The United States Trade Representative and U.S. Department of State reportedly took down the Taiwan flag from two of its websites last September, prompting the nation to express disappointment and call the removal “inexplicable” and “inadmissible.”
Andrew Lee, spokesperson for Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), said on Jan. 24 that the decision would “raise doubt among Taiwanese citizens about the current state of the Taiwan-U.S. relations,” Taiwan News reported.
Taiwan’s United Daily News (UDN) publication first reported on the drastic change of the two government websites on Wednesday. However, the news outlet wasn’t able to get a direct response from a U.S. representative regarding why the government took the image down, according to Shanghaiist.
The United States Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs told UDN through its spokesperson Grace Choi that the policy between American and Taiwan remains the same despite the removal.
The U.S. State Department’s spokesperson Heather Nauert reiterated the same sentiments in a statement on Thursday:
“I can tell you our policy regarding Taiwan has not changed. The United States remains committed to our One China policy based on Three Joint Communiqués and the Taiwan Relations Act. We consider Taiwan to be a vital partner, a democratic success story, and a force for good in the world. Taiwan shares our values, has earned our respect, and continues to merit our strong support.”
The Chinese government has long protested against the flying of the Taiwanese flag at major gatherings such as the World University Games, also known as “Little Olympics,” where Taiwan was allowed to participate as long as they go as Chinese Taipei, Shanghaiist reported.
Cambodia’s prime minister, Hun Sen, asked the citizens of the country not to fly the Taiwanese flag out of “respect of China’s sovereignty and independence.”
“I request to people here: Please don’t raise the Taiwanese flag whenever you are gathering, even at the hotel during Taiwanese national holidays. It is not allowed,” he said in February 2017, The Cambodia Daily reported.