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White House to hold secret talks with Taiwan officials in Washington

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The National Security Adviser Wellington Koo and Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu will meet in private at the White House next week as part of a special diplomatic conversation that will be kept out of the public eye to avoid upsetting Beijing.

Wu and Koo would head the delegation, according to five sources with knowledge of the “special channel” of the private negotiations.

The Taiwanese team would see John Finer, the US deputy national security adviser, the following week after arriving over the weekend. Wendy Sherman, the deputy secretary of state, would attend the discussions, according to one source.

The long-standing diplomatic conduit, which has become more important as China has grown more assertive surrounding Taiwan and is used to address security matters, has not been brought up by successive American administrations.

When Wu oversaw a team that visited with US representatives in Annapolis, a city in the state of Maryland, the Financial Times exposed the channel’s existence two years earlier. The de facto embassy of Taiwan in the US, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, and the White House both declined to comment.

The talks take place at a time when relations between the US and China are tense and have grown more so since the American military shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon that had been flying over North America for eight days.

Please make use of the sharing options available through the share button located at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to distribute to others is against’s terms of service and copyright policy. To purchase more rights, send an email to [email protected] Using the gift article service, subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles each month. During a security conference in Munich on Saturday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is attempting to see Wang Yi, China’s senior diplomat. Due to the controversy brought on by the balloon, Blinken cancelled a trip to China where he was supposed to see President Xi Jinping.

The special channel meeting takes place only a few days after Michael Chase, the top Pentagon China official, visited Taiwan. This was only Chase’s second trip to Taiwan as a senior US defence policymaker since 1979, when Washington switched Beijing to Taipei as the diplomatic representative of China.

China opposes American officials travelling to Taiwan and Taiwanese politicians travelling to the US, especially when they are acting in an official capacity. Sino-US ties reached a new low in August of last year as a result of China’s large-scale military drills, which included firing missiles over Taiwan in protest of then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Chinese officials claim that the US is eroding the “One China” policy, under which Washington acknowledges Taiwan’s status as a part of China while still recognising Beijing as the country’s sole government.

The US disputes altering its policy. But by easing limits on US diplomats and officials contacting their Taiwanese counterparts, the Biden administration has followed in the footsteps of the Trump administration.

To avoid giving China a cause to criticise the US and Taiwan, the special channel has occasionally been held outside of Washington and away from federal government buildings.

The conference, however, will take place at the American Institute in Taiwan’s Virginia headquarters. AIT is a private organisation established in accordance with the US Taiwan Relations Act to handle Taiwan’s unofficial ties.

According to four persons with knowledge of the matter, Laura Rosenberger, the top National Security Council representative for China, is getting ready to quit her position at the White House to lead AIT in the US. She will be succeeded at the White House by senior career diplomat Sarah Beran.

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