DPP Chair Su Tseng-chang urges cooperation among Asian-Pacific democracies to resolve regional tensions in meeting with AIT Chairman Raymond Burghard

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chair Su Tseng-chang met with Mr. Raymond Burghardt, Chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), on Monday, December 9. Both sides exchanged their in-depth views on various issues, including China's recent unilateral announcement of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea that triggered regional tensions. Chair Su reiterated once again that Asian-Pacific democracies should work together to diffuse regional tensions.

Chair Su mentioned that instabilities still exist in the East China Sea, as seen by tensions that flared up during Burghardt’s visit to Taiwan in February of this year, and then again more recently after China unilaterally announced its ADIZ. South Korea also announced its newly expanded ADIZ after the US Vice President Joe Biden visited Japan, China and Korea last week.

Chair Su noted that after China’s ADIZ announcement, countries such as the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Australia immediately demanded Beijing to revoke this act that unilaterally altered the status quo in the region. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida also openly urged Taiwan to work with other countries to maintain regional peace.

The DPP promptly asked the Ma administration to bring its response in line with the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Australia. Chair Su emphasized that the DPP’s position fits into the idea of the “Asia-Pacific Democratic Alliance” that he proposed during a February visit to Japan, which aims to maintain regional stability and resolution of conflict. On the other hand, the Ma administration has been too slow, too weak, and too ambiguous in response to China's announcement, said Chair Su. It was not until two days ago did President Ma Ying-jeou criticize Beijing’s action as “unhelpful to the development of cross strait relationship,” in an interview with Japanese media.

Mr. Burghardt reiterated that the United States does not recognize China’s ADIZ announcement, a point the US Vice President Joe Biden made in his trip to East Asia. The White House and Department of State have also clearly expressed the US policy in their statements, said Burghardt.

Mr. Burghardt also inquired about the DPP’s progress in formulating its China policy. Chair Su replied that DPP is in the process of compiling the conclusions from the four China Affairs Committee meetings as well as many expanded panel discussions attended by representatives of diverse backgrounds, including those from the KMT. Chair Su also said that the DPP invited more than 30 Chinese students to participate in an exchange camp to foster their understanding of the DPP and Taiwan’s democracy. The group went to the Green Island to visit the Human Rights Culture Park. Mr. Burghardt was pleased to hear about such a development.

Chairman Burghardt is currently in Taiwan on one of his regular visits. Mr. Liu Shih-chung, director of the DPP’s Department of International Affairs, also attended the hour-long meeting.