The Big Ideas

'US to make it easier for diplomats to meet Taiwanese officials'
'US to make it easier for diplomats to meet Taiwanese officials'
No items found.
Taiwan MOFA Minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu (left), Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr. (center) and U.S. Ambassador to Palau John Hennessey-Niland exchange elbow bumps March 29 in Taipei City.

Taiwan

April 2, 2021
BIG IDEA | 'Plan to loosen restrictions on contacts with Taipei threatens to provoke China.'

‘On Monday, in a highly unusual move, John Hennessey-Niland, US envoy to Palau, visited Taiwan with the president of the western Pacific country — one of 15 nations that recognises Taipei instead of Beijing.’

  • ‘China responded by sending 10 warplanes into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone, its second big intrusion in four days.’

‘The visit alongside the president of Palau was just one example of how Biden has moved to provide Taiwan with more public support than when he was vice-president in the Obama administration.’

  • ‘In January, Biden invited Hsiao Bi-khim to become the first Taiwanese ambassador to the US to attend a presidential inauguration.’
  • ‘Joseph Young, acting US ambassador to Japan, recently welcomed his Taiwanese counterpart to his Tokyo residence and announced the visit on Twitter.’

‘The Biden administration is preparing to issue guidelines that would make it easier for US diplomats to meet Taiwanese officials by adopting some of the changes introduced by Donald Trump, in a move China is likely to see as a provocation.’

‘Secretary of State Blinken recently described Taiwan as a “country” in congressional testimony, even though the US has a “One-China policy” under which it recognises Beijing as the sole government of China.’

  • ‘Shelley Rigger, a Taiwan expert at Davidson College, said: “Blinken is very professional and I don’t think they are shooting from the cuff, [so] it is potentially more significant and more of an effort to say to China that we’re not just going to use your vocabulary.” ’

‘Asked if the Biden administration had decided to refer to Taiwan as a country, the state department said the US would continue to engage with Taiwan “consistent with our longstanding ‘One-China policy’”.’

‘Over the past two months, the US has also sailed warships through the Taiwan Strait. The Pentagon also conducted a rare dual aircraft carrier exercise in the South China Sea.’

  • ‘Last week, the US and Taiwan signed an agreement to increase co-operation between their coastguards.’