Blinken calls Taiwan 'country'

TEHRAN, Mar. 13 (MNA) – The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken used the word "country" when he mentioned Taiwan during a congressional hearing this week.

As Taiwan News reported, Blinken has broken a previous taboo among US officials about using such language to refer to the self-governing island to avoid irritating China.

During a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the Biden administration's foreign policy agenda, Blinken was responding to California Republican Representative Young Kim, who called on the United States to include Taiwan in the upcoming Democracy Summit.

"I share your view that Taiwan is a strong democracy, a very strong technological power, and a country that can contribute to the world, not just to its own people. COVID is a very good example of that," Blinken said.

The State Department used to have an unwritten policy to avoid using the word "country" when referring to the self-ruled island as part of the US commitment to Beijing's so-called "One China Policy".

China considers Taiwan as a breakaway province that should be reunified with the mainland one day.

Chinese authorities often protest strongly if government officials or companies around the world call Taiwan a country. A number of international companies including the Marriott hotel chain have been forced to apologize to China after they listed Taiwan in the same group as other countries in the world.

The Trump administration officially lifted its restrictions on official contact with Taiwan on 10 January, towards the end of the term, including prohibitions on using the terms "country" or "government". The move drew harsh criticism from Beijing.

China's foreign minister Wang Yi urged the new US administration last week "to fully understand the high sensitivity of the Taiwan issue" and abandon "dangerous practices of crossing the line and playing with fire".

HJ/PR

News Code 171049

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