Secretary of State Antony Blinken increased tensions with China over Taiwan Tuesday when he called on UN member states to support Taipei’s “robust” participation in the UN system.
“That is why we encourage all UN member states to join us in supporting Taiwan’s robust, meaningful participation throughout the UN system and in the international community,” Blinken said. His comments came a few days after the State Department said “high-level” US and Taiwanese representatives met to discuss a “meaningful” UN role for Taipei.
Taiwan hasn’t held a seat at the UN since Beijing joined the organization in 1971. Beijing views US efforts to boost Taiwan’s UN participation as a violation of the one-China policy the US agreed to when it severed diplomatic relations with Taipei and formally recognized Beijing in 1979.
On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian denounced Blinken’s comments. “The US has continued to make mistakes in words and deeds on the Taiwan issue, and China has made a firm and necessary response. If the US continues to play the ‘Taiwan card’, it will inevitably cause a huge disruptive effect on Sino-US relations,” he said.
Starting under the Trump administration, the US has taken steps to boost diplomatic ties with Taipei, including loosening restrictions on contacts between US and Taiwanese officials. The change in US policy was recently explained by Raymond Greene, the deputy director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the de facto US embassy.
Greene said when he first took his post at the AIT, the US viewed the situation with Taiwan as a strain on US-China relations. Now, Washington views Taiwan as an opportunity to counter Beijing. “The United States no longer sees Taiwan as a ‘problem’ in our relations with China, we see it as an opportunity to advance our shared vision,” he said.