Taiwanese official attends U.S. diplomatic lunch for the first time since 1979

Published (HKT): 2021.05.01 18:50

A Taiwanese representative has been invited to an official function hosted by the U.S. diplomatic mission in France for the first time since the U.S. severed relations with Taiwan in 1979, prompting a rebuke from state media in mainland China.

The U.S. Embassy in France on Friday invited Taiwan’s representative in the country, Wu Chih-chung, to join a luncheon at the acting ambassador’s official residence. The acting ambassador, Brian Aggeler, reiterated that the United States supported Taiwan’s participation in international organizations.

Aggeler added that both sides would continue to deepen their exchanges and would work together to maintain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

During the luncheon, the U.S. and Taiwanese representatives reportedly discussed the stability of the Indo-Pacific region, Taiwan’s success in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, expanding Taiwan’s international participation, Taiwan’s economic strength and the universal values shared by both sides.

Wu Chih-chung thanked the U.S. for its firm support and said he hoped to see both sides strengthen their relationship on the basis of the universal values they share, such as democracy, liberty and human rights.

“Exchanges between the United States and Taiwan have started to approach normalization,” Wu said. “China can no longer block our normal exchanges with the world.”

Taiwan’s Central News Agency described the invitation as a practical measure to boost the U.S.-Taiwan relationship. Chinese state media tabloid Global Times later referenced CNA’s report and said that Taiwan’s “green media were excitedly hyping up” the U.S. invitation.

Green is the color commonly associated with Taiwan’s independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, which currently governs Taiwan.

In April, the U.S. State Department issued liberalized guidance on contacts with Taiwan, saying that the aim was “to encourage U.S. government engagement with Taiwan that reflects our deepening unofficial relationship.”

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