• Directory of Taiwan

US ambassador to Netherlands meets with Taiwan representative on embassy grounds

Meeting marks first time a Taiwanese diplomat has ever visited American embassy in the Netherlands

Hoekstra invites Chen to U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands (Twitter, @usambnl photo)

Hoekstra invites Chen to U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands (Twitter, @usambnl photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands met with Taiwan’s representative to the country at the American embassy in The Hague on Monday (Jan. 11), following the U.S. State Department’s lifting of restrictions on contacts between American officials and their Taiwanese counterparts.

Ambassador Pete Hoekstra tweeted out that he had met with Taiwan Representative Chen Hsin-hsin (陳欣新), marking the first time ever that a Taiwanese diplomat has visited the U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands. Hoekstra added that he was glad that State Department “colleagues around the world will now be able to host our friends from this vibrant democracy on our Embassy grounds.”

Representative Chen told CNA that Hoekstra immediately reached out to invite her to the embassy as soon as he learned that restrictions had been lifted to show his support for Taiwan and the relations between Washington and Taipei. The two diplomats also exchanged views on related issues in the Netherlands.

On Jan. 9, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in a statement that the U.S. would be doing away with decades-old self-imposed restrictions on interactions with Taiwanese counterparts by American diplomats, service members, and other officials. “The United States government took these actions unilaterally, in an attempt to appease the Communist regime in Beijing. No more,” Pompeo said.

Examples of the restrictions included Taiwanese officials not being able to enter the State Department, but rather having to meet at hotels instead. Another guideline had prohibited Taiwan from raising its flag at its Twin Oak Estate in Washington, D.C.

The lifting of restrictions has been welcomed by the Taiwanese. “Decades of discrimination, removed. A huge day in our bilateral relationship. I will cherish every opportunity,” tweeted Taiwan’s Representative to the U.S. Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) on Monday.