TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An international association of naval attaches based in Washington, D.C. has rejected members from Taiwan after pressure from China, reports said Friday (Jan. 14).
The Naval Attaches Association (NAA) reversed an earlier decision to allow Taiwan officers to join, while also banning them from taking part in its activities, according to a report by the Financial Times.
Taiwan’s representative office in Washington sent a membership application to the NAA, which the organization accepted last summer. In September, the group invited three military officers from Taiwan to attend an event, but afterward, the situation changed completely, according to the report.
Even though the procedure had reached the stage where Taiwan paid the annual NAA membership fee, Chinese officers demanded the invitation be scrapped, while apparently threatening repercussions for military members in Beijing.
NAA Chairman Pablo Murga Gomez reportedly wanted to resist the pressure from China, but in the end, the association decided to cancel the invitation, telling Taiwan it was impossible to join. He also asked Taiwan to tear up the check for the membership fee, and the NAA returned the funds already paid.
The State Department said it was unable to intervene on Taiwan’s behalf as the NAA was a private organization, the report said.