Prior to the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ passage of a bill that would relax restrictions on mutual visits of high-level officials from Taipei and Washington, China allegedly sent a letter to the US Congress warning against “crossing a red line,” according to the Washington Post.
In a hearing in Washington on Thursday, the committee unanimously passed the Taiwan travel act bill, which seeks to encourage visits between Taiwan and the US at all levels at a time when bilateral ties “have suffered from insufficient high-level communication due to the self-imposed restrictions that the US maintains on high-level visits with Taiwan” since the 1979 enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act.
Although Chinese pressure about Taiwan has become commonplace, Josh Rogin of the Washington Post said the article published earlier on Thursday that a threat-laden letter sent by Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai (崔天凱) to leaders of the US House’s and Senate’s foreign relations and armed serves committees in August was considered “unusual and out of line.”
Rogin, who claimed to have obtained a copy of the letter, said Cui expressed “grave concern” about the Taiwan travel act bill, as well as other proposed laws or provisions considered friendly toward Taipei, such as the Taiwan security enhancement act bill — which aims to enhance the security of Taiwan and bolster its participation in the international community.
The Chinese ambassador said the bills represented “provocations against China’s sovereignty, national unity and security interests” and “have crossed the red line on the stability of the China-US relationship,” Rogin wrote, citing the letter.
Cui urged the leaders of the committees to use their power to block the bills, Rogin added.
He said Cui’s letter has met with criticism, quoting US Representative Eliot Engel, a ranking member of the foreign affairs committee, as saying that “the letter stood out because of its threatening tone” and that “it is interesting to me that they [China] now feel that they can get away with these kind of threats and vague pressure tactics with the US Congress.”
An anonymous Senate aide told Rogin that such threats and imposition of red lines on US domestic legislative action “is neither helpful nor constructive to build the sort of relationship needed between the US and China.”
When asked to comment on the matter yesterday, the Mainland Affairs Council thanked the US Congress for valuing Taiwan-US interaction.
The ministry expressed the hope that Washington would continue to adhere to the Taiwan Relations Act and the “six assurances” issued by then-US president Ronald Reagan in 1982, support Taiwan’s promotion of policies aimed at ensuring cross-strait peace and stability, and strengthen bilateral Taiwan-US ties.
“These measures could help China adopt a practical and rational attitude, and respect Taiwan’s dignity and interests,” the council said, adding that Taiwan is a sovereign state that is entitled to develop relationships with other nations.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
THAI CASE UPDATE: Twenty-nine close contacts of the worker have been tested with two types of tests, including 18 dorm mates, with 28 negative results so far Five imported cases of COVID-19, four from the Philippines and one from Hong Kong, were reported yesterday, bringing the total confirmed cases in Taiwan to 467, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The four returning from the Philippines were on the same flight, and the local health department has identified 15 people who had direct contact with them — including 10 passengers in the two rows in front or behind them, who have been put under 14-day home isolation, and five crew members, who will practice 14-day self-health management, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang