To ease restrictions on U.S. association with Taiwanese officials
U.S. officials may be more likely to meet with Taiwan counterparts under new guidelines from the Biden administration in a recent move aimed at verifying a greater attack by China on the White House region.
The new rules issued by the U.S. State Department on Friday, according to U.S. officials, will alleviate decades of restrictions that have hampered meetings between U.S. and Taiwanese diplomats.
The state department’s decision is heightening tensions between the U.S. and China over Taiwan, and Beijing’s military stance on the island in recent months has intensified. Senior U.S. military and civilian officials have expressed concern over China Linked to the idea of invading Taiwan.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the state department, said he stressed how “Taiwan is a vibrant democracy and an important security and economic partner, it is also a force for good in the international community.”
A U.S. official said the guidance was intended to “encourage interactions” between American and Taiwanese officials. The guidelines stressed what was not possible at bilateral meetings before, the official added.
Washington has maintained restrictions on its meetings with Taiwanese officials since China changed diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979. As China becomes more and more in favor of Taiwan, the US is less strict about the guidelines.
In January, Mike Pompeo, then secretary of state, has deleted the instructions. This created confusion, however, because they gave little guidance to government agencies and the Trump administration was in the final weeks.
It was also unclear how the movement fit into U.S. “One China” policy, saying the government of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing is China’s “only legal government”.
Under the new guidelines, U.S. officials will be able to regularly hire Taiwanese officials in federal government buildings. They will also be allowed to meet with their members at Taiwan’s economic and cultural offices, which they de facto serve as embassies and consulates.
U.S. officials will also have the opportunity to attend Twin Oaks, a 17-acre estate in Washington, that was the residence of the ambassador to the Republic of China (Taiwan) until the U.S. shifted diplomatic recognition to Beijing.
U.S. officials said there would still be some “guards” out there, such as not allowing officials to attend major Taiwanese vacations that could complicate China’s Bat policy at Twin Oaks events. Another will be a ban on the flag of Taiwan when U.S. officials meet with their members.
“We have brought the railings back but they are much further away, so both sides (Beijing and Taipei) should be happy,” the official said.
However, officials will no longer have to use the letter to contact Taiwan officials without a government trademark.
The new guidelines mark a last-ditch effort to protect Taipei as the Chinese military tries to intimidate Taiwan into launching numerous aircraft, bombers and spy planes into its air defense identification area. President Joe Biden and his officials have made it clear to China that American support for Taiwan is “strong”.
He also stresses that Biden is taking a tougher stance on China than many expect. Biden, a Taiwanese representative, was invited to Washington to be the first U.S. president to take the presidency when Hsiao Bi-khim attended his inauguration in January.
On Friday Hsiao welcomed him. “We look forward to using new opportunities to work together to deepen new relationships,” he tweeted.
While Biden has been scrutinizing the guidelines in recent months, there were signs that he would take a quieter view than the Obama administration.
Joseph Young, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, recently welcomed his Taiwanese counterpart to the Tokyo headquarters and posted a visit on Twitter in response to a similar move by Trump’s ambassador to the Netherlands following Pompey’s announcement.
Last month, the U.S. envoy to Palau was the first U.S. ambassador to Taiwan since 1979, along with the president of Palau – one of only 15 countries recognized above Taipei Beijing – along with Taipei. Palau’s visit came technically without any guidance, as the Biden administration was reviewing the policy received from Trump.
In his confirmation hearing, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he wants to create “more space” for relations between U.S. and Taiwanese officials. In December, Congress passed the Taiwan Assurance Act, and the state department had to review the guidelines within 180 days.
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