Flag-raising ceremony doesn’t affect ties: US

By Joseph Yeh ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The first New Year’s Day flag-raising ceremony in 36 years held by Taiwan at the Twin Oaks estate, the former residence of R.O.C. ambassadors to the U.S., has not led to any change in Washington-Taipei relations, a U.S. government spokesperson said Monday. Taiwan’s de facto embassy in the U.S. held an R.O.C. flag-raising ceremony last Thursday at Twin Oaks, marking the first time such a ceremony was held in the facility in 36 years since the U.S. switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979. The ceremony, later drawing strong protest by Beijing, was seen by the Taiwanese government as a sign of a major breakthrough in Taiwan-U.S. relations.

Asked to comment on the ceremony during a regular briefing Monday, Jen Psaki, a spokesperson of the U.S. State Department, however, stressed that Washington had no knowledge of the ceremony beforehand. ��We did not know about the Jan. 1 flag-raising at Twin Oaks in advance. The ceremony is not consistent with U.S. policy.�� ��We remain fully committed to the U.S. One China Policy, based on the three communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act. No U.S. Government personnel attended the event in any capacity,�� she added. Asked to comment if the ceremony means a stronger ties between Taiwan and the U.S., Psaki stressed that ��nothing has changed as it relates to our relationship.�� Meanwhile, in Taipei, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anna Kao (���w) yesterday said that the R.O.C. government understands the U.S.’ stance toward the issue when asked to comment on the U.S.’ lukewarm response toward the ceremony.

Bilateral Communication Going Smoothly ��We understand the U.S. side has to make such comments for the consistency of its policy,�� Kao said. Kao said the U.S. has also stressed that Taipei-Washington ties have not changed. The spokeswoman added that the communication between both sides has been going smoothly and progress has been made in bilateral exchanges on various issues over the past years. ��We value our relations and will continue to improve ties based on the existing strong foundation,�� she noted. Twin Oaks was the official residence of R.O.C. ambassadors to the U.S. between 1937 and 1978. Taiwan was able to retain ownership of the property after Washington severed official ties with the R.O.C. and recognized the People’s Republic of China in 1979. For most of the time since, only cultural and social events have been allowed at Twin Oaks. But as mutual trust between Taiwan and the U.S. improved, Taiwan’s representative office was able to celebrate the R.O.C. National Day again at the venue in 2011, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the R.O.C.