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中国时间: 08:43 2016年12月03日星期六

专访美国在台协会主席薄瑞光(中英全文)


美国之音VOA卫视6月22日在华盛顿独家专访了美国在台协会主席薄瑞光大使(Ambassador Raymond Burghardt)。薄瑞光在这次专访中谈到了目前台海局势、美台关系等一系列范围广泛的敏感议题。以下是采访全文的中文翻译以英文实录。

中文记录:

美国之音:我们知道台湾总统蔡英文两天后将在迈阿密转机前往巴拿马,并将在回程的中途停留洛杉矶,而您将在洛杉矶迎接她。您会跟蔡英文总统谈些什么?

薄瑞光:你知道这只是过境,并不是正式的访问。过境美国主要是为了让台湾总统的旅途更方便,可以给飞机加油等等。所以,一般来讲,这次过境对我们来说很有用,这让我们可以跟台湾总统对话,也可以跟国安顾问和外交部长这样的人同车而行。我们有很多议题要讨论,我知道你们的观众大概最感兴趣的是两岸问题,但是我觉得他们应该明白,美国和台湾之间虽然没有正式的外交关系,但是我们之间有很多事务往来。台湾是世界经济的重要参与者,它是我们第九大贸易伙伴,这对于一个只有2300百万人口的岛来说很了不起。我们跟台湾之间的贸易往来比跟意大利、巴西、印度等等都要多,而这些都是很大的国家。台湾有很多美国投资,美国也有很多台湾投资,我们有很多贸易和投资议题要谈。我们在全球领域有很多合作,比如公共卫生、帮助中东难民等等。所以我们有很多事要讨论,并不一定跟中国有关。

美国之音:那么在这些议题中,您认为美国和台湾之间目前最急需达成相互理解的议题是什么呢?

薄瑞光(Raymond Burghardt)简历

  • 1945年出生于纽约市
  • 1967年毕业于哥伦比亚大学
  • 1969年进入美国国务院
  • 1997年-1999年任美国驻上海总领事
  • 1999年-2001年任美国在台协会台北办事处处长
  • 2001年-2004年任美国驻越南大使
  • 2006年任美国在台协会主席

薄瑞光:我们目前并不一定有特别紧急的问题。和所有的关系一样,我们有一些多年来一直在讨论的问题,我们在这些问题上取得进展,希望能继续推动它们的进展。这就是我要说的。

美国之音:5月20日,蔡英文总统宣誓就职,您是美国派出参加蔡英文就职典礼的代表团成员之一,您在台湾都做了些什么?

薄瑞光:很荣幸成为代表团的成员,我们派出了很强大的代表团,我们的代表团由前美国贸易代表罗恩·柯克(Ron Kirk)和前副国务卿和国家情报总监约翰·内格罗蓬特(John Negroponte)率领,贸易关系和安全关系在任何关系中都是很重要的两个方面,所以我们在这两边派出了很资深的代表。在马英九总统任期的最后一天,我们与他会面,我们赞扬了马英九总统在他8年的任期中极大改善美台关系,同时我们也十分赞赏马总统在稳定两岸关系的问题上所取得的进展。我们相信两岸关系的稳定为我们在美台关系上取得的进步提供了重要的政治空间。所以那是一次很真诚的会谈,也是他最后的官方会面之一。之后在同一天,也就是就职典礼的前一天,蔡英文总统邀请我们代表团,我们五个人,去她的私人住所吃午餐并且会谈,那次会面持续了两个半小时。我要说,这种非常友善的姿态很大程度上象征了美国和台湾之间关系的重要性。之后我们在20号参加了就职典礼的活动。

美国之音:在她的就职演说中,蔡英文总统没有明确承认所谓的“九二共识”或者“一个中国原则”,但是她也没有否认,所以有很多人说,蔡英文总统是在刻意搅浑水。您同意吗?

薄瑞光:我认为她在讲话中展现了相当的弹性。如果你对比她之前在华盛顿所做的表述,她往前又走了几步。在这个问题上,弹性和创造力总是很重要,并不单单是现在,而是一直以来对海峡两岸都很重要。坦白说,一些模糊性对两岸来说也很重要。在马英九政府和中国达成的共识中也存在很多模糊性,那里可能也有不少“浑水”,但是它是有效的。

美国之音:你预计蔡英文作为总统,她处理两岸事务的方式和她谈论敏感议题的语气未来会发生变化吗?

