TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Chinese embassy in the Netherlands on Wednesday (Jan. 13) strongly condemned the meeting between Pete Hoekstra, the U.S. ambassador to the European country and Taiwanese Representative Chen Hsin-hsin (陳欣新).
The Chinese embassy said the U.S. had agreed to “recognize that the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government of China” in the 1978 Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations.
On Jan. 9, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington would be lifting self-imposed restrictions on exchanges between American diplomats and officials and their Taiwanese counterparts. Upon hearing this news, Hoekstra on Jan. 12 welcomed Chen to the American embassy, later tweeting that the two had “made some history.”
Chen told CNA that as soon as Hoekstra had learned restrictions had been lifted, he immediately invited her to the embassy to show his support for Taiwan and relations between Washington and Taipei. The two diplomats also exchanged views on Netherlands-related issues.
On Tuesday (Jan. 12) the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant described the meeting as a diplomatic precedent in The Hague. It pointed out that as Taiwan’s highest-ranking representative to the Netherlands, Chen is an ambassador in all but name, but China would interpret the title of ambassador as a declaration of Taiwanese independence.
It added that any action that implies independence, whether it be Taiwan’s participation in international sports events or the new version of its passport, would upset Beijing, which has not ruled out a military response.