Secretary of state nominee reaffirms Taiwan relations
WASHINGTON -- U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for his secretary of state reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to Taiwan, based on the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and the Six Assurances, during a Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday for his nomination as the top U.S. diplomat.
"We've made an important commitment to Taiwan," through the TRA and the six assurances, and such commitments should be reaffirmed, said former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, in response to questions from U.S. Senator Cory Gardner regarding the Trump administration's position on Taiwan and the "one China policy."
"I think it's important that Taiwan knows we're going to live up to the commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act and the six issues accord," he added.
"That in itself is a message," he said, adding that the U.S. should recognize the "balancing forces" in its relationship with China that need to be dealt with.
In response to the question on the Trump administration's position on the "one China policy," Tillerson said he was not aware of "any plans to alter the one China position."
Tillerson's remarks came after Trump said in an interview with Fox News in December that he saw no reason why the U.S. should continue abiding by the "one China" policy — under which Washington recognizes the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China, unless Beijing is prepared to enter into some kind of bargain.
His remarks have triggered serious concerns from China.
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."
The Six Assurances given to Taiwan in 1982 by then-President Ronald Reagan include U.S. pledges not to set a date for ending arms sales to Taiwan, not to hold prior consultations with China regarding arms sales to Taiwan, and not to play a mediation role between Taiwan and China.
They also include assurances that the U.S. will not revise the TRA, alter its position regarding Taiwan's sovereignty, or pressure Taiwan to enter into negotiations with China.