薄瑞光:我们刚经历了选举期,人们在选举时总是有很多强硬的表态。我们还经历了过渡期,现在她已经宣誓就职了。我觉得,这段时期,就北京和台北密切观察对方的行动和言论而言,对双方都是很重要的时期。我不会预测蔡英文明天或一个月后具体会说些什么,我也不知道她会说些什么。但是我认为,北京和台北保持开放的心态,保持沟通是很重要的。在马英九上台后,我们美国很珍视的一点就是两岸恢复了定期的交流。如果两岸进行对话,如果他们有交流,这就意味着误传、误会、误判都可以避免。而缺乏沟通是陈水扁时期有时会令我们感到紧张的事情。所以这就是为什么不失去沟通很重要,我希望北京也理解这一点,愿意继续沟通。因为没有持续的沟通,什么问题都解决不了,什么事情也都无法继续。

美国之音:正如你刚刚提到的,最近我们注意到两岸之间的对话暂停了,很显然,在蔡英文总统上任后,两岸关系不如马英九政府时期那么热络。您担心两岸的关系会回到陈水扁当选总统后的那段困难时期吗?

薄瑞光:我认为北京决定不再继续或者说暂停和台湾的对话是不幸的,正如我刚说的,沟通是很重要的。我相信海峡两岸的华人看起来依然有好办法来相互沟通,无论是不是公开的。我希望双方可以找到一些方式来继续沟通,我认为这很重要。

美国之音:说到(陈水扁任期内两岸在沟通方面的)那段困难时期,您在陈水扁当选和宣誓就职的那段时期是驻台北的美国代表,据我们所知您当时帮助了缓解紧张局势。您当时做了些什么?有哪些经验是现在可以学习的?

薄瑞光:陈水扁总统从当选到就职之间的那段时期,我们多次见面,我们谈到了如何和大陆打交道等问题,我不知道这是不是有用。但是那个时候我刚从上海过去,在上海,我跟汪道涵有很好的关系,我和他见过很多很多次面,所以我对于中国如何看待这些议题有很好的理解,所以我可以跟陈水扁总统分享其中的一些经验和背景。

美国之音:您觉得两岸之间现在的这种不友好的“无交流”状态是不是正在成为误判的来源,而这些误判甚至有可能带来该地区的军事冲突?

薄瑞光:我们并不处在危机阶段。我觉得我们现在正处在观其行,听其言的阶段。我觉得只要有善意,两岸应该能找到好办法来沟通。我希望双方都有善意。

美国之音:目前台海的局势是否会促使美国在今年和之后几年增加对台军售?

薄瑞光:我们在军售、训练台湾军队以及为台湾军队提供咨询方面的决定,并不是基于每年发生的事件而定的,而是基于非常广泛和长期的美台军事互动,基于对台湾长期的需求的分析。并不只是 回应当下发生的事情。

美国之音:蔡英文总统已经承诺,台湾将协助美国的“重返亚太”战略。具体来说,台湾能够如何在这一点上协助美国呢?

薄瑞光:美国的“重返亚洲”战略经常被误读,“重返”或者说是“再平衡”的核心其实就是要给予亚洲更多的关注。一开始,它的实际意思基本就是少关注一点中东,多关注一些亚洲,因为坦白来讲亚洲对我们的利益更重要,而且也有更好的未来摆在我们面前,所以这才是这个战略真正的内涵。它其中涉及一些方面,比如贸易关系、安全关系,甚至简单到美国多出席亚洲的会议,投注更多的注意力,我们的领导层给亚洲更多的关注,这就是“重返”或者说“再平衡”的意义。台湾要怎么参与呢?就像我刚说的,台湾是我们很重要的贸易伙伴,改善我们和台湾的贸易关系。台湾是亚洲制造业供给链上很重要的一环,我们跟台湾商讨的很多议题都跟贸易问题、贸易政策相关,这些都会帮助“亚太再平衡战略”。我还要说一点,维持台海稳定。维持稳定有很多方面,包括保持威慑能力,所有这些都包括在台湾的角色当中。如果你要说台湾在帮助我们实现在亚太地区的整体目标——也就是一个稳定、富有成效和繁荣的亚太——当中扮有某种角色,那我会说,台湾的角色之一就是维持台海和平。

美国之音:我们目前看到南中国海的紧张局势升级,在南中国海的问题上,中国、台湾和美国都是利益相关方。从美方的角度来说,台湾应该在这个问题上扮演什么角色?

