Communications with U.S. smooth despite statement: Taiwan envoy

Washington, Communications between Taiwan and the United States remain smooth and bilateral relations strong despite a U.S. official's recent comment that the U.S. does not recognize the Republic of China (Taiwan) as a country, Taiwan's top envoy to the U.S. said Sunday.

Stanley Kao (???), Taiwan's representative to the U.S., said in Washington D.C. on Sunday that the R.O.C.'s status as an independent, sovereign state is a fact and the "status quo."

"Communications between Taiwan and the U.S. over the matter have been smooth as we have expressed our stance, and they clearly understand it," he said.

The government will continue to defend the nation's democratic values and way of life, he added.

Kao was responding to a comment by Susan Thornton reiterating Washington's stance of recognizing Beijing (the People's Republic of China) instead of Taipei.

At her confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate for the post of assistant secretary for East Asia and the Pacific, Thornton was asked by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio about the recent removal of the R.O.C. national flag from a State Department website.

Thornton said the flag was removed because the U.S. does not recognize Taiwan as an independent country.

"Our policy is to not display the flag of the R.O.C. on U.S. official government websites," she said.

While reaffirming Taiwan's sovereignty, Kao also said the two sides should move beyond the issue and look further into the future.

Kao said Taiwan-U.S. ties have progressed significantly in the past based on the Taiwan Relations Act and Six Assurances, and he expressed confidence that bilateral relations would only grow stronger.

Kao was speaking on the sidelines of a Lunar New Year's celebration held in Chinatown in Washington D.C.

The event was joined by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Laura Stone, acting deputy assistant secretary for the Department of State's China, Mongolia, and Taiwan Coordination.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel