US calls Taiwan key partner in Indo-Pacific

"As a leading democracy and a technological powerhouse, Taiwan is a key US partner in the Indo-Pacific," the statement read.
US calls Taiwan key partner in Indo-Pacific
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WASHINGTON: The US Department of State on Tuesday made a major update to its factsheet on the country's relations with Taiwan calling it a key partner in the Indo-Pacific. "As a leading democracy and a technological powerhouse, Taiwan is a key US partner in the Indo-Pacific," the statement read.

"The United States and Taiwan share similar values, deep commercial and economic links, and strong people-to-people ties, which form the bedrock of our friendship and serve as the impetus for expanding US engagement with Taiwan," the statement further said.

The strong statement in open support of the Taiwanese government is a significant departure from the earlier US stand which used to clearly state that "the United States does not support Taiwan independence."

The new factsheet recognizes only the bare minimum framework of the one-china policy, which the US is bound to under its commitments to the People's Republic of China (PRC) under the 1979 US-PRC Joint Communique.

"Through the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), a non-governmental organization mandated by the Taiwan Relations Act to carry out the United States' unofficial relations with Taiwan, our cooperation with Taiwan continues to expand," the new factsheet states. In November last year, President Joe Biden could be clearly heard saying to reporters "it's independent. It makes its own decisions," in reference to Taiwan, Taiwan News reported.

The statement quickly generated controversy because the US has never officially stated its stance on whether it considers Taiwan to be an independent nation or not, the report said. It is not immediately clear if these modifications represent a change in the U.S. 'one China' policy and stance on Taiwan's sovereignty. The State Department has yet to respond to a request for comment on the fact sheet changes, the report added.

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