Taiwan's leader asks for higher level of communication with the US

Other News Materials 26 February 2008 17:17 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian Tuesday asked the United States for an upgrade in the level of communication between the two countries in order to avoid misunderstandings and resolve disputes.

"It is very important to have high level interactions between the two sides," said Chen in a meeting at his office with Randall Schriver, former US deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific relations, and Dan Blumenthal, US senior director for China, Taiwan and Mongolia in the Secretary of Defense's Office of International Affairs.

Chen said Taiwan used to have a high-level communications channel with top US authorities, but this channel was replaced by the United States' quasi-embassy in Taipei several years ago.

This latter channel simply was not adequate, Chen said.

Taiwan and the US do not have official relations, but Washington has long been an informal ally of Taiwan and its biggest arms supplier. Formerly cordial bilateral relations have been affected by a series of moves toward formal independence from China since Chen became president in 2000.

Wary of escalating tension between Taiwan and China, which have been rivals since the two sides split at the 1949 end of a civil war, Washington has repeatedly warned Chen against provoking China, which has vowed to attack the island should it declare independence.