Washington has announced that it will be taking off some restrictions in its relations with Taiwan in order to make it easier for U.S officials to meet Taiwanese representatives.

This comes as against increasing pressure from China over relations with Taiwan even amid the heightened tensions between both countries.

The State Department notes that although the U.S still considers Beijing to be China’s legitimate government, consistent with its switch of recognition in 1979, but will do away with some of the convoluted rules that restricted dealings with Taiwan, including in-person meetings.

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According to the statement released by State Department spokesman, Ned Price, the updated guidance “underscores Taiwan is a vibrant democracy and an important security and economic partner that is also a force for good in the international community.”

“These new guidelines liberalize guidance on contacts with Taiwan, consistent with our unofficial relations,” he added.

Palau President Surangel Whipps, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and U.S. Ambassador to Palau John Hennessey-Niland attend a news conference in Taipei, Taiwan March 29, 2021. REUTERS/Ann Wang

This implies that the new guidelines will allow US officials to invite Taiwanese representatives into government buildings in Washington or attend working-level meetings at the Taiwanese mission, both of which were previously prohibited, a State Department official said.

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The move officially marks an actionable step towards the US’ vocal support for Taiwan since the Joe Biden administration kicked off.

Reacting, Taiwan’s mission in Washington – officially called the “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States”, rather than an embassy – has welcomed the new guidelines, saying they reflected a bipartisan consensus for closer relations.

“Taiwan and the US share a deep and abiding partnership based on our common values and joint interests,” it said, pointing to cooperation on global health, space, trade and democracy promotion.

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