Chinese state media on Friday claimed victory after the Biden administration deleted a tweet that included the flag of the nation of Taiwan.
Government outlets celebrated the deletion as the Biden administration showing its respect for Beijing’s “One China” policy and as a humiliation for Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. China’s interpretation of the “One China” principle is that that there is only one China in the world, and the Republic of China (Taiwan) is a province of the People’s Republic of China. The United States abides by the “One China” policy, which stipulates that only one China exists without specifying which country is China. Taiwan’s “One China” policy states that only one legitimate China exists, and its capital is Taipei.
The deleted White House tweet listed Taiwan as one of several countries that have received coronavirus vaccine donations from the United States, each accompanied by an icon patterned after its national flag. The tweet was abruptly deleted while Tsai and other Taiwanese leaders were retweeting it and expressing their thanks to the U.S. for its donation.
The Biden administration hastily insisted the Taiwanese flag was an “honest mistake” and its appearance in the tweet did not indicate a shift in U.S. policy towards Taiwan.
“The United States remains committed to our one-China policy. Our policy has been clear for decades and has not changed,” a White House spokesman said Thursday.
China’s state-run Global Times on Friday quoted 98-year-old former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger commemorating the 50th anniversary of his landmark diplomatic mission to Communist China in a video conference by calling for more cooperation between Beijing and Washington, including agreement on the “One China” policy.
“Kissinger told the audience that the most important words from the US government then were acknowledging that the Chinese people considered the island of Taiwan as part of China, there was only but one China as a precondition that would not be challenged, though the question might require a long period for a final resolution,” the Global Times approvingly noted.
“While some current US politicians and policy advisors are calling for a decoupling or disengagement with China, others who took part in the friendly experiences of first engagement said that China-US relationship development is a process of win-win cooperation, and Kissinger as well as former US officials had taken exactly the right approach,” the Global Times sneered.
Another Global Times article on Friday hooted at President Tsai for receiving “waves of mockery” after the Biden administration embarrassed her by deleting its coronavirus vaccine tweet:
The White House’ pulling of the original tweet has attracted much ridicule from Taiwan netizens for Tsai. “A beggar telling a rich man: Thank you for your generosity,” read one reply left on Tsai’s tweet.
Some other netizens from the island of Taiwan vented their anger online said that “stop bragging about the US friendship to us. This is reality! Open your eyes.” Whilst another said “Taiwan and some politicians in Taiwan are just pathetic.”
Tsai’s supposedly awkward tweet did not assume any great change in U.S. policy was offered by the Biden White House — she merely thanked the United States for its “generosity” and said “together, we will beat this pandemic” — but the Global Times was delighted to find some Taiwanese who felt insulted and demoralized by the White House pulling its message.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was among the American critics who said the White House displayed weakness by deleting the flag of Taiwan, which he proudly reproduced in his own tweet.
Cruz said the White House is “terrified” to acknowledge the flag of the ROC “for fear of offending communist dictator Xi [Jinping.].”
“Biden is weak on China. And appeasement never works,” he wrote.