TAIPEI – The US State Department has updated its fact sheet on Taiwan once more, reiterating that it does not favor formal independence for the Chinese-claimed, democratically administered island.
The State Department altered its webpage on Taiwan last month, eliminating language both opposing Taiwan’s independence and confirming Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is part of China, which enraged Beijing.
Washington stated that the modification did not reflect a policy change. That phrasing has since been amended once more to include the phrase “we do not favor Taiwan independence.”
The modification was initially reported on Friday (Jun 3) by Taiwan’s official Central News Agency and appears to have occurred on May 28, the date at the top of the fact sheet.
According to a State Department official, the fact sheet was modified again on Friday to reflect Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent speech on China, in which he stated that the US does not support Taiwan’s independence.
“We reject unilateral changes to the status quo from either side; we oppose Taiwan’s independence; and we want cross-Strait problems to be settled peacefully,” the official added, referring to the strait that separates the island from the Asian mainland.
Other US officials have recently reiterated that position, claiming that the long-standing policy has not altered.
Taiwan is already a de facto independent country, albeit with little international recognition. Although Washington has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan, it is the country’s most important international backer and arms supplier.
Taiwan’s formal name is still the Republic of China, after the government fled to the island in 1949 after losing a civil war with the Communist Party, which established the People’s Republic of China with its capital in Beijing.
In 2005, China’s government passed legislation authorizing military action if it believes Taiwan has or is about to secede.
Taiwan’s leadership claims that only the island’s 23 million people have the right to select their own future, and that while the island wishes for peace, it will defend itself if attacked.