US diplomatic staff are required to abide by strict guidelines when making contact with Taiwanese authorities and representative offices “on all occasions through the year” and “especially in the weeks prior to the Oct. 10” anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China (ROC), a cable released by WikiLeaks on Tuesday said.
The cable, dated Sept. 5, 2008, showed that then-US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice issued a directive to overseas diplomatic missions detailing the guidelines, which the cable said did not apply to the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).
The cable was meant to ensure that the unofficial relations between the US and Taiwan, which began in 1979 when the US recognized the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China, were upheld.
Representatives from Taiwan “should be treated with appropriate courtesy and respect within the framework of the US’ unofficial relations with the Island,” the cable said.
US government officials should conduct the same substantive range of business with their Taiwanese counterparts as they would with representatives from countries with which the US has diplomatic relations, it said.
The US Department of State allowed its embassy personnel to accept invitations to private functions hosted by Taiwanese representatives either in restaurants or in their homes, “but not in residences of Taiwan’s principal representatives or ambassadors,” it said.
US embassy and consulate personnel could host Taiwanese representatives at private functions in restaurants or in their homes, but not in US chief of mission residences, while Taiwanese representatives could not be invited to US functions of an official nature or to functions held on official US premises, it said.
The cable said that “any function on or around Oct. 10” should be considered an official function regardless of its venue or stated nature.
US executive branch officials are permitted to attend a separate reception sponsored by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US (TECRO) specifically for US government officials that normally takes place in mid-October, because it is distinct from the normal Double Ten National Day function, it said.
US government representatives are not allowed to correspond directly with authorities from Taiwan, but rather should send letters through AIT-TECRO channels, it said.
The cable said that individuals from Taiwan contracted by US executive branch officials are generally referred to by name, title and city, without use of an international nomenclature.
All US executive branch personnel who plan to travel to Taiwan for work-related reasons must have prior consent from the state department’s Office of Taiwan before requesting travel clearance from the AIT and Taipei, it said.
The state department said that the US government does not refer to Taiwan as “Republic of China,” “The Republic of China on Taiwan,” or a country. The US government refers to Taiwan simply as “Taiwan.”
In keeping with the unofficial nature of the US’ relations with Taiwan and the fact that the US does not recognize Taiwan as an independent, sovereign state, “military representatives of the authorities on Taiwan should not wear their uniforms while in the US or on US premises overseas” and the “ROC” flag should not be displayed at US government premises, it said.