TAIBI (Reuters) – The US ambassador to the Netherlands received the Taiwanese representative to the country at the US embassy during the first announced visit to a US government office since the minister lifted trade restrictions.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the change on Saturday, lifting restrictions on meetings with Taiwanese officials in the dying days of the Trump administration before Democrat Joe Biden takes office on January 20.
China condemned the move, saying no one could prevent China’s “reunification”. Beijing considers the democratic island as its own territory, without any right to state relations.
US Ambassador to the Netherlands Pete Hoekstra said on Twitter that Taiwanese representative in the country Chen Hsing-cheng had met him at the embassy on Monday.
He wrote, including photos of them in the embassy building, “They made history today: welcome Taiwanese representative Chen to our embassy.”
“We are delighted that our StateDept colleagues around the world can now welcome our friends of this vibrant democracy to our embassies.”
Chen tweeted that she was very happy and honored to visit the embassy and said it was “the first time in my diplomatic career.”
The United States, like most countries, does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and previous interactions between officials on both sides have been limited to informal places such as hotels.
China is angry at the intense US support for Taiwan under the Trump administration, including arms sales and visits by senior US officials to Taipei.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft will arrive in Taiwan on Wednesday for a three-day visit, which also angered Beijing.
(Prepared by Ben Blanchard. Edited by Jerry Doyle)