US Under Secretary of State Keith Krach arrives in Taiwan
U.S. Under Secretary of State Keith Krach arrived in Taiwan on Thursday for a three-day official visit. In a statement on Wednesday, Washington said the purpose of his visit was to attend a memorial service for former President Lee Teng-hui. Krach is also to join a banquet hosted by President Tsai Ing-wen. What he won”t be doing is leading the first round of the "U.S.-Taiwan Economic and Commercial Dialogue," as was widely reported by local media. Taiwan officials said that the details of that dialogue were still under discussion.
The U.S. under secretary disembarks to greet Taiwan’s deputy foreign minister Harry Tseng and AIT Director Brent Christensen. Krach was then escorted indoors to take a COVID test. Prior to landing in Taiwan, the KMT staged a protest outside the airport. With signs saying “Yes to the U.S., No to Ractopork” they demonstrated against the lifting of an import ban on U.S. pork containing ractopamine.
It was a major stage for their appeal. Krach is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Taiwan since the termination of ties 41 years ago.
Krach is scheduled to sit down with foreign minister Joseph Wu on Friday. Later in the day, he’ll meet with Vice Premier Shen Jong-chin and other officials to discuss economic and trade issues. In the evening, the U.S. delegation will attend a banquet hosted by President Tsai. On Saturday morning, Krach will attend a memorial service for former President Lee. He’ll return to the U.S. Saturday afternoon, just 72 hours after his arrival. Krach’s schedule does not include the first round of the U.S.-Taiwan Economic and Commercial Dialogue. According to a local news report, the U.S. had called off the dialogue when details on Krach’s visit were leaked to Taiwan media.
There are many levels involved. Taiwan and the U.S. are still in talks at every level to make the necessary preparations for the upcoming dialogues
The Presidential Office said that details of the dialogue were still under negotiation. It expressed hope that Krach’s visit would allow the two sides to share ideas face-to-face, which could be conducive for the smooth unfolding of future high-level trade talks.
A Taiwan diplomat in the U.S., Vincent Chao, denied that the dialogue had been scheduled and then canceled. On social media, Chao wrote that he was one of the people communicating with the U.S. over the talks. He said that when it came to the U.S.-Taiwan Economic and Commercial Dialogue, there was much preparatory work left to be done.