Senator Rubio demands answers about Biden administration’s censure of Taiwan

by | Dec 14, 2021


State Senator Marco Rubio sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Tuesday seeking to know why the Biden Administration downgraded Taiwan’s representation at the Summit for Democracy last week.

The virtual summit was marred in controversy when the video feed of Taiwanese Minister Audrey Tang was cut and replaced with just an audio stream after a map in her slide presentation showed Taiwan as an autonomous nation.  When Tang’s audio feed returned, accompanied by a simple zoom profile picture, a disclaimer adorned the screen stating “Any opinions expressed by individuals on this panel are those of the individual, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States government,” according to Reuters.

“Decades of a failed engagement policy should have taught us by now that making concessions to Beijing is a one-sided and fruitless endeavor. And yet it continues,” Rubio wrote. “The Chinese Communist Party never reciprocates such concessions, nor do they exercise constraint, or otherwise modify their bombastic response to our perceived political offenses. All that your administration accomplished in downgrading Taiwan’s representation was to once again signal weakness rather than resolve.”

Washington officials reportedly feared the differentiating factor between China and Taiwan in an American-hosted event would be seen as antagonistic to China and breaking the one-China policy that prevents political rhetoric from splitting the two apart.

Rubio’s letter asks Biden what steps his administration plans to take to make amends for this mistake, as well as clarification as to why Taiwan was represented by Tang, a digital democracy program director, and not a head of state as each other participating country was. Rubio’s letter goes on to purport that nations seeking to be represented by lower-level figures were met with stiff resistance by American organizers.

“Taiwan should have been represented at the summit by its duly-elected head of state, President Tsai Ing-wen, not by an unelected lower-level official of your choosing, said Rubio. “The Taiwan Travel Act stipulates that U.S. policy should ‘allow high-level officials of Taiwan to enter the United States, under conditions that demonstrate appropriate respect for the dignity of such officials, and to meet with officials of the United States…’  While this summit was virtual and did not require travel, your decision to invite a lower-level official to represent Taiwan was clearly at odds with the spirit of the Taiwan Travel Act.”

Rubio has been fiercely critical of the Chinese Communist Party over the years, claiming that China has weaponized American consumer markets for profit. The Senator has made efforts to combat human rights violations in China by pressuring companies like Airbnb, Coca-Cola, and NBC to remove their products from China, stating that they are ‘ignoring an ongoing genocide in the blind pursuit of profits.’

In totality, the summit involved 111 participating countries across six continents. Topics of discussion involved bolstering democracy in the age of COVID-19 and combating global human rights issues. The United States hosted the event and covered three domestic focuses: defending against authoritarianism, addressing and fighting corruption, and advancing respect for human rights.


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