Highest-level meeting between security officials in four decades . . .
Senior security officials in Taiwan and the U.S. have held their first meeting in 40 years, since the U.S. ended formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979, the island’s foreign affairs ministry revealed Saturday. U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton and Taiwanese National Security Chief David Lee met earlier this month to reiterate support for a “free and open Indo-Pacific region.” A week after the meeting, Taiwan announced it was renaming its Coordination Council for North American Affairs to the Taiwan Council for U.S. Affairs, dropping the suggestion that the council was non-diplomatic in nature.
Meeting inflames Beijing . . .
China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang said Beijing is “extremely dissatisfied and resolutely opposed” to the meeting and warned countries against any official exchanges with Taiwan. Three weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Taiwan Assurance Act of 2019, reaffirming America’s commitment to Taiwan. Last week, the U.S. sent senior diplomats to the Pacific Islands, urging six island nations that currently recognize Taiwan not to withdraw their diplomatic recognition.
Canada watches carefully . . .
As U.S.-China tensions grow more strained due to the escalating trade war, some in the U.S. have pushed for further relations with Taiwan. Canada, in a similar situation of strained relations with China, has also made statements, though more muted, about an international role for Taiwan. The Executive Director of the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei recently tweeted support for Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly. As Canada continues to navigate these complicated political waters, it must tread carefully between these two conflicting superpowers.