U.S. ambassador to Palau John Hennessey-Niland, alongside Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr. visited Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China, this past month. Among the objectives of the trip were to promote a Covid-free “travel bubble” between the two islands, and to promote the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act, or TAIPEI, U.S. federal legislation that aims to strengthen trade relations with Taiwan and advocate for Taiwan’s role in international organizations, such as the World Health Organization. Every member of Congress, both the House and Senate, voted for it.
While Palau might be small, a U.S. ambassador traveling to Taiwan is a big deal; Hennessey-Niland is the first U.S. ambassador to visit the island in an official capacity since the official end of U.S.-Taiwan diplomatic relations in 1979.
China, as in the People’s Republic of China, was not pleased with the visit, implying that the actions of the U.S. undermine the one-China policy, a creature born out of a series of agreements, most notably the Shanghai Communiqué, in which the U.S. shifted diplomatic ties to Beijing.
“I want to stress that the one-China principle is a universally recognized norm for international relations and a common consensus recognized, accepted and practiced by the vast majority of countries in the world. Following the one-China principle is the overriding trend with popular support,” said China Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian in remarks to the media.
“The Taiwan question is the most important and sensitive issue in China-US relations,” Zhao emphasized.
While China as a civilization dates back thousands of years, China as a nation is more ambiguous. The imperial era of China came to an end in 1912 with the founding of the Republic of China and the establishment of the Kuomintang (or Guomintang) also known as the Nationalist Party, which became the dominant political party of the republic.