US State Dept. Revises Again Facts on US Relations with Taiwan 美國務院再度修改美台關係簡介 引發議論

The United States Department of State made two revisions on a fact sheet dealing with U.S.-Taiwan relations within a month. It was suspected of being due to pressure from China.

It has come to the attention of many when the United States State Department removed statements saying that Taiwan is a part of China and that the U.S. does not support Taiwan's independence on its "U.S. Relations With Taiwan" official webpage on May 5. However, after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's speech on May 26 about the U.S. approach toward China, the phrase that the U.S. does not support Taiwan's independence was put back on the webpage on the 28th. Many wondered if the latest update was a response to China's protest. One scholar shared his thoughts saying that the U.S. State Department held a firm stance when they made the change on the 5th, but the quick revision after definitely leads people into making that assumption.

Ding Shu-fan, Honorary Professor, Graduate Institute of East Asian Studies, NCCU: “If the U.S. believes in that firmly, then I think they need to stay firm, even if Beijing opposes it strongly. I don't think the U.S. should compromise or give way.”

Chen Chien-jen, Former Foreign Minister: “The U.S. decides on policies based on its interests. Crucial policies don't change but they always have flexible explanations.  ”

Taiwan's former foreign minister Chen Chien-jen said that the U.S. always adjusts its sayings for different purposes but the general direction remains the same. A spokesperson of the State Department, who asked not to be named, said the revision was to reflect Blinken's speech and denied that it was made in response to China's protest. The U.S. enjoys a strong unofficial relationship with Taiwan, he said. The U.S. and Taiwan announced the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade on June 1, in which Taiwan's government says is a recognition of the key position the island plays in global supply chains. China also firmly opposes the new trade initiative. The U.S. State Department reiterated its one-China policy.

Ned Price, Spokesperson, United States Department of State: “I can't speak to the PRC's reaction. What I can say is that everything we do in the context of our unofficial relationship with Taiwan is done pursuant to our longstanding one-China policy.”

U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said a physical meeting would be held in Washington and it would help to negotiate for a roadmap to open space for more trade and economic cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan. Most congress members are in support of the new trade initiative. However, U.S. Senator Pat Toomey expressed his concerns about the lack of market access provisions in the initiative, which would limit the benefits for all. He introduced a Senate resolution detailing the need for a comprehensive trade agreement with Taiwan.