薄瑞光:我们对台湾没有具体要求。我们期待相关的各方能一起和平地解决这个问题,能避免可能加剧冲突的行为,澄清他们的声索是什么、不是什么。所有这些是各方都能做出的贡献,也包括台湾。

美国之音:当我们思考美国的对台政策的时候,必须考虑到的一点是,美国现在正在经历总统选举。美国内部的政治气候会对美国对台政策产生怎样的影响?您是否预计美国的对台政策在希拉里政府或者川普政府会发生重大变化?

薄瑞光:有一件很重要的事情就是,美国的对台政策——更广泛来说是美国对亚洲的政策——是美国在不论国内还是国际政策当中最容易让两党达成共识的方面之一。民主党政府和共和党政府在这个问题上几乎没有差别,也许在侧重点上有些微的偏差,但整体上还是具有很强的连续性,你甚至能在政府的人事安排上看出这一点。不管是谁赢得11月的总统大选,如果美国亚洲政策或者是美国对台政策出现明显改变,我会非常惊讶。

美国之音:您长期以来参与美国的对台事务,您跟民进党政府和国民党政府都打过交道,您觉得跟这两党打交道感觉有什么不同吗?

薄瑞光:并没有。我们讨论相同的问题,只是有不同的性格,和不同的人,不同的侧重点。国民党,尤其是在马英九的领导下,对中华民国的历史、在二战当中的贡献等问题非常关注,这些对于我们的关系可能没有根本的重要性,只是我们注意到了这一党派比较关注这些问题,历史叙事对于国民党很重要。而对于民进党来说,就是民主在台湾的出现,还有争民主的斗争,这是民进党的历史叙事。但这些更像是关系的背景画面而不是关系的核心。经济、贸易、安全、台湾在世界中的地位、帮助台湾争取在世界中的地位、帮助台湾能继续自主决定未来,这些关键的政策目标不会改变。

美国之音:在担任美国在台协会主任之前您是驻上海的总领事,能跟我们谈一些“92共识”的历史背景吗?这现在是一个很重要的议题。

薄瑞光:我觉得记得一件事很重要,我觉得所有中国人也都知道,“九二共识”这一说法是直到2001年才开始被使用的,不,是2000年。马英九的第一任国家安全顾问苏起首次使用了这个说法,来描述1992年达成的这项共识。在那之前,在所有我和汪道涵还有辜振甫会面中,他们从没有管它叫“九二共识”,因为这名字不存在。辜振甫有时候会说“九二谅解”(1992 Understanding)。

美国之音:可以分享一些您当初跟汪道涵打交道的故事吗?

薄瑞光:他(汪道涵)是一个很棒的人。汪道涵和辜振甫都算是早一代的华人,非常文雅,通晓中国文化、历史和艺术,而且非常愿意和人聊起这些。可能他喜欢和你讲中国明代瓷器,就像喜欢和你讲两岸关系一样。所以在这些层面来说,我很荣幸能认识他们。还有一件事对我们来说很有意思,那就是汪道涵和江泽民有着非常亲近的关系。我们后来意识到如果我们想解决一个问题,就只要和汪道涵讲就可以了,其中包括了中国加入世贸的美中双边谈判,1998年克林顿总统访华的安排。当我们在和北京谈判遇到困难的时候,我们就会去找汪道涵。我们达成共识后,他就说:“好,我去通天”。我们知道那是什么意思,他说会去找江泽民。问题解决了,而北京的外交部从来都不知道发生了什么。

美国之音:这和台湾政府的工作风格很不一样是吗?

