White House cut Taiwanese official’s video feed over map: report

After a Taiwanese minister showed a map that labeled Taiwan in a different color than China during President Biden’s “Summit for Democracy” last week, the video of her presentation was reportedly cut by the White House over diplomatic concerns.

Taiwanese Digital Minister Audrey Tang’s map was shown for about a minute on Friday before the video feed of her presentation was removed, people familiar with the situation told Reuters

The video was replaced with an audio-only feed at the White House’s request, the news wire reported. The presentation showed a color-coded map that ranked global openness to civil rights. Taiwan was labeled as green, or “open,” while other countries in Asia were marked as “closed,” “repressed,” “obstructed” or “narrowed.

When the video was cut, the screen showed a caption that said “Minister Audrey Tang Taiwan.” Later, a message appeared on the screen that said, “Any opinions expressed by individuals on this panel are those of the individual, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States government,” Reuters reported.  

The U.S. adheres to a policy of “strategic ambiguity” around Taiwan, meaning it does not take a position about whether Taiwan is part of China. However, it also recognizes the “one China” policy, which asserts that the People’s Republic of China is the sole government of China. 

The White House feared that showing Tang’s map at the conference, which Taiwan was invited to attend, could conflict with that policy, given the conference was hosted by the U.S., according to Reuters. 

The State Department said that “confusion” with screen sharing caused the feed to drop in “an honest mistake,” the news service added. Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry attributed the video being cut to “technical problems,” and the White House did not offer a comment on the matter, Reuters noted.

The Hill has reached out to the White House and State Department for comment. 

U.S. policy toward Taiwan has been repeatedly highlighted amid mounting tensions with China. In October, the White House was forced to walk back comments Biden made during a CNN town hall about defending Taiwan should China invade the island. 

“There has been no shift,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the next day. “The president was not announcing any change in our policy, nor has he made a decision to change our policy.”

Updated at 2:15 p.m. on Dec. 13. 

Tags China Jen Psaki Joe Biden Summit for Democracy Taiwan

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