Taipei, March 4 (CNA) Interim Chargé d'Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Japan Joseph Young on Thursday revealed that he met with Taiwan's top envoy to Japan at the U.S. ambassador's official residence, in the latest high-level exchange since the Trump administration ended restrictions on official contacts with Taiwan on Jan. 9.
"This week, I welcomed @taiwan_in_japan's Frank Hsieh to the Ambassador's Residence to discuss our shared priorities across a wide range of topics, including our vision for regional stability, economic prosperity, and stronger people-to-people ties," Young said on Twitter.
"Taiwan in Japan" refers to Taiwan's foreign mission in Japan, which is headed by Hsieh.
Young also posted a similar Tweet in Japanese. Both tweets were accompanied by photos, one showing him and Hsieh exchanging souvenirs, the other showing a message written by Hsieh in the guest book.
"May the friendship between Taiwan, (the) United States and Japan be long-lasting," wrote Hsieh, who referred to himself as "Taiwan Representative to Japan."
Hsieh's visit to the U.S. Ambassador's Residence in Japan happened on the evening of March 2, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a statement issued Thursday.
"Both sides exchanged views on issues of shared concerns, such as regional peace, economic prosperity and personnel interactions," MOFA said, adding that Taiwan hoped to continue to deepen its partnerships with like-minded countries.
Japan and the U.S. are considered two of Taiwan's most important geopolitical allies.
On Jan. 9, then-U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced he was lifting restrictions on contacts between Taiwan and U.S. officials put in place after formal ties between the two sides were severed in 1979.
Since January, Taiwan's representative to the Netherlands Chen Hsing-hsing, representative to the World Trade Organization Lo Chang-fa and representative to Switzerland David Huang have met their U.S. counterparts either at the U.S. embassy or Taiwan's representative office.
Although, in practice, Taiwanese diplomats have long been able to meet with their U.S. counterparts in their host countries, they were not able to visit the U.S. embassy or the ambassador's residence, a retired Taiwanese diplomat told CNA.
The U.S. has diplomatic relations with China and maintains only unofficial ties with Taiwan, which is considered by Beijing to be part of its territory.
"The latest development also shows that the Biden administration continues to uphold its predecessor's decision in relaxing the State Department's rules of engagement with Taiwan, at least for now," said the ex-diplomat, who requested anonymity.