US says won’t change 'One China' policy after Tsai’s speech
Story Code : 744708
In a speech on Monday in Los Angeles, Tsai said that Taiwan's freedom and future was not negotiable, prompting Beijing to lodge an official protest with the United States.
Tsai, a firm defender of Taiwan's independence, spoke at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library while she was in transit on a trip to Paraguay and Belize, two of the few countries that still recognize the government in Taipei.
"We will keep our pledge that we are willing to jointly promote regional stability and peace under the principles of national interests, freedom and democracy," she said.
The State Department said Tuesday the remarks did not represent any move by the administration of President Donald Trump to change the official US stand that accepts Beijing as the sole government of China, and does not officially recognize Taiwan's government.
"Our policy on Taiwan has not changed," the department’s spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, told reporters.
"The United States in regard to this trip facilitates from time to time representatives of the Taiwan authorities to transit the United States."
"Those are largely undertaken out of consideration for the safety and the comfort of those travelers, and that is in keeping with our One China policy."
However, previous US administrations did not Taiwan leaders to make speeches in the country, a move that would have elevated their diplomatic status and angered China.
In 2003, former Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian had a stopover in New York, where he accepted a human rights award and delivered several public speeches.
Beijing’s relations with Taipei have noticeably strained since Tsai rose to power in May 2016, mainly due to her refusal to embrace the position that Taiwan and China are part of a single country.
The US switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979 but has kept trade ties with the island and remains its top supplier of weapons.
The Trump administration, in particular, has several times angered China over matters related to Taiwan. In March, Trump signed new rules that would allow senior US officials to travel to Taiwan to meet their Taiwanese counterparts and vice versa.