TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The new foreign language learning website launched by the U.S. State Department uses an image of Taipei 101 as its masthead.
On Wednesday (Oct. 28), this prompted a Taiwanese legislator to ask the government to assess the possibility of working with the State Department to promote Mandarin learning, according to a Liberty Times report.
In promoting the website, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that "the State Department offers a range of programs to help Americans learn foreign languages critical to national security and economic prosperity." He especially mentioned learning Mandarin, saying that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses Mandarin to tell one story and English to tell another, so it’s important for the U.S. to understand the full picture.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said that given that the U.S. has so many allies around the world, the fact that the U.S. Department of State uses a Taiwan image as the masthead of its foreign language learning website is notable.
Wang mentioned the U.S. foreign language website in the legislature, saying that it has created a space for potential cooperation. He asked the Overseas Community Affairs Council whether it would be possible for it to become a U.S. partner for learning Mandarin.
American Institute in Taiwan Spokesperson Amanda Mansour said Monday that Taiwan has made great contributions to the international community, yet promoting Mandarin remains an area full of untapped potential for the nation.
Many people around the world would like to learn Mandarin, but they do not want to experience censorship and suppression in China, she said, adding that teachers in Taiwan are able to teach the language in a free environment. She stated that she hoped more Taiwanese teachers would go to the U.S. to teach Mandarin and that more American students would come to Taiwan to learn the language.