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2009-11-30 | AIT Chairman Raymond Burghardt

AIT Chairman Raymond Burghardt

OT0926E | Date: 2009-11-31
AIT Chairman Raymond Burghardt  (Photo: AIT Chairman Raymond Burghardt)

AIT Chairman Raymond Burghardt (Photo: AIT Chairman Raymond Burghardt)


Press Roundtable, Raymond Burghardt, Chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan (at American Cultural Center, Taipei), November 24, 2009
Press Roundtable, Raymond Burghardt, Chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan (at American Cultural Center, Taipei), November 24, 2009

Chairman Burghardt: Good evening, it's nice to be with you.

As you know, I've been here since Sunday night and I've had meetings with President Ma, a separate meeting with National Security Advisor Su Chi, I've met with the new Foreign Minister, I met with the Prime Minister, with my old friend the Vice President, Vincent Siew who is looking pretty healthy, I must say. I also met with Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen. I've had two separate lunch meetings with groups of business leaders, yesterday and today, with a number of academic experts representing the two hues of Taiwan politics.

So I have a statement I'd like to begin with which will kind of summarize what I've been doing here and how we think about some things and then we can open it up for questions.

I kind of assume that everyone here has read all of the briefings which were given by White House spokespersons and by my friend Jeff Bader, the Senior Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, and by Ambassador Jon Huntsman, another old friend, which they gave in Beijing concerning President Obama's meetings there and on his Asia trip in general, so I will not repeat all the good information you can get from those briefings.

I will focus my comments, my remarks this afternoon on Taiwan and how it was covered during the President's trip.

We understand very well in Washington that there is always a certain level of anxiety in Taiwan whenever an American President visits Beijing and that's completely understandable. Those of us who have lived here, those of us who know and love Taiwan certainly understand that. That is exactly why the AIT Chairman of the day almost always makes these trips right after a visit by an American President to Beijing. And we also have a good deal of interaction with Taiwan before and after the trip also, through TECRO or in Washington or here directly by AIT.

What I'm going to tell you about the trip comes from my own long meetings in Washington at the end of last week with the senior people who traveled with the President. I met with them literally immediately after they got off the plane. I spent two hours on Friday morning with Jeff Bader. It was like the only reason he came into the office that day was to meet with me and with Dave Shear, our Deputy Assistant Secretary for China. Then I spent a similar amount of time in the afternoon with Kurt Campbell, our Assistant Secretary for Asia. They basically downloaded to me their impressions of the trip, impressions of the President on the trip, impressions of Asia, of the kind of message we were getting around the region, and then on the issue of Taiwan we went line by line on what was said.

Frankly, that didn't take very long, that part, because there wasn't that much discussion about Taiwan, and I'll get to that.

Let me just say that President Obama's public and private remarks in China were entirely consistent with America's longstanding policies toward Taiwan. In his meeting with President Hu Jintao, President Obama made clear that U.S. policy toward Taiwan would not change, including our commitment to meet the self defense needs of Taiwan.

I would also draw your attention to the statement made by Jeff Bader of the NSC at the Brookings Institution just before the President's trip in which he stated that arms sales to Taiwan will continue in this administration.

I can affirm that U.S. private and public statements in Beijing, including the U.S.-China Joint Statement, do not represent any change whatsoever in the U.S. position concerning sovereignty over Taiwan. The U.S. position concerning the status of Taiwan is contained in the U.S.-China Joint Communiques of 1972 and 1979 in which we stated that the U.S. "acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China." That was the last time we ever made a statement concerning the status of Taiwan.

For 37 years we have made clear that "acknowledges" does not mean recognize, does not mean accept, does not mean anything else except acknowledges. On a number of occasions in the past 37 years there have been efforts to press the United States to take a more specific position regarding sovereignty over Taiwan, or to define Taiwan in political terms. We have never agreed to do so. We have always urged that any issues between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait must be resolved peacefully and with the assent of the people on both sides of the strait.

Before closing I would like to clarify a few points concerning the Joint Statement.

First, none of the three Joint Communiques, of the three U.S.-China Joint Communiques, nor any previous joint statements with China mentioned the Taiwan Relations Act. There was zero possibility that China would have agreed to include it in this statement.

Second, only one paragraph in the Joint Statement is relevant to Taiwan. This is the paragraph that begins, "The U.S. and China underscored the importance of the Taiwan issue in U.S.-China relations" et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. In that paragraph there is a statement that "China", note unilaterally, "emphasized that the Taiwan issue concerns China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," et cetera.

