U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken calls Taiwan a country on Wednesday, March 10, Taiwan News reported. His predecessors have been avoiding this label.
After the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the Biden’s government’s foreign policy program, Young Kim, U.S. Representative stated that Taiwan has worked for several years as an “invaluable security and global health partner to the United States.”
She noted that Taiwan has achieved a “seat at the table like the WHO to share its expertise” because of its contributions to the international community and its “strong democratic system”.
Later Kim requested the Biden government to add Taiwan’s name in the future Democracy Summit and to hold meetings with it on a free trade agreement. Blinken replied that he was definitely committed to her propositions and also agreed that Taiwan is a strong democracy and much stronger technological power.
Blinken calls Taiwan country
He further continued that Taiwan is “a country that can contribute to the world, not just its own people. COVID is a very good example of that.” Kim shared the same view on Blinken’s remarks.
However, Blinken’s label of Taiwan as a “country” might set a new stage for Taiwan-US ties. The State Department accepted more restrictions on official relations with Taiwan due to the risk of inciting China as the US broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan under the Carter administration in 1979.
But during the final days of his position as secretary of state, Mike Pompeo reconsidered those regulations and said in an interview, “We started staring at them and realized it was just crazy. We had this completely separate set of rules that made no sense.” He acknowledged that after complete review, they realized to hold more open conversations, and not covert ones.
Official contact with Taiwan
The State Department officially removed its restrictions on January 10 after an official contact with Taiwan. Calling Taiwan a “country” or “government” was also included in the restrictions.
It seems like Blinken has confirmed the lifting of restrictions with his use of the word “country”. But this is still an assumption.