said there had been no change in the fundamental US position but even the limited US policy refinements brought a predictably stern reaction from Peking, which said that the move seriously violated the principles of Sino-US relations.