In this paragraph, second to the point, in this same paragraph there is a statement that, "The United States welcomes the peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait and looks forward to efforts by both sides to increase dialogues and interactions in economic, political and other fields and develop more positive and stable cross-strait relations."

There has been some speculation, some over-analysis about the significance of this sentence. I would just note that over the years there have been numerous exhortations by U.S. officials including myself when I was the Director here in Taipei, urging cross-Strait negotiations, urging cross-Strait that there would be progress in cross-Strait relations. This statement should not be seen in any other light except as one more of one such statement. It should not be in any way interpreted as putting pressure on Taiwan to negotiate. Let me make clear that the pace, the timing, the issues to negotiate or not negotiate is completely up to Taiwan to decide. The U.S. has no view on these matters.

Lastly, concerning the Joint Statement. The next paragraph following the one we've just been talking about that talks about Taiwan, the only one that talks about Taiwan, there is a paragraph that begins, "The two countries reiterated that the fundamental principle of respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity is at the core of three U.S.-China Joint Communiques which guide U.S.-China relations."

This paragraph was negotiated solely to cover issues regarding Tibet and Xinjiang. The negotiating record is clear that this paragraph was not intended to concern Taiwan. That certainly was the U.S. understanding.

Finally, I will reaffirm that the Taiwan Relations Act is the core document that guides relations between the people of the United States and Taiwan.

That's my opening remarks and I would be interested in any questions on that subject or any of the other favorite subjects here. And please tell me which news organization you're from.

Question: From AFP.

The United States needs China more than ever, at least that's the public perception. The United States owes $800 billion to China, and on top of that the U.S. needs China's cooperation for a whole range of issues including global warming and the financial crisis and a lot of other issues.

Does it surprise you that China does not try to use that leverage to get concessions from the U.S. on Taiwan?

Chairman Burghardt: For decades there has been speculation, go back and look at the record 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, maybe not 30 years ago. At least 10 years ago, 20 years ago, oh, the United States needs China for this, it needs China for that. Oh, boy, that's really going to be tough for Taiwan. They're going to use that leverage and it's going to undermine the U.S. support for Taiwan. It never proved true in the past, it's not going to prove true this time either. It's kind of become a clich? of commentary about U.S.-China relations and how it might affect Taiwan. So clich?s die hard.

It was very clear in the talks in Beijing that Taiwan really was not the central subject on the minds of the people who we met with. It only came up twice in all of the time that the President was in Beijing. It came up once in the meeting with Hu Jintao -- in the extended meeting, not in the more private meeting; and it came up very briefly in Secretary Clinton's meeting with Dai Bingguo. It was a very short discussion.

Frankly, the discussions in Beijing were about all of the global and regional issues that you know about which have been briefed at great length by the people I mentioned, and I would say the other issue that seemed to be somewhat an obsession for the Chinese was Tibet. They raised that. They were obviously much more interested in trying to score points on Tibet than on Taiwan.

Question: I'm from the Wall Street Journal. I have two quick questions.

One is regarding military sales. In the past 18 months Washington has been evaluating Taiwan's procurement list, so could you give us some ideas what has slowed the process down and will we see any military sales soon?

Second question is regarding to Taiwan and U.S. trade issues. Taiwan has hoped to negotiate a free trade agreement with Washington after it signs ECFA with China. Do you think Taiwan is realistic on this issue? Thank you.

Chairman Burghardt: On arms sales, it's been 11 months since the notification to Congress and, I mean 13 months since the notification to Congress last October of the $6.5 billion package. We made clear at that time that there were a number of items that were not included in it, that those items were not rejected, that they would be considered in their time. As Jeff Bader said, there will be arms sales to Taiwan in this administration. So I'm not going to give you a date, but I would just remind you, take a look back at press coverage over the many years on arms sales to Taiwan. The crescendo of worry is, normally when it reaches a peak, that's usually when there's the next announcement about arms sales.

So I would say there will be arms sales. And those are the items we would obviously look at first because they're the ones left over, and we made clear at the time that it was a matter of timing.

As far as other issues like the F-16s, those will be, are being evaluated. No one's ever rejected the idea of selling F-16s to Taiwan, nor has there ever been a firm decision to say yes, we will do so. So we will see.

The second question was about FTA. As I think I maybe said the last time I was here, I think talking about negotiating new FTAs with anyone in the world is somewhat academic at this point. You can't negotiate an FTA until you have trade negotiating authority which the President no longer has, and there has not been a formal effort to get it again with the U.S. Congress. So once we do that maybe we can think about negotiating new FTAs with other countries.

