President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft yesterday held a virtual meeting, during which Tsai described Taiwan as a “force for good” that deserves a place on the world stage, while Craft reaffirmed Washington’s support for Taiwan’s international participation.
The virtual talk was held at about 11am, after Craft’s trip to Taiwan was abruptly canceled. She had been scheduled to meet with Tsai in person at the Presidential Office in Taipei yesterday morning as part of a three-day visit to Taiwan.
On Tuesday, the US Department of State canceled all of its planned trips, citing a need to focus on the transition to US president-elect Joe Biden’s team.
Photo: US Mission to the UN via AP
The virtual meeting was first reported by Chinese-language online news outlet Up Media and followed by three consecutive posts on Twitter from Craft.
“A great privilege to speak today w/President Tsai @iingwen. We discussed the many ways Taiwan is a model for the world, as demonstrated by its success in fighting COVID-19 and all that Taiwan has to offer in the fields of health, technology & cutting-edge science,” Craft wrote.
“Unfortunately, Taiwan is unable to share those successes in @UN venues, including the World Health Assembly, as a result of PRC [People’s Republic of China] obstruction. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that more information, more transparency, is part of the answer,” she said in another post on Twitter.
“I made clear to President Tsai that the US stands with Taiwan and always will, as friends and partners, standing shoulder to shoulder as pillars of democracy,” she added.
In a video released by the Presidential Office, Tsai thanked Craft for “always speaking up for Taiwan at the most important time.”
“The people of Taiwan have been inspired by your action. They actually like you a lot,” Tsai told the ambassador, citing many examples, including Craft’s post on Twitter last year that supported Taiwan’s UN participation and showed a Formosan black bear doll with the ambassador.
Taiwan would continue to demonstrate that it is a vital partner to the world, Tsai said, expressing the hope that the US would continue to support the nation’s bid to join the UN.
The Republic of China left the UN in 1971 after the General Assembly passed Resolution 2758, which stated that the UN would henceforth recognize the PRC as the sole legitimate government of China.
As a result, Taiwan lost its Security Council seat, as one of the UN’s founding nations, and its representation at the global body.
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Feith, American Institute in Taiwan Director Brent Christensen and Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), among others, joined yesterday’s virtual meeting, the Presidential Office said.
Asked whether Taiwan or the US proposed the videoconference, a source familiar with the matter said that the solution resulted from a joint discussion.
The timing of Craft’s planned visit was finalized last month, following her luncheon with Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York Director James Lee (李光章) in September last year and the US elections in November last year, the person said.
Additional reporting by staff writer and AFP
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