Senior U.S. official for international organizations visits Taiwan

03/29/2019 10:04 PM
Image taken from Pixabay
Image taken from Pixabay

Taipei, March 29 (CNA) The U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs is currently visiting Taiwan to promote bilateral exchanges in international economic and development issues.

During her visit from Wednesday to Saturday, Nerissa J. Cook is scheduled to participate in meetings pertaining to international economic and development issues in order to advance ongoing cooperation with Taiwan and other partners in these areas, according to the American Institute in Taiwan's (AIT) statement, which didn't provide further details.

In a separate statement, Taiwan's foreign ministry welcomed Cook's visit, saying that she conducts exchanges with related government authorities regarding global issues that concern mutual interests.

According to information from the U.S. State Department, Cook specializes in national security, global issues, and emerging democracies.

Her last visit to Taiwan was in March 2016.

Cook's visit came against the backdrop that Taiwan once again may not be invited to the annual World Health Assembly (WHA), due to China's obstruction.

The WHA, the decision-making body of the WHO, is scheduled to hold its 71st session from May 20-28 in Geneva.

Taiwan's government has not received an invitation to the WHA in the past two years and is unlikely to receive one this year.

According to an exclusive report in the Apple Daily earlier this month, the WHO, when asked if Taiwan would be invited, said an "understanding" between Taipei and Beijing was a prerequisite for Taiwan to attend the annual meeting.

In the wake of the report, the AIT, which represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties, reiterated Washington's support for Taipei to join the WHA.

"The United States will continue to support Taiwan as it expands its significant global contributions, and as it resists efforts to constrain its appropriate participation on the world stage," AIT spokesperson Amanda Mansour had previously said.

In the period from 2009-2016, Taiwan participated in the WHA as an observer, under the name Chinese Taipei, with the help of the United States and amid better relations with China during the then Kuomintang administration, which prioritized reducing tensions and building friendly ties with Beijing.

Since 2017, however, China has persuaded the WHO not to invite Taiwan, in line with Beijing's hardline stance on cross-Taiwan Strait relations after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party took office in May 2016.

Tsai has refused to accept China's condition for continuing good relations -- that she acknowledge the "1992 consensus," a tacit agreement reached between the Taiwanese and mainland Chinese governments in 1992 that the two sides are part of one China, with the KMT saying each side can define what that China means.

Tsai insists the agreement only means what Beijing wants it to mean -- that the China was the People's Republic of China, with Taiwan as a part of it.

(By Joseph Yeh)


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