US’ election focus is stability: ex-AIT chief


TAIPEI — U.S. stance on Taiwan’s upcoming presidential election is mainly related to its concern about peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, according to former American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Taipei Director Douglas Paal.

“The U.S. position is to support continuation of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” the former U.S. representative in Taiwan said yesterday after his arrival in Taiwan to observe the Jan. 14 presidential poll.

Paal said the U.S. will support any Taiwan administration that backs peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, whether the government is led by incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou or Tsai Ing-wen of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

If the government of President Ma supports cross-strait peace, the U.S. government will support that administration, Paal said.

“If the Tsai party or future Tsai government also supports peace and stability, they will also receive U.S. support,” he said. ‘1992 Consensus’ In an interview with CNA, Paal also expressed his views on the dispute between Taiwan’s two major political parties over the “1992 Consensus” — a tacit cross-strait understanding reached in 1992 that there is only “one China,” with each side free to interpret what that means.

The incumbent Kuomintang (KMT) recognizes the existence of such a consensus, while the pro-independence DPP does not.

Commenting on the issue, Paal noted that mainland Chinese officials appeared flexible last year on the interpretation of “one China.”

Even PRC officials last year were saying they could accept different formulas for “one China,” “but there has to be some formula for ‘one China,’ and ‘1992 Consensus,’” Paal said.

He continued by saying that because the “DPP 10-year program outlook did not include a ‘one China’ position, the opportunity and flexibility were lost sometime during 2011.” Safe, Democratic Election