Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Taiwan

Newsline: Taiwan Strengthens US Ties With De Facto Embassy’s Name Change

Relations between Washington and Taipei have elevated to a level not seen in decades, reflected in a name change of the Taiwan government’s de facto organization for handling Taiwan-U.S. relations. Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the name change on its official Twitter account on May 25, saying that the embassy will now be called the Taiwan Council for US Affairs (TCUSA); it had been known as the Coordination Council for North American Affairs (CCNAA). “This marks the first time the terms ‘Taiwan’ and the ‘United States’ appear in equal footing on the name of an organization together,” Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen said in an announcement. “This manifests the close relationship enjoyed by the U.S. and Taiwan and the level of trust between the two.” (https://www.theepochtimes.com/taiwan-strengthens-bilateral-ties-with-de-facto-embassys-name-change_2939418.html) The United States currently has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan; Washington changed its diplomatic recognition in favor of Beijing in January 1979.

Newsline: Beijing and Taipei collide over consulate assistance in Australia

China’s offer of formal consular assistance to Taiwanese citizens involved in a fatal car crash near Perth earlier this week has provoked a diplomatic stand-off with Taipei’s officials in Australia. The move by Chinese officials has been described by diplomatic observers as “very unusual” and potentially a strategy by Beijing to assert Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan. The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, representing Taiwan in Australia, said one Taiwanese tourist died and two were injured in a horrific head-on accident last Sunday involving three vehicles on Western Australia’s Indian Ocean Drive north of Lancelin. China’s consulate in Perth released a statement on Wednesday describing the “Taiwanese compatriots” as Chinese citizens, and noting an offer of formal ­assistance from Chinese consul-general Lei Kezhong. In order to establish relations with China, Canberra adopted a “one China” policy where it does not recognise Taiwan as a country or have formal relations with the self-governing territory, which China claims as its own. The move by China has provoked Taiwan’s representatives in Australia, who say they want to “reiterate” that the victims are Taiwanese and only their office has the formal credentials to offer consular assistance. They said, however, they were unable to prevent the moves by China’s diplomats.


Newsline: Dominican Republic opens Beijing embassy after dropping Taiwan

The Dominican Republic opened its embassy in Beijing Saturday, months after cutting ties with Taiwan amid a Chinese diplomatic offensive that aims to politically isolate the island it claims as its own territory. Speaking at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Caribbean island nation’s decision to switch diplomatic relations to Beijing “serves the fundamental interests of the Dominican people and completely conforms to the trend of the times.” Also present was Dominican President Danilo Medina, who met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday. Both the Dominican Republic and El Salvador broke diplomatic ties with Taiwan earlier this year as Beijing steps-up up diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who has refused to endorse its stand that Taiwan is a part of China. Only 17 mainly small, developing countries still recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation.


Newsline: China opens embassy in Dominican Republic after it deserts Taiwan

China’s most senior envoy inaugurated a new embassy in the Dominican Republic on Friday after the Caribbean country cut ties with Taiwan in a move that prompted US concern over the island’s dwindling number of allies. Self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its own, now has formal relations with only 17 countries, almost all of them small and less developed nations in Central America and the Pacific, including Belize and Nauru. “We have witnessed a historic breakthrough,” said Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi, the government’s top diplomat, in an speech televised by Chinese state media. Along with the Dominican Republic’s decision in May, Panama and El Salvador have also switched recognition to Beijing in the past two years. The United States recalled its top diplomats from those countries and warned that China was offering economic incentives in a bid for domination.


Newsline: US sending American personnel to guard its de facto embassy in Taiwan

The United States has said it will send American security personnel to its de facto embassy in Taiwan when its new premises become operational in September. A State Department spokesman made the comment in response to questions on whether the US will send marines to provide security at the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) when the new premises become operational. “As is the practice at AIT’s current location, a small number of American personnel detailed to AIT along with a larger number of locally hired employees will provide security for the new office building in cooperation with local authorities,” the spokesman said. Earlier media reports, including CNN, said in June the State Department had requested that US marines be sent to the AIT. If such a request were granted for the new facility, it would be the first time in nearly 40 years that US marines had guarded a diplomatic mission in Taiwan. But the Marine Corps Times reported in July that the request had not been granted.


Newsline: China opens embassy after Burkina switches from Taiwan

China opened its new embassy in the Burkina Faso capital of Ouagadougou on Thursday after the Sahel state stunned Taiwan by switching diplomatic ties to Beijing. The official opening comprised the unveiling of a plaque in an upmarket hotel where the embassy is being housed temporarily while a new building for it is constructed. “Today is a historic day,” declared Vice Prime Minister Hu Chunhua, who led a major delegation to Ouagadougou to oversee the event. “As of today, the embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Burkina Faso is open,” Mr Hu said, describing the mission as the “driver of Chinese-Burkinabe friendship”.


Newsline: Taiwanese embassy in the Dominican Republic closes

After Taiwan and the Dominican Republic severed diplomatic ties, Taiwanese offices in many countries lowered their flags on the afternoon of May 1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Thursday that it will convene relevant departments in the near future, including the Latin American Department, the Secretariat, and the CCICED, to discuss the evacuation of the embassy and technical groups.


Newsline: Panama Opens First Embassy in China After Axing Taiwan Ties

Months after breaking ties with Taiwan, Panama has opened its first embassy in China’s capital of Beijing in what has been described as a “historic” move. Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela hailed the move as “historic” and reiterated his commitment to the “One China” policy. Varela first considered axing diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 2006, shortly after he became leader of his party, but he didn’t make the move until June of this year. Varela, currently on a week-long visit to China, is due to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two are expected to sign a number of agreements on everything from the economy to trade and tourism.


Newsline: Panama opens embassy in Beijing after break with Taiwan

Panama has opened an embassy in China, the Central American country’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, deepening its links with the world’s No. 2 economy after its diplomatic break with longtime ally Taiwan. Panama established diplomatic ties with China in June and broke with Taiwan in a major victory for Beijing, as it lures away the dwindling number of countries that have formal relations with the self-ruled island that China regards as a wayward province. “The opening of the embassy of the Republic of Panama in the People’s Republic of China has been done in accordance with the rules that dictate diplomatic relations between the two countries,” Panama’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. It added that the embassy was already functioning, although an ambassador had yet to be installed. Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China’s trade office in the country had on July 13 formally become its embassy in Panama.


Newsline: Taiwan to close embassy in Panama on July 12

Taiwan will officially close its embassy in Panama on Wednesday as the former ally does the same in Taiwan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Eleanor Wang said Tuesday. The embassies will shut down, diplomatic staff will leave, and implementation of all bilateral cooperation programs and agreements between the two countries will be terminated, Wang said at a press conference held by the ministry. Wang noted, however, that the ROC-Panama free trade agreement (FTA) will remain in force until the two sides reach a new consensus on bilateral trade relations or strike a new trade deal. Although Panama has repeatedly expressed the hope that the two sides open commercial offices in each other’s territory, Taiwan’s economic and trade authorities are still studying the proposal, Wang said. Also, questions like whether or not the proposed offices would have consular functions, such as issuing travel documents, are still to be resolved through bilateral talks, she added. Panama switched its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China on June 13 (Taiwan time).