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US announces new policy encouraging government ties with Taiwan officials

·2 min read

The US State Department announced on Friday a new policy to "encourage" engagement between American and Taiwanese government officials, a move made to bring Washington into compliance with a law signed by former president Donald Trump.

The new guidelines "encourage US government engagement with Taiwan that reflects our deepening unofficial relationship," State Department spokesman Ned Price said. "Taiwan is a vibrant democracy and an important security and economic partner that is also a force for good in the international community."

Price said the changes "liberalize guidance on contacts with Taiwan, consistent with our unofficial relations, and provide clarity throughout the Executive Branch on effective implementation of our 'one China' policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three Joint Communiques and the Six Assurances."

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The Taiwan Relations Act was signed by then-president Jimmy Carter shortly after Washington switched official diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, and obligate the US government to support Taiwan's defence capabilities.

The communiques are agreements between the US and China that formalised the diplomatic switch and allowed "cultural, commercial and other unofficial relations" between America and Taiwan. The "six assurances" refer to commitments Washington made to Taipei in 1982 to disregard Beijing's opposition to US arms sales to the island.

The act also states that the bilateral engagement "should acknowledge the reality that Taiwan is governed by a representative democratic government that is peacefully constituted through free and fair elections that reflect the will of the people of Taiwan, and that Taiwan is a free and open society that respects universal human rights and democratic values".

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2021 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2021. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.