US to ‘Redouble’ Efforts to Ensure Taiwan’s Global Participation, Official Says

March 5, 2020 Updated: March 5, 2020
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TAIPEI, Taiwan—The United States will “redouble” its efforts to ensure Taiwan’s participation on the global stage, a senior U.S. official told President Tsai Ing-wen on March 5, amid the Chinese regime’s efforts to prevent the island from having any international footprint.

China says Taiwan is a Chinese province and that only Beijing has the right to represent Taiwan’s 23 million people in international bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), unless the island accepts that it’s part of China.

Tsai, who was reelected by a landslide in January on promises she would stand up to the regime in Beijing, says Taiwan is an independent country called the Republic of China, its official name.

James Moriarty, the U.S.-based chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan, which handles Washington’s relations with Taipei in the absence of official ties, told Tsai in the presidential office that the two have shared values.

“During President Tsai’s second term, we will redouble our efforts to expand Taiwan’s participation on the global stage, a need exemplified by the ongoing spread of coronavirus,” Moriarty said.

Taiwan has been infuriated by China’s efforts to block its access to the WHO during the outbreak, something the United States, Japan, and some European countries have urged the health agency to reconsider.

Moriarty praised Taiwan’s approach to containing the virus. Taiwan has reported 42 cases and one death.

“Taiwan’s measured, transparent and evidence-based approach to containing this disease is a testament to the strength of its democratic system,” he said.

“It also underscores for the whole world to see the value that Taiwan can bring to international organizations. Countries around the world stand to benefit from Taiwan’s knowledge, experience, and generosity.”

The institute’s director, Brent Christensen, is based in Taipei and acts as the de facto U.S. ambassador to the island.

The United States is Taiwan’s most important international backer and arms supplier. China calls Taiwan the most important and sensitive issue in its relationship with the United States.

The Chinese regime has ratcheted up pressure on Taiwan in the past month, with its air force flying close to the island at least three times, forcing Taiwan at least twice to scramble fighters to intercept.

Taiwan has urged China to focus its efforts on fighting the new coronavirus rather than menacing the island.

By Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee