Taiwan called on the United States not to cause “unnecessary speculation or misunderstanding” after President Joe Biden’s administration deleted a Twitter post that included the Taiwan flag Wednesday.
According to Reuters, the White House COVID-19 Response Team tweeted an image providing details to global vaccine donations, including those sent to Taiwan last month. The image included the sovereign island nation’s flag.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen retweeted the post, writing, “Thank you to the U.S. for your generosity. Together, we will beat this pandemic.”
After the post was removed, Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou expressed concern, warning against causing misinterpretations.
“Regarding the reason for the deletion of this tweet, as the media has different interpretations, the Foreign Ministry has asked the representative office in the United States to remind the United States not to cause unnecessary speculation or misunderstanding from all walks of life due to the removal of the related tweet,” she said.
When asked about the deleted post, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called it an “honest mistake,” adding that the administration remains “committed to our one China policy based on the Taiwan Relations Act.”
This week, Japan vowed to defend Taiwan with the United States if China decides to invade the sovereign nation, asserting that “Okinawa could be next.”
On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso said China moving into Taiwan could present an imminent threat to the Japanese city of Okinawa, Kyodo News Agency reported.
“If a major problem took place in Taiwan, it would not be too much to say that it could relate to a survival-threatening situation [for Japan],” Aso said at a fundraising party, quoted by Kyodo. “We need to think hard that Okinawa could be the next.”
An op-ed in China’s state-run publication Global Times slammed the deputy prime minister’s remarks, warning that “Japan would dig its own grave” if it interferes with Taiwan.
The op-ed, written by Song Zhongping, claims that Japan’s “inflammatory comments” went too far. “Japan needs to remember that its survival depends on whether Japan understands its situation correctly – not on how China is prepared to resolve the Taiwan question,” Zhongping wrote.
In June, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Taiwan needs to prepare for a military conflict with China, telling CNN, “As Taiwan decision-makers, we cannot take any chances, we have to be prepared. When the Chinese government is saying they would not renounce the use of force, and they conduct military exercises around Taiwan, we would rather believe that it is real.”