New leaders bring new opportunities for Taiwan-U.S. relations: Yates | Politics | FOCUS TAIWAN

Taipei, May 21 (CNA) Stephen Yates, an adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump’s transition team, saw opportunities for greater cooperation between Taiwan and the United States under new leaders but warned that better communications were needed to strengthen ties.

Speaking at a forum organized by the World Taiwanese Congress and Taiwan Nation Alliance on Sunday, Yates said he believes there will be both opportunities and challenges for Taiwan-U.S. relations with the two countries now governed by new leaders.

In terms of opportunities, Yates said closer cooperation could lead to openings on trade, national defense, and a widening of Taiwan’s international space.

He suggested that the two sides develop even closer trade ties and that Taiwan should consider how much it wants to invest to build independent defense capabilities within the context of Trump’s new Asia-Pacific policy.

Yates also argued that Taiwan did not necessarily have to make its voice heard through the United Nations. As an alternative, he said, Taiwan could build up ties with individual American states or political figures in the U.S.

In terms of challenges, Yates said, Beijing’s “one China” policy framework remains an obstacle for Taiwan in making a breakthrough in expanding its international space.

He argued that it was necessary to create a new English term not beholden to China’s interpretation to define evolving Taiwan-China relations so that the U.S. could better express its position on the issue.

Yates warned, however, that for progress to be made in Taiwan-U.S. relations, communications have to be improved.

He said there has traditionally been a lack of high-level communication between Taiwan and the U.S., which has made it difficult for the two sides to strengthen ties.

Whether officials from the U.S. Department of State or members of the U.S. Congress, they rarely have the opportunity to reach top policy makers in Taiwan, according to Yates, stressing that it is a pressing issue that needs to be fixed.

(By Scarlett Chai and Lee Hsin-Yin)