The United States and Taiwan held a high-level meeting on Oct. 22 about expanding the island’s participation at the United Nations and other international organizations, days before Beijing is due to mark the 50th anniversary of its representing China at the global body.
The U.S. State Department said in an Oct. 23 statement that the Oct. 22 virtual meeting with Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs focused on “supporting Taiwan’s ability to participate meaningfully at the U.N.”
“U.S. participants reiterated the U.S. commitment to Taiwan’s meaningful participation at the World Health Organization and U.N. framework convention on climate change and discussed ways to highlight Taiwan’s ability to contribute to efforts on a wide range of issues,” the statement reads.
Taiwan, using the official name of the Republic of China, withdrew from the U.N. on Oct. 25, 1971, when it was voted out as the representative of China in favor of the communist regime.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started its one-party rule on the mainland in 1949, when it won the Chinese Civil War, forcing the nationalist government to retreat to Taiwan.
The CCP has since claimed the self-ruled island as its own territory, to be taken by force if necessary. It also claims that it has the sole right to represent Taiwan internationally—a position denounced by Taipei.
As a result, the Chinese regime has aggressively sought to exclude Taiwan’s participation from international bodies. Since 2017, Beijing has barred Taiwan from participating as an observer in the World Health Organization’s decision-making body, the World Health Assembly.
Taiwan expressed gratitude for the U.S. administration’s “long-time, rock-solid support and commitment” in another statement released on Oct. 24.
While the United States doesn’t have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it’s among the island’s staunchest allies and its largest supplier of arms. Washington also has a longstanding policy toward the island known as “strategic ambiguity,” meaning that U.S. administrations have been deliberately vague on whether it would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.
This policy was thrown into question when President Joe Biden told a CNN town hall event on Oct. 21 that the United States would come to Taiwan’s defense if the Chinese regime were to attack.
The White House clarified on Oct. 22 that Biden was “not intending to convey a change in policy, nor has he made a decision to change our policy.”
Concern about a potential CCP invasion increased this month, after the regime sent nearly 150 planes into Taiwan’s air defense zone over the course of four days
On the eve of Taiwan’s national day on Oct. 10, Chinese leader Xi Jinping renewed a vow that Taiwan “must” and “will definitely” be “reunified” with the mainland.
Xi is due to give another speech on Oct. 25 to mark the CCP’s 50 years of representation at the U.N., Beijing’s foreign ministry said on Oct. 22.