U.S.-Taiwan Relations: Looking Ahead
Ambassador Raymond Burghardt
Chairman, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT)
Cross-Taiwan Strait relations took a dramatic turn in 2008 with the election of Ma Ying-jeou as president. Since then, sixteen agreements have been reached; tensions have been reduced to unprecedentedly low levels; and the robust two-way flow of goods, services and people is now an established pattern. While the United States has not involved itself directly in this process, it has encouraged the development of such ties, especially welcoming the fact that the threat of military confrontation has subsided so dramatically. Since normalization of relations with the PRC in 1979, U.S.-Taiwan unofficial economic, political, and security relations have also remained close and deepened. Still, the United States has some important economic issues with Taiwan, and questions about the future U.S. role in security-related matters remains of concern to people in Taiwan, the PRC and the United States. At a roundtable discussion hosted by the Stimson Center, Ambassador Burghardt addressed these and other issues as he took a look at the road ahead for U.S.-Taiwan relations.
Ambassador Raymond Burghardt has had a long and distinguished diplomatic career, including as Ambassador to Vietnam and Special Assistant to President Reagan and Senior National Security Council Director for Latin American Affairs. He has had deep involvement in U.S.-Taiwan relations for many years, having been Director of AIT in Taipei from 1999-2001 and Chairman of AIT’s Board since 2006. Having served also both in Shanghai as Consul General and in Beijing as Political Counselor, Ambassador Burghardt has also had personal experience dealing with cross-Strait issues from the other side of the Strait. Concurrently with his AIT responsibilities, Ambassador Burghardt directs the East-West Seminars at the East-West Center in Honolulu, where he has been since January 2005.