Although the US encourages improvements in the Taiwan-China relationship, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a recent interview that she wants to remind people that the US has a strong relationship with Taiwan, and would like to see, "Taiwan have real space in the international community."
According to reports monitored by The Point, Rice made the comments in an interview with the Wall Street Journal editorial board recently.
She was responding to a question whether the election of President Ma Ying-jeou had opened an opportunity to improve the relationship between the US and Taiwan.
"Look, our relations with Taiwan are not bad," Rice said. "We were concerned that some of the things that [former president] Chen Shui-bian tended to do were just outright provocative and we had to say so."
Rice went on to say that she thinks the UN membership referendum held alongside the presidential election, "was just provocative."
She said that the US has been encouraging improvements in cross-strait relations, but she also wants to "remind everybody that the United States has a relationship with Taiwan as well, and that we want to see things like Taiwan have real space in the international community, like through the WHO."
While saying the referendum was a provocative move, Rice stressed that "we also want to make sure that China understands that it's not just provocative behaviour on the part of Taiwan that we would oppose, but provocative behavior on the part of China."
As Rice has said she believes that the dynamics in the cross-strait relations have changed, she also said that the US would keep an eye on future developments.
Asked for comment, political commentator Paul Lin said he thought that Rice made the statement because the US realised the cross-strait relationship has developed too rapidly following Ma's election, and wants to slow it down to a more reasonable speed.
"Before, the US had Taiwan under a lot of pressure and had been very friendly to China," Lin told the Taipei Times via telephone. "After Ma's election, the US should be putting more pressure on China so that the two sides of the Strait can be balanced."
"But the statement should've come much earlier, and the pressure [on China] should be much heavier than this," he said.