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12 Jan, 2021 10:02

Taiwan’s representative visits US embassy in the Netherlands, as China condemns lifting restrictions on official meetings

Taiwan’s representative visits US embassy in the Netherlands, as China condemns lifting restrictions on official meetings

The US ambassador in the Netherlands has hosted Taiwan’s representative at the US embassy, in the first such meeting since Washington removed restrictions on Taiwanese officials’ visits to American government offices.

Pete Hoekstra, the US ambassador to the Netherlands, described the meeting with Taiwan’s representative to the country, Chen Hsing-hsing, which took place on Monday, as symbolic. “Made some history today: Welcomed Taiwan Representative Chen to our Embassy,” the US envoy tweeted. “Glad that our [State Department] colleagues around the world will now be able to host our friends from this vibrant democracy on our Embassy grounds.”

Chen tweeted she was “extremely pleased and honored to visit” the embassy. She explained that such a meeting, “the very first time in my diplomatic career,” was possible thanks to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision on January 9.

Pompeo had lifted all self-imposed restrictions on US executive branch agencies’ interactions with their counterparts from Taiwan, and Hoekstra believes this move was “an important shift for a vibrant democracy and steadfast partner.”

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Beijing, which pursues a “one-China” policy in its relations with Taiwan, has condemned Pompeo’s move. The Foreign Ministry on Monday defended the country’s sovereignty and warned that nobody would prevent China’s “reunification.”

China has also objected to a planned a three-day visit to Taiwan by the US ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, who is due to arrive there on Wednesday. 

Politicians in Taiwan, in contrast, welcomed Washington’s moves to change the way contacts with the island's diplomats were held. Chen, in particular, was quoted as saying that Hoekstra “immediately reached out to invite her to the embassy as soon as he learned that restrictions had been lifted.”

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