Much has been made in the past 24 hours of an invitation issued to Taiwan’s representative to the United States (US) Hsiao Bi-khim, to attend the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden.
The invitation has been interpreted in many ways with the overriding ‘take’ that it was the first issued to a Taiwanese official since 1979; a period of 42 years.
It is a claim even the influential U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee made.
In a statement issued by Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT) Friday afternoon, however, it was pointed out that despite the fact that “The DPP has hence emphasized that such an invite was a historic breakthrough in the 42 years since the abrogation of formal ROC-US diplomatic relations” it seems “several Taiwanese have also received formal invitations to US presidential inaugurations and attended in the past.”
Issued by the KMT Director of International Affairs, Li Da-Jung, the statement went on to offer examples in “New Taipei City Secretariat Director General Yao Ching-yu” who even “posted photos on Facebook of her JCCIC invitation letter to (former President) Obama’s January 2009 inauguration ceremony” in addition to “then Mayor of Taichung City Lin Chia-Lung” who “similarly posted his JCCIC invitation letter to Trump’s January 18th 2017 inauguration ceremony on his Facebook page.”
It was not a gaffe Hsiao Bi-khim herself made in recording a short video in Washington later posted on her Twitter feed, the “Taiwan Ambassador, Representative”, and self-confessed “Cat Warrior” according to her Twitter profile just seeming to enjoy the occasion.
This, however, did not stop the KMT admonishing the ruling DPP with a “for many years, our representatives to the US and political parties’ delegations were invited to attend US presidential inauguration ceremonies, and several did receive formal JCCIC invitations. Thus, the claim of ‘biggest ROC-US relations breakthrough in 42 years’ is not appropriate.”