asia

Taiwan asks US not to cause 'misunderstanding' after flag tweet removed


TAIPEI: Taiwan has asked its office in Washington to remind the United States not to cause “unnecessary speculation or misunderstanding” after the White House deleted a social media post on COVID-19 vaccine donations that included Taiwan’s flag.

The White House COVID-19 Response Team this week posted on Twitter an image giving details of US vaccine donations globally, including last month’s Moderna shots sent to Taiwan, and showed the island’s flag along with those of others getting vaccines.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen retweeted it, adding: “Thank you to the US for your generosity. Together, we will beat this pandemic.”

However, the post was then removed, apparently on Wednesday.

The United States, like most countries, does not formally recognise Taiwan’s government, only having official relations with Beijing, which claims Taiwan as Chinese territory under a “one China” policy.

READ: China’s Xi pledges ‘reunification’ with Taiwan on party’s birthday

China is invariably angered by any suggestion that Taiwan is, or deserves to be recognised as, a separate country.

Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said the ministry had noted that the Twitter post had gone.

“Regarding the reason for the deletion of this tweet, as the media has different interpretations, the Foreign Ministry has asked the representative office in the United States to remind the United States not to cause unnecessary speculation or misunderstanding from all walks of life due to the removal of the related tweet,” she said.

READ: Commentary – Taiwan is becoming the biggest test in US-China relations

The American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy, referred questions to the White House.

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Reuters was not able to immediately contact the White House during overnight hours in Washington.

The United States is Taiwan’s most important international backer and supplier of arms, and the Biden administration has moved to re-assure that support.

However, White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell said on Tuesday that while Washington supports a strong unofficial relationship it does not support Taiwan’s formal independence.

Ou said that in recent years mutual trust between Taiwan and the United States has been “continuously improved”, and that Biden’s team has shown strong support for Taiwan, including the vaccine donation.



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