薄瑞光:不,我不知道,我觉得这是华人的工作风格。

美国之音:回顾1996年台湾第一次总统选举到现在,您怎么看待台湾的民主进步和长期的变化。

薄瑞光:我认为,应该大力称赞台湾人民发展了台湾的民主。台湾不仅经济发展了,政治上也进步了。我们不只是从自由选举上看出这一点,还有新闻自由,那些有时有些狂野、但却是自由的新闻媒体。他们的公民社会也在发展,不管是工会、女性组织、青年组织等各种各样的群体,在台湾,这些非政府组织,他们都是自由的,他们不需要隶属于某一个由党来控制的网络或者框架,他们可以自由的表达成员的观点。我觉得台湾应该为此感到自豪。我们在台湾所看到的选举和就职是台湾第三次政党轮替。这是判断是否拥有民主的终极测试。我们同样看到——也从国民党和民进党那里听到——政权交接是非常平稳的,当然也有一些矛盾,但是基本上是平稳的,卸任的政府配合,给新任政府介绍情况,共享文件与机密。这是对民主社会真正的测试,台湾进行得很好。这次比上次好,上次比上上次好,这就是。。。

美国之音:进步。

薄瑞光: 对,进步。

美国之音:当我们向前看,思考两岸关系的未来,现在有一些对于可能的模式的讨论,比如欧盟模式或者芬兰模式,您在这个问题上的看法是什么?

薄瑞光:我记得我过去的老板温斯顿·洛德, 就是我在北京时的美国驻华大使,他说过,美国人不够聪明,无法想出办法,帮助海峡两岸的中国人解决他们的关系。我觉得这句话现在依然适用。你知道,我们在1982年对台湾作出了承诺,我们做出了几项承诺,其中一条是我们不会在中间斡旋,也不会在同大陆谈判的问题上,用任何方式给台湾施压。我认为这些承诺是好的,我想这也是北京不会反对的承诺。再回到你刚提出的“九二共识”的问题,无论它是辜振甫口中的“九二谅解”或“九二共识”或其它说法,这跟我们没有关系,我们不应该发表意见。两岸要用哪种形式来让他们能够对话,这是他们要解决的问题。这个问题根植于台湾和大陆关系的历史和中国内战的历史,美国试图卷入谈判进程或者在到底用哪种形式的问题上发表意见是不合适的。

专访美国在台协会主席薄瑞光(英文视频)

英语记录:

VOA: Thank you very much Ambassador Burghardt for sitting with us today, and as we know, two days from now, Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen will transit in Miami on her way to Panama and will stop over in Los Angeles on her return, and we know you are going to greet her in Los Angeles. So what are you going to talk about with her?

Ambassador Burghardt: Well, as you know these are transits, they’re not really visits, or official visits, they’re mostly to enable the Taiwan president to make the trip with convenience and to do refueling on the plane, things like that. The trips are useful for us to have a conversation with the Taiwan president, and also riding around in the car with people like the National Security Advisor and the Foreign Minister. We have lots of issues to talk about. I know people, your audience, are probably most interested in cross strait relations issues, but I think they should also understand that the United States and Taiwan, although we have an unofficial relationship, we have a lot of business to do with each other. Taiwan’s an important player in the world economy, it’s our ninth largest trading partner, which is extraordinary for an island of twenty three million people. We have more trade with Taiwan than we do with Italy or Brazil or India or other places that are enormously larger countries. Lots of American investment in Taiwan, lots of Taiwan investment in the United States, we have lots of trade investment issues to talk about, we cooperate on a lot of things around the world, public health issues, helping refugees in the Middle East. So we have lots of things to talk about that may not necessarily have anything to do with China.

VOA: But among all the issues, in your opinion, what are the most urgent ones that need to reach a mutual understanding between Taiwan and the United States at this very moment?

Ambassador Burghardt: We don’t necessarily have any urgent issues right away. As in any relationship there are issues that, in many cases, go on from year to year and you make progress on them, and you hopefully keep moving them forward, so that’s all I’ll say about that.

VOA: On May 20 President Tsai Ing-wen was sworn in. And you were a member of the U.S. delegation to Tsai Ing-wen’s inauguration, so what did you do in Taiwan?

