On Sunday, March 28, an American diplomat paid an official visit to Taiwan. Ordinarily, this type of meeting wouldn’t be a big deal. American diplomats fly around the world all the time, even during the coronavirus pandemic. But for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the trip was a major affront—one that threatens the “peace and stability” of the Taiwan Strait.
The U.S. ambassador to Palau, John Hennessey-Niland, didn’t visit Taipei on his own. He joined a delegation led by Surangel Whipps, the president of the Pacific island nation of Palau. While the U.S. is committed to defend Palau until 2044, the country gained its independence in 1994 and maintains its own foreign affairs. This includes relations with Taiwan. While many countries won’t engage directly with the Taiwanese, for fear of evoking the CCP’s wrath, Palau has kept the diplomatic relationship alive.