TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The United States Department of State reaffirmed support for Taiwan as it seeks to expand international participation but said plainly that changes to the government’s policy regarding cross-strait affairs remain improbable.
During a press briefing that took place in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11, Spokesperson for the State Department Heather Nauert said, “The United States will continue to support Taiwan as it seeks to expand its already significant contributions to addressing global challenges and as Taiwan resists efforts to constrain its appropriate participation on the world stage.”
The spokesperson also confirmed that the State Department recently called back American envoys in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Panama because those Latin American nations had decided to sever ties with Taiwan and switch recognition to China.
Nauert said it is within sovereign states’ right to determine their relations with other nations or accept assistance from other governments, but emphasized that “those terms need to be transparent and fair.”
“Those chiefs of mission will meet with U.S. Government leaders to talk about ways in which the United States can support strong, independent, democratic institutions and economies throughout Central America and also the Caribbean,” the spokesperson reiterated an earlier statement.
Asked about the grounds on which the United States voiced its concern over nations cutting ties with Taiwan when the country itself had switched to recognize Beijing four decades ago, Nauert said the U. S. government has maintained a close unofficial relationship with Taiwan while developing relations with China. “This is the kind of relationship that works for us. It doesn’t necessarily work for every other government.”
The spokesperson also said the United States is not likely to change its policy toward cross-strait affairs, stating “we don’t see it as particularly advantageous.”
In addition to the State Department’s action to confront Beijing’s growing influence over Central American and Caribbean nations, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner proposed a bill on Sept. 4 that seeks to strengthen Taiwan’s diplomatic position.
The “Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative,” or the TAIPEI Act, states that the U.S. government should engage with governments around the world to support Taiwan’s diplomatic recognition.
In addition, the bill authorizes the State Department to “downgrade U.S. relations with any government that takes adverse actions with regard to Taiwan, and to suspend or alter U.S. foreign assistance.”