Ambassador Burghardt: Well that was a great honor to be part of that delegation and we had a strong delegation, led by our former U.S. Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, and by our former Deputy Secretary of State, and Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte. So, you know trade relations, security relations are some of two key aspects of any relationship, and so we had very senior, former figures from both sides. On President Ma Ying-jeou’s last day in office we met with him and we complimented President Ma on the great improvements in U.S.-Taiwan relations over the eight years of his term. We also very much complimented President Ma on the progress he had made in stabilizing cross-strait relations and we have always believed that stability of cross-strait relations was, in fact provided an important basis for political space, you can say, for the progress that we made between Taiwan and the United States as well. So that was a very cordial meeting, and one of his last official meetings. We then, that very same day, the day before the inauguration, President Tsai invited our delegation of five to her private residence for a lunch, a meeting, that went on for two and a half hours and I would say that that very kind gesture very much I think sort of symbolized the importance that U.S.-Taiwan ties have. And then we attended the inaugural activities on the 20th.

VOA: In her inaugural speech President Tsai Ing-wen did not explicitly recognize the so-called “1992 Consensus” nor the “One China Policy”, neither did she deny it. So many are saying that Tsai Ing-wen was deliberately muddying the waters, do you agree?

Ambassador Burghardt: I think that she showed a fair amount of flexibility in what she said. If you compare her remarks with the earlier remarks she made here in Washington she took a few steps forward. I think, you know, this is an issue in which flexibility, creativity, are important, I think, have always been important, not just now, but have always been important for both sides of the strait, and frankly a certain amount of ambiguity has always been important for both sides of the strait. There was a lot of ambiguity in the understandings reached between the Ma administration and China as well, and probably a lot of muddy waters there, too, but it worked.

VOA: So do you expect the way she handles cross strait affairs and the tone with which she talks about sensitive topics will change in the future as a president?

Ambassador Burghardt: Look, we’ve gone through, we’ve had an election period, people make a lot of strong statements during election periods, we had the transition period in between, and now she’s been inaugurated. This is an important period for both sides, for both Beijing and Taipei, to carefully watch each other’s actions and statements. I think I’m not going to predict exactly what Tsai Ing-wen is going to say tomorrow or a month from now and I don’t know what she’s going to say. But I think that it’s very important for both Beijing and Taipei to keep open minds, and very important to maintain communication. One of the things that we prized, we the United States prized very much after Ma Ying-jeou took office was the restoration of regular communication across the strait. If the two sides are talking to each other, if they have that communication that means that miscommunication, misunderstanding, miscalculation, can all be avoided. And the lack of that communication was something that sometimes made us nervous during the Chen Shui-bian period. So that’s why it’s important to not lose that, and so I hope that Beijing also understands that and wants to continue communicating, because nothing is going to be fixed without continued communication and nothing’s going to continue without it.

VOA: Recently, as you’ve just mentioned, we noticed that talks across the strait have been suspended, and obviously after Tsai Ing-wen took office cross strait relationship is not as warm as it was under Ma Ying-jeou’s administration. Are you worried that cross strait relationship will return to the tough period under Chen Shui-bian’s administration?

Ambassador Burghardt: I think it’s unfortunate that Beijing decided to discontinue or to suspend the talks. As I said, communication’s important. I think Chinese do seem to have good way of figuring out how to communicate with each other, whether publically or not. So, I hope that the two sides can find some way to continue communicating, I think that’s very important.

VOA: Speaking of that tough period, you were the U.S. representative in Taipei when Chen Shui-bian was elected president and took office.

Ambassador Burghardt: That’s right.

VOA: So as far as we know, you helped ease tensions in those days, so what did you do and what lessons can we learn from your experience in all of this?

Ambassador Burghardt: During the period between President Chen’s election and his inauguration we met many times, and we talked about how he was going to deal with the mainland and we talked about other issues, I don’t know if it helped. I had just come from Shanghai, and so in Shanghai I had a very good relationship with Wang Daohan, and I had met with him many, many times and so I had a pretty good understanding of how China saw the issues, so I was able to share with President Chen some of that experience and background.

VOA: Do you see the current hostile noncontact thing as becoming a source of miscalculation which could even lead to military conflicts in that region?

Ambassador Burghardt: We’re not at a crisis stage. I think we’re at a stage where there’s a lot of watching each other, and listening to each other. And I think that with good will, the two sides should be able to find a way to continue to communicate. I hope there is good will on both sides.

