Paal’s remarks are not official US policy: AIT

By Joseph Yeh,The China Post

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) yesterday stressed that the recent comments made by its former director Douglas H. Paal do not represent United States government’s stance, and reassuring Taiwan that Washington takes a neutral stance on the Saturday elections. “Paal is a private citizen, he does not work for the AIT, nor for the U.S. government,” AIT spokesman Christopher Kavanagh told reporters yesterday when asked to comment on Paal’s TV interview Thursday that was seen by many as an open endorsement of President Ma Ying-jeou’s campaign. “His statements are his own personal views and they do not represent U.S. government policy,” the spokesman said. “Tomorrow Taiwan will be holding another presidential election and the United States will be happy wirh whomever the people of Taiwan select, and we will work with that person to promote our mutual interests,” he added. During a television interview with a local cable news channel Thursday, Paal said the U.S. finds the possibility of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ruling Taiwan threatening, and views DPP candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s “Taiwan Consensus” as impractical. Paal, who served as AIT director from 2002 to 2006, also pointed out the “1992 Consensus” is a “creative ambiguity” which China actually does believe in.

“The ‘1992 Consensus’ remains the best policy choice for Taiwan in the next four years,” Paal asserted. Paals’ comment was seen as an endorsement for Ma’s re-election campaign and raised concerns about U.S. interference in Taiwan’s heated elections. Paal arrived in Taipei earlier this week on the invitation of the local Cross-Strait Interflow Prospect Foundation to observe Taiwan’s fifth presidential election since its transition to democracy. DPP’s Protest

The former American official’s remarks on the “1992 Consensus” immediately drew heavy criticism from the DPP. Party spokesman Chen Chi-mai said the remarks do not represent the official U.S. stance, but are yet another election campaign ploy of the ruling party.

Noting that Paal is a retired official who served during the previous U.S. administration, Chen said his remarks cannot represent the current U.S. administration’s position on the cross-strait issue.

The KMT was using Paal’s comments in the hope of creating a false impression that he represents the official U.S. stance, Chen said.