China rankled by rare Taiwan-US security official meeting

China riled up by meeting between Bolton and Taiwan security official

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Lee (left) (CNA). Bolton (right) (Twitter.com/AmbJohnBolton).

Lee (left) (CNA). Bolton (right) (Twitter.com/AmbJohnBolton).

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- China on Monday (May 27) cried foul after news broke of a meeting held between Taiwan National Security Council Secretary-General David Lee (李大維) and White House National Security Adviser John Bolton earlier this month.

The meeting occurred during Lee’s May 13-31 visit to the U.S., the Central News Agency reported on Saturday (May 25). Apart from National Security Adviser Bolton, Lee also exchanged views with experts at various prominent think tanks and universities.

During meetings with U.S. officials, representatives of Taiwanese diplomatic allies were also present to hear Lee confirm the island nation’s support for a free Indo-Pacific, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Media reports speculated that the representatives hailed from Palau and the Marshall Islands, two island nations in the Pacific, where China has been trying to expand its influence at Taiwan’s expense.

At a daily news briefing held on Monday, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang said, "China is extremely dissatisfied and resolutely opposed to this."

Rankled by Bolton's reported use of the word "counterparts" to describe the participants in the meeting, Lu claimed the US had "promised it will only maintain unofficial contacts with Taiwan." Therefore, "Bolton and David Lee can't be 'counterparts,'" said Lu.

This was the first meeting held between high-level security officials of Taiwan and the U.S. since Washington severed diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979, reported CNA. The meeting demonstrates a serious commitment on the part of the U.S. to honor the Taiwan Travel Act, which calls for such high-level meetings between Taiwanese and American officials.