VOA: Will the current situation in the cross strait drive the increase in U.S. arms sales to Taiwan this year and the years to come?

Ambassador Burghardt: Our decisions on arms sales, our decisions on training for the Taiwan military, or on consultations with them is not driven by events that occur from year to year. It occurs according to very long range and long term interaction between our two militaries, looking at Taiwan’s long term analyses, what Taiw an’s needs are, over a long period of years. It doesn’t react to that way, to current events.

VOA: Tsai Ing-wen has promised that Taiwan will assist in the U.S. strategy of the pivot to Asia. So more specifically speaking, how could Taiwan assist the United States in this regard?

Ambassador Burghardt: The pivot to Asia is often misunderstood. The main thing about the pivot, or the rebalancing, is simply to pay more attention to Asia, essentially at the beginning that’s what it really meant, to pay less attention to the Middle East and more attention to Asia, because Asia is frankly more important to our interests and has a better future ahead of it, so that’s what it really is all about. There are aspects of that that relate to economic and trade relations, to the security relationship, just the United States simply showing up more at meetings in Asia and giving it more attention, our leadership giving Asia more attention, that’s what the rebalancing and pivot is really all about. How does Taiwan fit in? Well, Taiwan is, as I said, a very important trade partner, improving our trade relationship with Taiwan, Taiwan is an important part of the supply chain for manufacturing in Asia, so there are many issues we work on with Taiwan, dealing with trade issues and trade policy issues, all of which fit into the rebalancing. And I would also say, maintaining stability across the Taiwan Strait, and maintaining stability of course has a number of aspects to it, including maintaining a deterrent capability. All of that is part of Taiwan’s role. If you want to say that Taiwan has a role to contribute toward our overall goal, which is a stable and productive and prosperous Asia Pacific region, I would say that part of Taiwan’s role is to keep the strait peaceful.

VOA: Also we’ve seen the recent rising tension in the South China Sea, and on this issue Taiwan, China, United States, are all stakeholders, so from the U.S. perspective what kind of role should Taiwan play on this matter?

Ambassador Burghardt: Look, we don’t have any sort of specific request of Taiwan, we look toward all parties involved to resolve this issue in a peaceful way, to avoid actions which exacerbate tensions, to be clear about what their claims are and what they’re not. All of those are contributions which any of the parties could make, including Taiwan.

VOA: When we think about U.S. policy on Taiwan we have to take into consideration that the United States is undergoing a presidential election right now, so how could the domestic political climate impact the U.S. policy on Taiwan and do you foresee any significant change in U.S.-Taiwan policy under either the Hillary administration or Donald Trump administration?

Ambassador Burghardt: One of the things that’s quite remarkable is that U.S., not just policy toward Taiwan, but U.S.-Asia policy in general has been one of the most strongly bipartisan aspects of U.S. policy either domestic or foreign. It has very little variation from Democratic to Republican administrations. Slight little shifts of emphasis, but overall there’s great continuity and you even see that among personnel sometimes in the administration, so I would be very surprised if there were any significant changes in U.S.-Asia policy or in U.S. policy regarding Taiwan regardless of who wins the presidency in November.

VOA: You have a long history of involvement with Taiwan, you’ve worked with both the DPP administration and the KMT administration. Does it feel different to deal with these two different parties?

Ambassador Burghardt: Not really. I mean we talk about the same issues and same things. Different personalities, different people, different emphasis. The KMT, particularly under Ma Ying-jeou, had a great interest in the Republic of China’s history--ROC history, its contribution during the WWII, those kind of things. These are not things fundamentally important to our relationship, but there are things that we noticed these administrations are interested in, so that whole historical narrative is important for KMT. In the case of the DPP, it’s the emergence of democracy on Taiwan, and the fight for democracy on Taiwan. That’s their historical narrative, but those are more sort of the background painting of the relationship rather than the core of the relationship. The economic issues, the trade issues and the security issues, Taiwan’s place in the world, helping Taiwan with its place in the world, helping Taiwan to continue to be able to have the ability to determine its own future, all of those key policy goals really don’t change.

VOA: Prior to becoming the director of the AIT, you served as a counsel general in Shanghai, would you please share some historical background of the “1992 Consensus”, which is a very important issue right now.

