Q: On 9/25 Xi Jinping is coming to the White House to have a state visit. How would you expect the Taiwan elections will be raised and discussed during his visit here?
A: I think every Chinese leader when he meets with an American counterpart raises Taiwan, in recent years my understanding that has been rather perfunctory, mostly because China has felt it has been able to manage the relationship with Taiwan by itself. I doubt, actually, that this time around that it will be very different. There is an enormous number of far more pressing issues between the US and China on the agenda, and frankly, limited time, between the two presidents? [moderator: 30 hours?] Well, 30 hours probably includes all of the events, right? So that means the ceremony on the South Lawn, the state dinner, the luncheon at the State Department. There will be two opportunities for in-depth discussion. One in the dinner, the prior evening when he arrives, and then one in the following day, with some other, of course, number of people in the room.
So I would be surprised if Xi does not raise it, because this is something Chinese leaders always want to lay down a marker. This time, I would guess that Xi Jinping’s message will be that the United States should try to play a more proactive role to ensure that cross-strait stability exists, and in order to have cross-strait stability, that there must be an acceptance by Taiwan’s next president of the 1992 Consensus, and more importantly, One China, and that the US should play a role in ensuring that that happens. But I doubt it would be a prolonged conversation. I think we’ll hear more from China after the election, and at this particular juncture in time, I think there are just far more important and really urgent issues that the two presidents will want to talk about.