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Stanford Report, May 24, 2000

Lead U.S. negotiator on Taiwan to speak Wednesday

The implications of Taiwan's recent presidential elections on U.S. foreign policy will be the focus of a foreign policy address by Richard Bush, board chairman and managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan, at 4 p.m. today in the Bechtel Conference Center in Encina Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Bush is the top official of a private organization that conducts unofficial relations for the U.S. government with the Taiwanese government, in lieu of an ambassador. Because the United States does not officially recognize Taiwan as a separate country from the rest of China, there is no official ambassador to Taiwan and unofficial relations are maintained through the institute and its board of directors, whose members are appointed by the secretary of state.

Bush's address, titled "Political Change in Taiwan: Implications for U.S. Policy," will be his first to an American audience since the May 20 inauguration of Taiwan's new president, Chen Shui-Bian. Bush, who represented the United States at the inauguration, has said it marked "the first transfer of power ever in a Chinese political system resulting from a free and fair election."

Russell Hancock, director of the Shorenstein Forum, the Stanford organization that is hosting Bush, said: "The inauguration of Taiwan's new president opens new possibilities in restoring cooperation with China and easing cross-strait relations, and a significant window of opportunity for the United States. Nobody will be more central to that dialogue than Richard Bush."

The Shorenstein Forum is part of the Asia/Pacific Research Center at Stanford. Besides generating research, the forum convenes senior policy makers, business executives, journalists and others who shape developments in the Asia-Pacific region. SR