Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States as his wife Jill Biden holds a bible on the West Front of the US Capitol in Washington, US. Reuters
Taiwan’s ties with its most important global backer the United States are off to a strong start under President Joe Biden’s government, after the island’s de facto ambassador attended an inauguration for the first time with an official invitation.
Former President Donald Trump’s administration ramped up support for Taiwan, increasing arms sales and sending senior officials to Taipei, angering China and stirring even greater enmity from Beijing towards Washington.
That had made Trump a popular figure in democratic Taiwan, which China views as its own territory, to be taken by force if needed, and raised concern in its government that Biden may not be as helpful.
Emily Horne, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, said the US commitment to Taiwan was “rock-solid” after the island’s de facto ambassador in Washington, Hsiao Bi-khim, attended Biden’s swearing in on Wednesday.
“President Biden will stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values in the Asia-Pacific region - and that includes Taiwan.”
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it was the first time an inauguration committee had formally invited the island’s Washington representative and showed the close friendship between Taiwan and the United States based on shared values.
“These shared values are democracy, freedom and human rights,” said ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou.
The United States ended formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979, switching recognition to China, though Washington is bound by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself.
In a video message on her Twitter account, Hsiao, who is close to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, said she was honoured to be there representing Taiwan’s government and people.
“Democracy is our common language and freedom is our common objective,” she said.
Tsai sent her congratulations too, saying she hoped the two sides could work together to maintain regional democracy, freedom, peace and stability.
Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Tuesday he was in favour of greater engagement with Taiwan.
Tsai met Blinken in 2015 at the State Department when he was deputy secretary of state and she was the presidential candidate for Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party.
Biden’s first day is expected to be packed, with aides saying recently he would sign perhaps a dozen executive orders that could address the pandemic, the ailing US economy, climate change and racial injustice in America.
The demonstrator, Mark Leggiero, travelled to New York State Capitol under the impression that he would be protesting President Biden’s inauguration alongside thousands of Trump supporters
Biden, putting his hand on a family Bible, repeated after Chief Justice John Roberts the presidential oath -- that he will "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
This came during his meeting, on Tuesday, with Dr Susan Mumm, the new Chancellor of the American University Sharjah, in the presence of a number of members of the university's board of trustees and the vice-president in his office at the university.
Sheikh Mohammed tweeted, “All the best to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its leadership. The Saudi National Day every year is a dear occasion to all of us; an occasion to express our fraternal relations and love and move to a better and more prosperous future for two peoples combined by a limitless ambition.”
The health ministry also announced that 62,694 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were provided during the past 24 hours, bringing the total doses that have been provided to date to 19,549,263.