Question: Ray [inaudible] from [inaudible].

Moderator: From Director Bill Stanton's talk today at the American Chamber of Commerce lunch he went into some depth about the trade and investment framework agreement and what's being done in that and what has been done in that so far. If you'd like to know more about what he said, I can share those remarks with you.

Chairman Burghardt: One thing on that, probably all of you are so knowledgeable of this subject you don't need this clarification, but I occasionally read things in the Taiwan press that are phrased in a way which suggests that the United States and Taiwan are now negotiating a trade and investment framework agreement. In fact the agreement was concluded I don't know how many years ago.

Moderator: 1994.

Chairman Burghardt: In 1994. We are implementing it through ongoing regular talks. We're not negotiating a trade and investment framework agreement. I apologize if I insult you by explaining that, but I keep seeing that all the time and it's --

Question: Max Hirsch, Japan's Kyodo News. They have an English language service.

Chairman Burghardt: Thank you for all your regular mailings to me.

Question: You mentioned that arms sales will continue in this administration, but the term arms sales is so general that it hardly means anything, particularly given the complicated nature of the arms procurement policy. There's a letter of request, there's P&A, there's congressional notification, and finally there's release, and I'm sure there are many steps in between those.

Can you be more specific? Because really, arms sales in this administration doesn't mean anything. Do you mean there will be congressional notification for additional arms sales? Or do you mean that those already notified will proceed? What does arms sales mean?

Chairman Burghardt: I would take issue with the statement that the term "arms sales" doesn't mean anything.

What it means to me is a completed sale. And obviously once you've completed all the sales, you can't continue unless you authorize new sales. So I'm not sure I understand the question.

I think this is another case of over-analysis. You can expect all of the above.

Question: All of the above?

Chairman Burghardt: What you just listed.

Question: There will be new items --

Chairman Burghardt: There will have to be.

Question: From AP.

In your conversations with, insofar as you would be willing to share the contents with us, in your conversations with President Ma and National Security Advisor Dr. Su, did you get a sense that on the F-16 sale the Taiwan side was willing to continue to display patience? Or was there a decreased level of patience? Or was there indifference? Thank you.

Chairman Burghardt: Obviously there wasn't indifference. That would be implausible, let's say.

There is a long history of these decisions taking a long time. I think people in Taiwan are used to the fact that they take a long time.

I would also say it took a long time before the original F-16 sale was made in 1993.

Other decisions have taken a long time. Rightly or wrongly, that's become the history of arms sales. The $6.5 billion notification last October took a long time. But as I think I used the phrase here before, all good things come to those who wait. So taking a long time doesn't mean things don't happen.

The other thing I would say is that between the Taiwan armed forces and the U.S. armed forces today there is, I think the whole process of working together to evaluate Taiwan's arms needs has actually gotten better. Since I've been Chairman the last four years, the last two years I think it's gotten better. I think it's very close cooperation, close work together to evaluate. That also I think gives Taiwan some comfort that there is constant interaction and discussion between us about precisely what Taiwan needs, why it needs it, how it fits into Taiwan's defense strategy. That's been a very positive thing.

Question: Jenny from the Taipei Times. Just two quick questions.

Now the beef question is almost out of the way. What is the next agriculture issue on the docket? Could it be U.S. pork? I understand a while ago that the residual level of ractopamine was an issue. So I just want to know what is the next agriculture issue on the docket?

The second question is, last time you were here you were asked by the press about asking China to remove the missiles that are pointed at Taiwan. Is that comment still stands today? Thank you.

Chairman Burghardt: I don't do pork. No, I'm sorry. I don't have really good information in which -- I could ask Rick Ruzicka who is the trade guy at AIT Washington, and I think probably many people here in AIT Taipei would be much more knowledgeable than I would be. There are a number of agricultural items including the ractopamine issue in pork. There's the whole issue, a sort of broader issue of minimal -- maximum residue levels and reaching agreement on that which means maximum residue levels of --

Moderator: Anything, pesticides, I suppose, or anything else.

Chairman Burghardt: Insecticides and so forth. It's a very serious issue and there's been a lot of negotiation about that.

Then there are issues involving rice and the rice market here also. Those are other issues. I can't give you the priority among those items.

