US sec­re­tary of state re­it­er­ates US com­mit­ment to Tai­wan Re­la­tions Act

The China Post - - LOCAL -

U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry re­cently re­it­er­ated Wash­ing­ton’s com­mit­ment to help­ing Tai­wan de­fend it­self un­der the Tai­wan Re­la­tions Act (TRA) and also com­mended a peace ini­tia­tive pro­posed by Pres­i­dent Ma Ying-jeou to ad­dress ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes in the re­gion.

Con­sis­tent with the TRA, “we con­tinue to make avail­able de­fense ar­ti­cles and ser­vices to en­able Tai­wan to main­tain a suf­fi­cient self-de­fense ca­pa­bil­ity,” Kerry said in a writ­ten state­ment in re­sponse to ques­tions from the House Com­mit­tee of For­eign Af­fairs.

The TRA was en­acted in 1979 to main­tain com­mer­cial, cul­tural and other unof­fi­cial re­la­tions be­tween the U.S. and Tai­wan af­ter Wash­ing­ton switched diplo­matic recog­ni­tion from Taipei to Bei­jing. The TRA also re­quires the U.S. “to pro­vide Tai­wan with arms of a de­fen­sive char­ac­ter.”

In re­sponse to ques­tions on mar­itime dis­putes in Asia, Kerry noted that the his­toric fish­ery agree­ment signed be­tween Tai­wan and Ja­pan in 2013 can serve as a model for pro­mot­ing re­gional sta­bil­ity de­spite con­flict­ing mar­itime claims.

The ex­is­tence of com­pet­ing mar­itime claims “does not and should not pre­clude claimants from find­ing peace­ful and ef­fec­tive ways to share and man­age re­sources re­spon­si­bly,” he said.

“This prin­ci­ple, which is enun­ci­ated in the East China Sea Peace Ini­tia­tive, is rel­e­vant across mar­itime Asia.”

The peace ini­tia­tive, pro­posed by Pres­i­dent Ma in Au­gust 2012, paved the way for Tai­wan and Ja­pan to sign the fish­ery agree­ment to ad­dress fish­ing dis­putes in wa­ters sur­round­ing the dis­puted Diaoyu­tai Is­lands in the East China Sea.

Un­der the terms of the agree­ment, both Tai­wanese and Ja­panese fish­er­men are al­lowed to op­er­ate freely in a des­ig­nated area.

In light of the dis­putes over the is­lands in the re­source-rich East China Sea re­gion, the Ma pro­posal also ad­vo­cated the prin­ci­ples of safe­guard­ing sovereignty, shelv­ing dif­fer­ences, seek­ing peace and rec­i­proc­ity and pur­su­ing joint ex­plo­ration.

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