Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking for an explanation for “downgrading Taiwan’s representation” at the recent Summit for Democracy that Biden hosted last week.
“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,” the Florida Republican wrote, according to a press release. “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.”
Rubio noted that during the speech by Taiwanese Minister Audrey Tang her video feed was cut off just after she displayed a slide in her presentation showing Taiwan as an autonomous country. The audio of her presentation continued, but the video showed a Zoom profile picture with a disclaimer stating that “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.”
The senator wrote in his letter to Biden that “sadly, your administration’s attempts to accommodate Beijing did not stop with downgrading Taiwan’s representation. According to widely available press reports, White House officials cut off the transmission of Minister Tang’s video while she was presenting because Tang had a map that displayed China and Taiwan in different colors. If true, this is yet another concession to the CCP.”
He also questioned why Taiwan was represented at the summit by a digital democracy program director and not a head of state, like each of the other countries taking part in the event.
“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,” Rubio said. “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.”