Following reports that Washington is to retain the previous US administration’s directives on dealings with Taiwan, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday said that existing US contact guidelines are still in place, as it is unclear how to proceed without them, but many had already been broken and future changes would be “very significant.”
Shortly before leaving office on Jan. 9, then-US secretary of state Mike Pompeo announced the annulment of all self-imposed guidelines regarding exchanges with Taiwan, paving the way for high-level visits and other official interactions.
However, since US President Joe Biden entered the White House, the status of the guidelines has been unclear.
When asked about their status during a report to the Legislative Yuan, Wu said that “adjustments are still being made.”
Ever since the guidelines were changed in 2015 for “various reasons,” reportedly in response to Taiwanese representatives raising the national flag at Twin Oaks Estate in Washington, the US has adopted a policy of making practical changes whenever needed, Wu said.
In this way, “many [guidelines] have already been broken,” he said.
As for whether Taiwan’s president, vice president or other high-ranking officials could visit Washington, Wu said that such visits are not covered by the guidelines.
However, this does not mean it would be impossible, he said, adding that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would strive to arrange reciprocal visits if the need arises.
The US most recently granted permission for officials to attend events with Taiwanese representatives abroad, and to meet at foreign embassies or official residences, he said.
This is already a change from past practice that would likely make it into the new guidelines, Wu added.
“This is already a huge step,” he said. “Two years ago, for us to meet with a US ambassador in another country would have been extraordinarily difficult.”
While there have been such meetings in the past, they were uncommon until these past few months, nor were they so public, Department of North American Affairs Director-General Douglas Hsu (徐佑典) said, adding that Washington is now encouraging its diplomats to interact with their Taiwanese counterparts.
As for whether the meetings were simple formalities or involved substantive dialogue, Wu said that a few were courtesy visits, but in foreign affairs, formalities are sometimes very important.
In most of the meetings the representatives discussed areas of cooperation in their host nations, while some talked about international participation and regional issues, he added.
Communication with Washington would proceed with the knowledge that the US Department of State is evaluating how to adjust its guidelines, Wu said.
If the rules are eliminated, some within the department fear that all relations would refer back to the Taiwan Relations Act, and all bilateral interactions must be tackled through the Taiwan Council for US Affairs and the American Institute in Taiwan, making matters more confusing, he said.
“Without direct rules, the department would not know what to do,” Wu said, but added that the changes made by Biden’s administration would be significant.
A Keelung high school on Saturday night apologized for using a picture containing a Chinese flag on the cover of the senior yearbook, adding that it has recalled the books and pledged to provide students new ones before graduation on Thursday. Of 309 Affiliated Keelung Maritime Senior High School of National Taiwan Ocean University graduates, 248 had purchased the yearbook. Some students said that the printer committed an outrageous error in including the picture, while others said that nobody would notice such a small flag on the cover. Other students said that they cared more about the photographs of classmates and what was
GOING INTERNATIONAL: Rakuten Girls squad leader Ula Shen said she was surprised that baseball fans outside of Taiwan not only knew of them, but also knew their names Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Oakland Athletics on Saturday hosted its first Taiwanese Heritage Day event at the Oakland Coliseum with a performance by Taiwanese cheerleading squad the Rakuten Girls and a video message from Vice President William Lai (賴清德). The Rakuten Girls, who are the cheerleaders for the CPBL’s Rakuten Monkeys, performed in front of a crowd of more than 2,000 people, followed by a prerecorded address by Lai about Taiwan’s baseball culture and democratic spirit. Taiwanese pitcher Sha Tzu-chen (沙子宸), who was signed by the Athletics earlier this year, was also present. Mizuki Lin (林襄), considered a “baseball cheerleading goddess” by Taiwanese
WAY OF THE RUKAI: ‘Values deemed worthy often exist amid discomfort, so when people go against the flow, nature becomes entwined with our lives,’ a student said “Run, don’t walk” after your dreams, Nvidia cofounder and chief executive officer Jensen Huang (黃仁勳) told National Taiwan University (NTU) graduates yesterday, as several major universities held in-person graduation ceremonies for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. “What will you create? Whatever it is, run after it. Run, don’t walk. Remember, either you’re running for food, or you are running from becoming food. Oftentimes, you can’t tell which. Either way, run,” he said. Huang was one of several tech executives addressing graduating students at Taiwanese universities. National Chengchi University held two ceremonies, with alumnus Patrick Pan (潘先國), who is head of Taiwan
A 14-legged giant isopod is the highlight of a new dish at a ramen restaurant in Taipei and it has people lining up — both for pictures and for a bite from this bowl of noodles. Since “The Ramen Boy” launched the limited-edition noodle bowl on Monday last week, declaring in a social media post that it had “finally got this dream ingredient,” more than 100 people have joined a waiting list to dine at the restaurant. “It is so attractive because of its appearance — it looks very cute,” said the 37-year-old owner of the restaurant, who wanted to be