Ambassador Burghardt: It’s important to remember, I think everyone in China knows, the term 1992 consensus was not used by anyone until 2001, no, 2000. Su Qi, President Ma’s first national security advisor was the first person to use that term, to describe the understanding that had been reached in 1992, before that, I mean, in all the times that I met with Wang Daohan or Koo Chen-fu, they never called it that, they never called it the 1992 consensus, because the name didn’t exist. Koo Chen-fu would sometime just call it 1992 Understanding.

VOA: Would you please share some stories about how you worked with Wang Daohan back in those days?

Ambassador Burghardt: He was a wonderful man, both Wang Daohan and Koo Chen-fu were, sort of, Chinese of an earlier generation, very refined people with the deep understanding of Chinese culture and history and art, who would love to talk to you about any of those subjects, probably just as happy talking to you about Chinese porcelains from Ming Dynasty, as talking to you about cross-strait relations. It was very enjoyable personally to know them both on that kind of basis. I would say the other thing that was very interesting to us was that Wang Daohan had a very close relationship with Jiang Zemin, so we came to realize that we could sometimes solve issues by simply talking to Wang Daohan about them. That included negotiations over the bilateral US-China negotiations over China’s WTO accession, the arrangements for President Clinton’s 1998 visit to China. When we got frustrated negotiating in Beijing, we would turn to Wang Daohan, and if we reached an agreement, he would say “ok, woqutongtian”. I’ll go touch heaven, and we knew what that meant, that he would going to meet with Jiang Zemin, and then the problem was solved, and the Foreign Ministry in Beijing never knew what happened.

VOA: That’s very different from the workstyle of the Taiwan administration, right?

Ambassador Burghardt: No, I don't know, I think it’s the Chinese work style.

VOA: Looking back to 1996, from the first presidential election in Taiwan to the present, what have you seen in Taiwan in terms of the development of democracy, and any other long term change that is really setting in?

Ambassador Burghardt: I think the people of Taiwan, deserve a great deal of credit for the development of democracy in Taiwan, it shows not only did Taiwan have developed economically, but also developed politically. We see that not only in having free elections, but also in a very free press, sometimes rather wild press, but it is a free press. We see development of a civil society, whether it’s labor unions, women’s organizations, youth organizations, groups of all kinds in Taiwan, NGOs, they are free, they don’t have to belong to some kind of party controlled network or framework, they are free to express the views of their members. And I think Taiwan should be very proud of that, what we just saw in Taiwan in terms of the election and inauguration, was the third time that Taiwan has switched from one political party to another, and that’s the ultimate test of whether you have a democracy. And what we also saw, and we heard from both sides, from both the KMT and DPP, was that the transition, had worked pretty smoothly, there are always some tensions, but basically it was smooth, the outgoing administration cooperated, briefed the new incoming administration, shared documents, shared secrets, that is the real test of a democratic system, and it worked pretty well, and it worked better than last time, and last time worked better than the time before, so that’s progress.

VOA: When we look ahead, and think about the future of the relationship between Taiwan and China, there have been talks about the possible models, such as EU model or Finland model, what is your thought on this?

Ambassador Burghardt: I remember my former boss, Winston Lord, was ambassador in Beijing when I was there, he said that Americans are not smart enough to be able to figure out how the Chinese on the two side of the strait should work out their relationship with each other, I think that wisdom still applies. You know, we made a commitment to Taiwan in 1982, we made several commitments, but among them was, we would not try to mediate, and we would not pressure Taiwan in anyway on negotiation with the Mainland. And I think those were good commitments, I think those were commitments that probably Beijing wouldn’t have any argument with. Again, going back to your question about 1992 consensus, whether it’s the 1992 Understanding of Koo Chen-fu or the 1992 Consensus, or some other formula, it’s not our business, to have an opinion on that. The formula that the two sides use in order to be able to have talks, that’s something that they have to figure out. It’s something that’s inherently embedded in the history of relations between Taiwan and the Mainland, and the whole history of the Chinese Civil War, and so it would be inappropriate for the US try to get involved in that negotiation process, or to have an opinion about one formula or another.

VOA: Thank you very much Ambassador.

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