US should fully recognize Taiwan, pressure China: John Bolton

Former White House national security adviser says US should further criticize repression in Hong Kong, Xinjiang

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John Bolton

John Bolton (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is enjoying its best international status for more than 70 years and is vital to East Asia, according to former White House National Security Adviser John Bolton.

The United States should fully recognize Taiwan diplomatically and express its dissatisfaction with Beijing’s continued oppression of Hong Kong and the Uighurs in Xinjiang, Bolton said in a Foreign Press Association (FPA) USA video conference with FPA President Ian Williams on Thursday (July 2), according to CNA. Bolton was invited to discuss his new book, “The Room Where It Happened,” U.S. foreign policy, U.S.-China-Taiwan relations, and Hong Kong’s new security law.

In mid-April, Bolton tweeted the U.S. should consider giving Taiwan full diplomatic recognition. He said during Thursday’s interview these types of messages easily attract attention, but also suggested various means should be used to “asymmetrically pressure” Beijing.

Bolton said in May when he was still national security advisor, he met with Taiwan’s then Secretary-General of the National Security Council Li Ta-wei (李大維) at the New Executive Office Building (NEOB) in Washington, D.C. which caused an uproar in China.

According to Bolton, that is because for many years, American officials have had to meet with Taiwanese diplomats in coffee shops instead of in federal buildings, which is absurd and inconvenient. Bolton added, “Is it too excessive of an idea that we should be able to meet with anyone we choose in a U.S. government building?”

Bolton said, “If you are not going to recognize a country like Taiwan with an elected government, what is the purpose of diplomatic recognition?” He stated that since 1949, this is the best international status that Taiwan has ever had.

From Taiwan’s exemplary handling of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, it can be seen the two sides of the strait have completely different governments and societies from each other, he added. If anyone in Taiwan hopes there can be reconciliation with Beijing, recent developments in Hong Kong have destroyed those thoughts, he concluded.