Updates between the US and China
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The Biden administration wants to allow Taipei to change the name of its representative office in Washington to include the word “Taiwan,” a move likely to provoke a furious reaction from Beijing.
Several people briefed on internal U.S. talks said Washington was seriously considering a request from Taiwan to change the name of its mission in the U.S. capital from “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office” (Tecro) to “Taiwan Representative Office” ‘.
White House adviser Kurt Campbell supported the change, according to two people familiar with the discussions. One said the request had received wide support within the National Security Council and by officials in Asia.
A final decision has not yet been made, and it would require President Joe Biden to sign an executive order, people said.
Changing the name of the office will anger China, which sees Taiwan as part of its sovereign territory, and put more pressure on increasingly difficult relations between Washington and Beijing.
The US and Taiwanese governments did not comment on Taiwan’s request. But the Chinese embassy in Washington said it was “strongly” opposed to any US official interaction with Taiwan.
‘It must stop any official interaction with Taiwan, refrain from sending the wrong signals to Taiwan’ ‘independence’ or challenge the end of China, and handle matters relating to Taiwan properly and carefully, in order not to “severely damage relations between China and America and peace and stability across the Strait,” an embassy spokesman said.
A name change would be a breakthrough in Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s efforts to force back changes that Beijing has forced since its inauguration in 2016. Between 2017 and 2019, seven of Taipei’s missions in countries without diplomatic recognition, including Nigeria, Jordan and Ecuador, forcibly removed ‘Taiwan’ or ‘Republic of China’ from their names by their host country under pressure from Beijing.
In July, Taiwan opened an office in Lithuania called “Taiwanese Representative”. This angered China, which recalled its ambassador to Vilnius and said Lithuania should recall its ambassador to Beijing.
Biden held his on Thursday second call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping since he became president in an effort to break an impasse in Sino-American relations after previous meetings at the highest level made little progress.
The White House said the two leaders had a ‘broad, strategic discussion’ and that Biden “emphasized the continued interest of the United States in peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and the world”.
Taiwan is a source of tension between the two powers. One person involved in the request to change the name of Taiwan’s mission in Washington said Taipei discussed the issue with the US at the end of the Trump administration, but made a formal request to the Biden in March. administration directed. A senior Taiwanese official said Taipei had been insisting on the change for some time.
Washington does not treat Tecro as an embassy because it switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979. China is opposed to international representation under its official name – Republic of China – or its geographical one because it thinks it is claiming ‘ strengthen a sovereign country.
Two people who have been briefed on the US debate over the name change say a point is whether the change is a symbolic gesture that would exacerbate tensions between China and the US and Taiwan for little real gain.
Senior U.S. and Taiwanese officials were to hold a round of sensitive talks on Friday, known as the “Special Channel” in Annapolis, Maryland. The Taiwanese delegation includes his national security adviser and Joseph Wu, his foreign minister who is unable to visit Washington due to U.S. restrictions on top Taiwanese officials visiting the capital.
The “Special Channel” meeting, traditionally mastered to avoid Beijing, will be the first time the Biden team has been involved in high-level talks with Taiwan.
Biden has taken a hawkish stance on everything from China’s actions against the pro – democracy movement in Hong Kong to the persecution of Uyghurs. Tensions over Taiwan also increased as China flew more warplanes to Taiwan’s “Air Defense Identification Zone”.
Bonnie Glaser, a Taiwanese expert on the German Marshall Fund, questions the attempt to change the name, saying the US and Taiwan should ‘focus their energy on meaningful actions that strengthen Taiwan’s security, not symbolic steps around China not to sting ‘.
But Randy Schriver, an official in Asia in the Bush and Trump administrations, said the US should consider the request. “There is no problem too small for Beijing to complain about, but we must respect our friends in Taiwan on how they want to be represented.”