Alan D. Romberg, Senior Associate and Director of the East Asia Program at the Henry L. Stimson Center in Washington, D.C., was interviewed on 6 March 2007 by Jorge Liu of the Central News Agency of Taiwan. Both the English and Chinese versions are below.
PRESIDENT’S LATEST REMARKS COULD RAISE U.S. IRE: SCHOLAR
Washington, March 5 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian’s latest pro-independence remarks could anger Washington, a U.S. expert on cross-Taiwan Strait relations said Monday.
Alan Romberg, director of East Asia Program of the Henry L. Stimson Center, made the remarks in an interview with the CNA. “Whatever the U.S. government chooses formally to address his remarks, this cannot help diminishing even further the level of trust that Washington has in Mr. Chen,” he said.
On President Chen’s remarks to a pro-independence group Sunday that Taiwan must seek independence, must ratify its official name, must craft a new constitution and must seek further development, Romberg said that the statement “is consistent in important respects with his long-standing insistence that Taiwan is a sovereign, independent state separate from the People’s Republic of China, and that the Constitution should be changed to reflect present-day realities.”
But “there are some significant differences from Mr. Chen’s past positions that will likely cause significant irritation in Washington,” Romberg said.
The president’s latest remarks are not in direct violation of his “four noes” pledge, but advocacy of these positions is a violation of his pledges to maintain the status quo and to promote peace and stability and is at direct odds with America’s national interests, he said.
Romberg also said that Chen’s statement is not an “action plan, ” and one should not over-read the practical significance of his remarks. “It is no more realistic now than before to expect he can bring about the changes he calls for, nor is it clear whether he actively plans to seek most of these measures in the remaining year of his term,” he said.
(By Jorge Liu and Lilian Wu)