Taiwanis say they’re overwhelmed by White House invitation

Written by R, e, t, e, and s, CNN

Taiwan was surprised — and delighted — to learn from Washington that it was invited to the White House to be a guest at summits to be hosted by President Trump this fall.

The ex-guest politician told CNN: “We are very excited to have the chance to go back. We go back to meet our friend.”

“If we can try our best to work closely, I think we can do a lot to help the U.S.-Taiwan relationship. We will try.”

“The opportunity is there and the best will come out.”

The official list of 45 heads of state who were invited also includes Presidents Jinping, Xi, Mohamed, Obama, Duterte and Xi, and Angolan President Joao Lourenco.

The invitation, sent by the Office of the National Security Advisor, adds Taiwan to the list of participants at the “Summit for Demanding Democracy,” also known as the G-20.

The “Belt and Road” initiative between China and Southeast Asia was listed on a list of 57 nations to “the military” — leading to speculation that the Chinese government-owned overseas “military enterprises” were also to be invited.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Taipei told CNN the invitation came as a surprise, despite frequent meetings between President Trump and President Tsai Ing-wen over the years.

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The protocol of attending summits has consistently rewarded China, analysts say, but the unusual inclusion of Taiwan could test relations between Beijing and Washington, or alienate allies.

Thought at first to be excluding Taiwan, official invitations to the G-20 and a working dinner was announced over the weekend.

Leaders in over 100 nations are expected to attend the two-day meeting beginning in Argentina on November 30.

After Taiwan’s initial embarrassment, China released a statement to Washington, stating that it would not “stir up trouble” at the summit.

Asked about its introduction to the meeting, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to a request for comment: “It is the first time that the US includes Taiwan in the G-20 official participation list. The invitation serves to show the US’ healthy diplomatic, economic and military alliance with Taiwan.”

China has been pursuing a hard line policy with Taiwan and the U.S. since Tsai Ing-wen, from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, was elected President in 2016.

The change followed the 20th anniversary of Taiwan’s 1997 accession to the World Trade Organization.

The US has already been involved in Taiwan’s security and defense policies for several years.

It changed defense guidelines and ordered China twice to cut steel from its military industries.

It also proactively supported a major export control order on China’s 10 percent annual overseas acquisitions from certain key technology industries, most recently ordering China to cut its expected overseas military procurement by 30% from this year’s level.

Yet Washington’s engagement with China has raised some questions about the relationship.

Unsurprisingly, Beijing has suggested the inclusion of Taiwan in the G-20 could be seen as an added provocation that could make the future of US-China relations more tenuous.

On the other hand, ties between the two countries may have already reached an impasse in 2018 after the US announced it was looking to establish and operationalize a new national security strategy for China.

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