About the issue of Taiwan's, of the missiles facing Taiwan, the number continues to grow. Contrary to what some Chinese general recently said that I read in one of your newspapers. The number continues to grow. It's something which is, it's hard to have a good explanation of it. It's a form of threat, that's the only way to look at it. And I would say yes, of course they should remove the missiles. But I would also say that that's only one piece of the picture. There are other military means by which China can threaten Taiwan. There is the overall posture of threat, the overall policy of threat as contained in a number of Chinese laws they promulgated over the years. So I think one has to be careful in looking at the missiles for all of their ugliness. They represent only one element of the issue of threat.

Question: Reuters. A couple of questions.

In light of the Chinese missile threat, does that raise the urgency of arms sales to Taiwan? And do you see an F-16 sale of any kind during the current Obama administration? Thanks.

Chairman Burghardt: The arms sales are based on looking at all the threats and all the contingencies that you can imagine. High performance aircraft like an F-16, I'm not a military expert, but it meets certain threats that probably do not include the missiles. Missiles, specifically missiles as a threat you deal with with things like PAC-III's. If I were a military expert I probably could suggest some other ways to deal with missiles as a threat.

So what you sell -- and remember it's not only sale of items, it's also designing training programs. It's also giving advice on how to protect yourself and how to, the kind of exercises you ought to have, how you ought to organize your military. It's a whole huge range of issues in which our two militaries interact. And which is a huge change in the way we work with each other which began in the Clinton administration and has continued ever since.

And all of that is part of the kind of defense relationship we have.

What was the second part of the question?

Question: [Inaudible]?

Chairman Burghardt: As I said, it hasn't been ruled out.

Question: Tim Culpan from Bloomberg News.

On the issue of military sales, Ma Ying-jeou said just a few months ago after the Morakot Typhoon that China is no longer the biggest threat to Taiwan, but nature is. He subsequently canceled 15 Black Hawks and then kind of had to do a backstep on that.

Is there a sense from the U.S. that perhaps Taiwan is not quite as urgent in its desire to buy weapons since Ma took office, given that there is a warming of ties across the strait? Is there a sense that maybe they don't feel they want to or need to buy weapons as previous administrations have perhaps felt?

Chairman Burghardt: I understand the question, it's a reasonable question in theory. In reality, I have to say I've not sensed that. I have sensed not only in meetings with President Ma, but at lower levels also, meetings I had at the Monterey talks at the level of Deputy Defense Minister and Deputy Security Advisor, meetings I've had separately with Su Chi or with the Defense Minister or with the Deputy Defense Minister in Charlottesville at the U.S. ASEAN Defense Industry Conference. All these meetings, I would say, and meetings that my colleagues, particularly my military colleagues have in the extraordinary amount of interaction that we have on an almost daily basis. Taiwan has its list of items it wants to buy, a list of equipment it thinks it needs or training it thinks it needs, and this is pushed in the same kind of urgency and the same kind of seriousness that it always has been. I really have not seen a difference.

Certainly I will disclose, I guess is the word. I'll say that on this trip the issue of arms sales and specifically of F-16s was definitely raised quite seriously by nearly everybody I met with. Including some people I wouldn't have expected to have brought it up because it's not really in their portfolio.

Question: Walter Liu Economic Daily.

Three questions on trade and economic issues between U.S. and Taiwan.

First, Director Stanton mentioned in his speech earlier today that the U.S. is [conferred] to work with Taiwan on the upcoming TIFA talks early next year. Can I ask, what does the U.S. expect from this talk? What might be the major topics?

Second, he mentioned that the U.S. is thinking about including more topics in TIFA talks. Possible candidates include energy, environment and labor. Can you elaborate on those issues?

Third, Director Stanton mentioned U.S. is thinking about innovative ways in exploratory talks of the Bilateral Investment Agreement, and how soon can we expect --

Chairman Burghardt: I'm sorry, innovative ways to do what?

Question: Exploratory talks of the Bilateral Investment Agreement between Taiwan and the U.S.

Chairman Burghardt: I didn't get the verb there.

Voice: Exploratory.

Chairman Burghardt: Oh, exploratory talks about an investment agreement.

Question: Yes. In that respect, how soon can we expect the two sides to start the formal negotiations of such agreement?

Thank you.

Chairman Burghardt: It sounds like Bill Stanton already went in some depth on some of these issues. More depth than I can do.

They're all excellent questions. I'm not sure I can give you very much more. As far as what the agenda would be under TIFA talks, I think much of it is fairly familiar. It's not only possible agreements, things like an investment agreement, an agreement on dual taxation, an agreement on, there's another one. But it's also industry-specific issues. We have industry-specific issues concerning pharmaceuticals which actually we seem to be making a little bit of progress on. We have a number of agricultural issues like some of the ones we just mentioned.

