Changes in relations between US-China
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Biden officials are trying to get Taipei to change the name of his office in Washington to include the word “Taiwan”, which is likely to provoke outrage from Beijing.
A number of people quoted in the US internal talks said Washington was seriously considering a request from Taiwan to change its name from US headquarters from the “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office” (Tecro) to the “Taiwanese Embassy”.
Kurt Campbell, a White House Asia consultant, has contributed to the change, according to two people familiar with the discussion. Another said the request was greatly supported by the National Security Council and officials from the Asian department.
The final election has not been held and will require President Joe Biden to sign a decree, people say.
Changing the office’s name will anger China, which sees Taiwan as part of its empire, and this will help the growing relationship between Washington and Beijing.
The U.S. and Taiwan governments have not responded to Taiwan’s request. But Chinese ambassadors to Washington say they are “strongly opposed” to any US-Taiwanese alliance.
“It must suspend all communications with Taiwan, refrain from sending false signals to ‘independent Taiwanese soldiers’ or attempt to refute China’s actions, and to regulate and properly address Taiwan issues, so as not to disrupt China-US relations and cross peacefully,” “said the ambassador’s spokesman.
The name change could be a success in Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen’s efforts to reverse Beijing’s reforms since 2016. Between 2017 and 2019, seven Taipei missions in unknown countries, including Nigeria, Jordan and Ecuador, had “Taiwan” or “Republic of China” forcibly removed from their names by the countries under their care under Beijing.
In July, Taiwan opened an office in Lithuania called the “Representative Office in Taiwan”. It angered China, which reminded its ambassador to Vilnius and told Lithuania to remember his ambassador to Beijing.
On Thursday, Biden was arrested call again and Chinese leader Xi Jinping since he became President in order to address the crisis in the Sino-US relationship after previous meetings that did not make much progress.
The White House said the two leaders had “multiple, sensible discussions” and that Biden “reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to peace, stability and development in the Indo-Pacific and the world”.
Taiwan is the source of tensions between the two powers. One person involved in a request to change the Taiwanese embassy in Washington said Taipei had discussed the matter with the US at the end of Trump’s administration but had asked for Biden in March. An official in Taiwan said Taipei had been pushing for temporary change.
Washington does not consider Tecro as ambassador because it changed its stance from Taipei to Beijing in 1979. China opposes international representation by its name – Republic of China – or its territory because it thinks it is promoting an independent state.
Two people quoted in the U.S. debate over the name change said the opposite is that the change is a symbolic one that could escalate tensions between China and the US and Taiwan with little real benefit.
U.S. and Taiwanese officials were due to hold a series of “Special Channel” talks in Annapolis, Maryland, on Friday. The Taiwanese delegation includes their national security adviser and Joseph Wu, his foreign minister who is unable to travel to Washington due to US policy on Taiwanese officials visiting the headquarters.
The “Special Channel” conference, which is usually held to avoid clashes with Beijing, will be the first time the Biden team has held high-level, face-to-face talks with Taiwan.
Biden has been involved in everything from China as the Hong Kong government promotes democracy to their persecution of the Uyghurs. Tensions between Taiwan have intensified as China has flown more and more warplanes to Taiwan’s “Recognized War Zone”.
Bonnie Glaser, a Taiwanese specialist at the German Marshall Fund, questioned the pressure to change the name, saying the US and Taiwan should “focus their attention on key actions that will strengthen Taiwan’s security, not symbolic approaches to China”.
But Randy Schriver, an Asian worker for Bush and Trump, said the US should consider the request. “There is no small problem for Beijing to complain, but we must show respect for our fellow Taiwanese people based on how they want to be represented.”