Taiwan’s top diplomat makes rare visit to U.S. Capital Region: report

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu met with senior U.S. officials near Washington on Tuesday, marking the first visit by Taiwan’s top diplomat to the capital region since the U.S. switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, local reports said.

Taiwan’s National Security Council Secretary-General Wu and Wellington Gu held a meeting with senior U.S. officials including Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and the State Department’s top diplomat for East Asia, Daniel Krittenbrink, according to the Liberty Times and Taiwan’s Central News Agency. Press agency for closed-door talks.

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, left, waves before talks with U.S. officials in Washington, Feb. 21, 2023. (Central News Agency / Kyodo News Agency)

The meeting, held at the Washington headquarters of the American Institute in Taiwan in Virginia, lasted about seven hours, the agency said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a news conference on Wednesday that Beijing resolutely opposes “any form of official exchanges between the United States and Taiwan” and has lodged stern representations with Washington over the Taiwan delegation’s visit to the United States.

The spokesman said Beijing urged Washington to abide by the one-China principle, “earnestly fulfill the promise made by the US leader not to support Taiwan’s independence” and stop creating new tensions in the Taiwan Strait.

Since the severance of diplomatic relations, the United States has restricted visits by Taiwan’s president, vice president, prime minister, foreign minister and defense minister to Washington and its surrounding areas.

Wu’s trip to the capital region comes after the United States enacted the Taiwan Travel Act in 2018, which facilitated the exchange of visits by senior officials between the country and the self-governing democratic island.

Taiwanese newspapers reported that amid growing concerns about China’s territorial ambitions in the self-governing territory, senior officials may have discussed U.S. arms sales to the island during the meeting.

U.S. participants also reportedly included White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China Michael R. Chase.

Communist-led China and Taiwan have been administered separately since they were split by a civil war in 1949. Beijing considers the island a renegade province that can be united with the mainland by force if necessary.

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