As far as exploratory talks about an investment agreement, for one thing I think we're going to have a visit here by a USTR official, it hasn't been announced yet, but I think somebody's going to come here very soon. As soon as this month. So I think that would be the occasion to begin talking about all these same issues. We'll make an announcement on that when it's firmed up, but it could be, this would be a visit here this month by people, responsible negotiators.

Question: [Inaudible]?

Chairman Burghardt: No, not specifically. It would be somebody who would be prepared to talk about any trade issue, and this could be one of them.

Question: [Inaudible].

Chairman Burghardt: It sounds like a good idea. Yeah.

Question: The Economist and Washington Post.

Inasmuch as you're able to share with us, what was the focus of Ma and Su Chi's concerns when they spoke with you? As much as you're prepared to share. Did it focus on the F-16s, or what was your impression that the main area of concern in U.S.-Taiwan relations, what was Ma and Su Chi's main concern? Thanks.

Chairman Burghardt: Actually they seemed pretty upbeat. Seriously. There was certainly not a tone in the meeting of woe is us, things are in bad shape. No, things were pretty upbeat. I think there was generally, certainly concerning President Obama's trip and how things came out on that, I'm sure that the Joint Statement wasn't exactly the way they might have written it themselves, and it's probably not the way that we would have written it unilaterally ourselves. But in general they understand the issues well enough and we've had enough discussions about the background to the various points in the Joint Statement that they were comfortable with it. And certainly quite happy about the private statements the President had made in Beijing.

There was discussion about some of the things, some of the same points that I discussed in my opening remarks about what some of the points meant or didn't mean in the Joint Statement and how to explain that publicly, and make sure people understood it. There was some talk about that.

A lot of the time, frankly, was taken up with me briefing them about the trip. Not just about the China part, but the other parts also.

We also discussed, in addition to discussing arms sales, visa waiver, all those things, and the status of all those issues, we also talked, there's no way to ever avoid everyone's favorite subject. Beef.

Question: You were quoted by some Taiwanese press calling the beef issue a phony issue, and you have been criticized by that. Some say that that comment is a reflection that you're meddling with domestic politics.

Can you explain what you meant by a phony issue, and your thoughts on the criticism that has been placed on you? Thank you.

Chairman Burghardt: I didn't know about the criticism, but I'm glad I said something that elicited criticism here.

I would say that I didn't mean that to be -- I think that unfortunately there have been people on both sides of the political coloration here, both blues and greens, who have seized on the issue as a convenient political topic. Most of those are people running in the election this year. Some of them aren't even running for a while, but I guess it's sort of a way to position themselves.

Look, I don't deny that there are people who are genuinely concerned about eating beef. There are people genuinely concerned about eating a lot of things. I'd say, and I know there are consumer groups that are active on the issue here. But I think there's no denying that it has also been seen by a number of politicians as sort of a godsend, something that was convenient and a conveniently timed issue to use in the campaign. I don't think many people would deny that.

Question: Could you go into a little more detail about the USTR planned trip this month? What are the key agenda points?

Chairman Burghardt: No. I probably shouldn't have even mentioned it, but I was trying to give an answer to the question back there. When we're ready to make an announcement on it we'll tell you all about it.

Question: A couple of weeks ago Beijing sent a big delegation to Taiwan to promote political negotiations, and in that conference, actually lots of Chinese academics argued that U.S.' arms sales to Taiwan has been the main issue to slow down or obstruct the Taiwan and China security exchanges.

Also some of them say that Washington has exaggerated the danger across Taiwan Strait to make money out of Taiwan. What do you think of this kind of argument?

Chairman Burghardt: I saw that. I thought that was really great stuff.

I loved the comment that Allen Romberg made about the General's remarks -- Allen Romberg, a very respected scholar in Washington. He said if China wants to kill all interest in Taiwan in ever having confidence building talks, that's the way to do it, making statements like that.

I would say the issue that we mentioned, I've used the word clich?s once before. Here's another. The idea that U.S. arms sales to Taiwan somehow slow down the pace of cross-trade relations or somehow make Taiwan less interested in political talks. I would say the situation is precisely the opposite. I would say that, and I think this is actually a very important aspect of what's going on in cross-strait relations.

Just to take the issue of confidence-building measures. To talk about confidence-building measures, you need to have confidence otherwise you never get started.

