TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan hopes to reopen its representative office in Guam in late August or early September after three years of absence from the United States territory, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday (Aug. 4).
The government was discussing with the U.S. the timing for MOFA’s Office for Parliamentarian Affairs Deputy Director General Paul Chen’s (陳盈連) assuming his role in Guam, CNA reported. The only element still likely to influence his trip is the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Taiwan shut down its office on the Pacific island in 2017 due to budgetary restrictions. However, the improved relations with Washington since then, as well as the rising strategic importance of the area and the development of a New Southbound Policy by Taipei and an Indo-Pacific strategy by the Trump Administration, have convinced MOFA to reopen the Guam posting.
The then-governor of Guam, Eddie Baza Calvo, visited Taiwan in 2017 and 2018, asking the country to go back on its decision and return to the island in order to promote tourism and trade. Guam also houses Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam, playing a key strategic role as China expands its military power into the Pacific.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) transited through Guam in Nov. 2017 on her way back from visiting official diplomatic allies in the region. Taiwan’s new representative, Chen, has the necessary experience in U.S. affairs, since he also served in Chicago and Los Angeles, MOFA said.