US envoy nominee to Palau bashes China for isolating Taiwan

Senior diplomat calls Taiwan a crucial ally, says US government should penalize CCP for malicious behavior

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John Hennessey-Niland has been nominated as U.S. envoy to Palau.

John Hennessey-Niland has been nominated as U.S. envoy to Palau. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The White House's nominee for ambassador to the Pacific nation of Palau, John Hennessey-Niland, said Tuesday (Dec. 17) that global leaders should call out China for imposing pressure on Taiwan's diplomatic ally.

Following President Donald Trump's nomination of Hennessey-Niland as the representative to Palau, the U.S. Senate held a public hearing session on Tuesday to discuss the background and policies of each candidate. Currently serving as the political counselor at the U.S. embassy in Canberra, Australia, Hennessey-Niland has more than 30 years of experience in diplomatic affairs, including having previously served as foreign policy advisor to the Marine Corps.

During the discussion, Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Cory Gardner expressed concern that China has been using economic and political threats to target Taiwan's international allies. Hennessey-Niland said that U.S. envoys have the responsibility to voice their dissatisfaction with Beijing and that the U.S. government should penalize China for its malicious behavior.

Hennessey-Niland said that Taiwan is a partner of the U.S. and critical to containing China's military expansion in Asia. He promised that if confirmed, he would ensure the friendship between Taiwan, Palau, and the U.S., reported CNA.

The senior diplomatic official added that it is important for the House of Representatives to pass the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act as a means to consolidate the defense of Taiwan against Communist China. He also reminded leaders of Pacific nations of the risks of receiving benefits from China and the potential loss of their autonomy, reported UDN.