Similarly, to go into serious, the fundamental requirement for any Taiwan government to be able to sit down at the table with the PRC and to negotiate even trade issues, much less talk about political issues of military issues, is to be confident, is to have political support of its own people, and to feel that it has some self defense capability.

And what I'm telling you is also exactly what we constantly hear from people in the Taiwan government.

I would go so far as to say, and this is just Ray Burghardt speaking. This is not an official American position. It may be, but I haven't cleared it with anybody.

If you want to put it somewhat crudely, but I think it makes the point, if arms sales to Taiwan come to a stop, a complete stop, you will also see progress in cross-strait relations grind to a halt.

The paradox of the situation is that no one in Beijing is ever going to agree with that statement. Most of them are never going to even believe it. But I firmly believe it's the truth. And I think most people in Taiwan believe it, too. So it creates an interesting situation for the years ahead.

Correction, my mistake. When I mentioned about a USTR visit here, I should have said in December. My mistake. I don't know why I was thinking we were already in December. No, I should have said December, sorry.

Question: I'm from China Times. I have one about visa waiver program.

Can we hear the good news in coming year, or what else we can do or U.S. government can do to make any progress?

Chairman Burghardt: I would certainly like to see it come as soon as possible. I think it's a good thing. There are several steps. One is we need, we're trying to get a team organized to send here which would sit down and work with government here, work with authorities here on passport security issues. There are some very specific issues about passport security.

There needs to be instituted a program of people coming in for personal appearances to get their passport. There seem to be, apparently --

Moderator: Director Stanton covered some of this, as you know, in his speech today at the American Chamber of Commerce.

Chairman Burghardt: If you've got all that then I'm not going to repeat what he said.

Moderator: I'll share it with you.

Chairman Burghardt: It's too long to read over it here, but it's all good stuff, yeah.

I hope it will happen. But it does require -- The problem is every once in a while you have these people turn up and it's all too often who mostly it's young women and girls who have Taiwan passports that turn out to be fake passports and they came from the Mainland. So you really need to have personal appearances to deal with it.

Question: I might just ask a follow-up question on the question I asked earlier. Your talks with Ma and Su Chi that the statement in Beijing wasn't obviously quite what they wanted and obviously wasn't quite what the U.S. wanted, either. That was my understanding of what you just said.

Chairman Burghardt: As is always the case in any negotiated statement in the entire history of diplomacy.

Question: I understand that in an ideal world, how would you want to see the statement and how do you think Ma and Siew would have wanted to see the statements.

Chairman Burghardt: That's too speculative. I'm sorry. That really is too speculative. I don't think I can give a meaningful answer to that. Does an ideal world mean that I control the minds of the Politburo in Beijing? I'm not sure how to answer that.

Question: The U.S. must have had something in mind which, you must have known that to some extent during the process of negotiations that there were compromises made.

Chairman Burghardt: Jeff Bader carried out almost all the negotiations one on one with He Yafei in the Foreign Ministry. It sounded like a painful process when he described it to me. I've been through those myself. I know what they're like. But it's fun, too. If you're a masochist. [Laughter].

Question: What the U.S. position on Taiwan's whole participation in the UNFCCC and the ICAO? I understand that the U.S. before had talked about it supports Taiwan joining any international organizations that require statehood. I was just wondering if it's the same longstanding policy and just get your more specific comments on the UNFCCC and that case. Thanks.

Chairman Burghardt: I'm not sure I can give you specifics about those two organizations although yes, I know, Taiwan wants to -- I talked to the Deputy Foreign Minister Shen about this today.

You can get from your own government what they're looking for in terms of observership or exactly how they want to structure it.

The U.S. position is, as you know, that while we could not support membership in those two organizations, and frankly it would be impossible to achieve, we ought to be able to structure some arrangement in which there is that phrase, meaningful participation. And maybe it's possible. We'll see. It's probably going to be some form of observership. It's probably going to involve something about the title used and all those usual kinds of arrangements that Taiwan, unfortunately, has to live with.

Moderator: If there are no further questions I have a stack of the Joint Statement by President Obama and President Hu in China from November 17th. So if anyone wants that for reference, please help yourself.

If there's anybody who would like to get a little briefing on what Director Stanton said at his American Chamber lunch today I'd be happy to talk to people afterwards.

Chairman Burghardt: I think I can report after this meeting that press interest in the beef issue has plummeted. [Laughter]. Or maybe people are just bored stiff by it. [Laughter].

Question: Pork interest.

Moderator: Thank you, Chairman Burghardt.