Official Diplomatic Relations with U.S.? Foreign Minister: Not For Now

China Times, September 25th, 2020


As the election campaigns in the United States as well as U.S.-China diplomatic confrontation and military rivalry continue to intensify, there have been calls for establishing diplomatic relations between the United States and Taiwan. However, during a recent exclusive interview with the American National Public Radio (NPR), Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu emphasized that although U.S.-Taiwan relations have made great progress lately, we are not seeking to establish comprehensive diplomatic relations for now. Spokeswoman Joanne Ou of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also added that the U.S.-Taiwan relations is at its best state, and both sides will focus on deepening the pragmatic partnership.


Consecutive Visits by U.S. Senior Officials Leaves Room for Imagination


Compared to the confrontations between the United States and China, the relationship between the United States and Taiwan has improved drastically. In May of this year, Republican Representative Michael McCaul proposed that recognizing Taiwan as an independent country would be the most severe punishment to Beijing.


Within a period of two months, the United States has successively sent Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Under Secretary of State Keith Krach for a visit to Taiwan, as well as announced multiple military trades with Taiwan.


Furthermore, Republican Representative Tom Tiffany introduced legislation and proposed a concurrent resolution which calls for the U.S. to resume formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, end its outdated "one China" policy, recognize Taiwan as an independent country and proceed with a bilateral free trade agreement.


In recent months, Beijing has sent warplanes several times in close proximity to Taiwan, especially during the time of Azar and Krach’s visits. Not only have China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircrafts cross the Taiwan Strait median line, Spokesman Wang Wenbin of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs even went as far as claiming the median line does not exist.


Both American and Chinese fighter planes and search planes have been making their presence known at Taiwan’s southwest sea’s airspace. The Taiwan Strait has drawn much international attention as the situation becomes increasingly alarming.


On August 27, President Tsai Ing-wen was invited to deliver a video speech to the think tank Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Tsai advised all parties to be cautious and avoid conflicts across the Taiwan Strait, stating that “with the increase of regional military activities, we are worried of accidental spark of conflict”. President Tsai called upon Beijing to maintain self-control, and fulfill its obligation as a regional great power. Tsai also stressed the importance of open communication to avoid misunderstanding and misjudgment.


Taiwan Weeks to Strengthen Economic, Trade, Even Security Ties


Even though Foreign Minister Joseph Wu emphasized on National Public Radio (NPR) that Taiwan is not seeking to establish comprehensive diplomatic relations with the United States, Taiwan hopes to further strengthen bilateral economic, trade, and even security ties.


Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who has always been known as a friend of Taiwan, expressed in the Hudson Institute video conference on September 24 that Taiwan cannot avoid China’s “red-line issue.” When necessary, China will eventually use force to take over Taiwan. Senator Rubio cautioned the United States to navigate carefully, assist Taiwan in raising the cost of military adventurism for China in order to prevent Beijing from advancing rashly and excessively stimulating conflict.


Opposition Urges U.S. to Help Taiwan Avoid War  


Opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Lin Wei-chou stated that although the visits of senior American officials are good gestures that upgrade the level of U.S.-Taiwan relations, the PLA has also been sending more warplanes that are flying closer to Taiwan each time. Legislator Lin hopes that Taiwan has concrete proposals for enhancing its friendship with the United States so as to help Taiwan avoid war. Taiwan does not wish to be caught up in the war between the United States and China, nor be used as a pawn for the upcoming U.S. election.


In a Facebook post, a KMT policy official stated: “The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration is not seeking to resume diplomatic relations between Taiwan and the United States. Have young idealists finally woken up?” Lu appealed to the DPP administration to at least negotiate for the website of the U.S. Department of State to once again display the Republic of China flag in an equal manner as any other country. If the U.S. State Department cannot even make this adjustment to its website, then the sincerity of American support is questionable.



〈Back to Taiwan Weekly Newsletter〉