During the U.S.-organized Democracy Summit last week, a Taiwanese minister’s video presentation was interrupted just as she was showing a map showing Taiwan in a different color than China. Sources told Reuters that the abrupt cut was made at the behest of the White House.
Taiwan’s digital minister, Audrey Tang, was sharing a slideshow of a map clearly showing the island’s independence, a fact that apparently caused great discomfort among U.S. officials due to the tension surrounding the so-called “one-China policy.”
Thus, when the map appeared, the video transmission was cut off and only the audio of Minister Tang with a caption on the screen reading “Minister Audrey Tang Taiwan” remained.
Further reaffirming that the White House was uncomfortable with the differentiation between Taiwan and China at the conference was the fact that a disclaimer was later read on the screen that read, “The views expressed by the individuals on this panel are those of the individual, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. government.”
In her presentation, Tang included the color-coded map produced by the South African NGO CIVICUS, which ranks the world according to its openness on civil rights. Taiwan on the map is colored green, making it the only regional entity described as “open.” In contrast, all others, including China, Laos, Vietnam, and North Korea, were labeled “closed,” “repressed,” “obstructed,” and colored red.
According to what a source, who did not disclose his name, told Reuters, after the fact, the White House was upset with the Taiwan administration because the map slide had apparently not appeared during the proofs of presentation before the summit.
“They choked,” he said of the White House reaction, after which involved the sending of several e-mails between government officials of the two countries.
And another source who was part of the summit, as indicated by the media outlet, claimed that the disruption was on the orders of the Biden administration. “It was clearly policy concerns,” he said.
The sources further suggested that this action hinted that U.S. support for Taiwan is not as “rock solid.”
Regarding this, the media outlet Taiwan News, criticized the apparent U.S. duality saying that its approach is based on “not taking a clear stance on whether Taiwan is really part of China.”
However, both Minister Tang and the U.S. State Department denied that this had anything to do with the on-screen appearance of the map and denied it to the media outlet citing technical problems with the screen sharing.
The guidelines governing U.S. government mapping since 2020 specify that U.S. government maps must be displayed on the screen. The guidelines governing U.S. government mapping since 2020 specify that maps showing sovereignty with colors must have a unified color for Taiwan and China.
However, Bonnie Glaser of the independent U.S. public policy think tank German Marshall Fund of the United States said these guidelines do not apply to a non-U.S. government map, “but the U.S. would likely want to avoid appearing to endorse that Taiwan is not part of China,” she said, referring to what happened with the summit map.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) considers Taiwan part of its territory. It threatens to retake the island by force, constantly increasing the dispatch of fighter jets to its air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
Tensions between the United States and the Chinese regime have escalated as the regime has increased military pressure on Taiwan.
As reported by The B.L. earlier this month, the White House, following talks between the Biden administration and the Chinese regime, assured that “President Biden underscored that the United States remains committed to the ‘one-China policy’, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances,” and that it “strongly opposes” any moves that would alter the “status quo” in the region or “undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
Meanwhile, Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s president, has made it clear that her country will not be intimidated and “will continue to step up cooperation with the United States in order to uphold our shared values of freedom and democracy and to ensure peace and stability in the region.”