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Taiwan’s top diplomat in Washington takes a subtle path


She derives much of her influence from her close relationship with Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, who represents Taiwan’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, and for whom she served as a spokesperson. their. In addition, Ms. Hsiao considers Mr. Bolton and Biden’s top Asian National Security Council official, Kurt Campbell, to be longtime friends.

For years, US officials banned Ms. Hsiao’s predecessors from visiting the White House and State Department. Such guidelines have been relaxed over time, and she now pays for regular, if discreet, visits to the West Wing and Foggy Bottom.

She’s a regular on Capitol Hill, as she sat next to Kevin McCarthy, then leader of the Republican Party in the House, last summer during a panel broadcast live by China Special Forces in his closed-door meeting. “She really earned the trust of people in Washington,” said Bonnie Glaser, a China expert with the German Marshall Fund, who has also known Ms. Hsiao for many years.

Sitting in the chic reception hall at Twin Oaks, with a grand piano and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sprawling lawn, Ms Hsiao describes her position as “legally informal”. .

For that, she blamed Beijing. “Taiwanese people not only resent being bullied, but we also resent being told we can’t have any friends,” she said.

It helps a growing appreciation in Washington “for Taiwan as a democracy, a force for good, and a true partner of the United States,” Ms. Hsiao said. .” At the same time, she said, the threat from the Chinese government that is negotiating the annexation of Taiwan is mounting.

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