U.S. government officials are scrambling to place blame after Taiwanese Digital Minister Audrey Tang had her video feed abruptly cut Friday during the Biden administration’s “Summit for Democracy.”
A map depicting the nations of Taiwan and China in different colors allegedly prompted a flurry of angry emails from the White House National Security Council (NSC) to the State Department, according to an anonymous Reuters source. The source claimed that the feed was cut on day two of the summit and replaced with audio at the behest of the White House.
“They choked,” the source explained, with another source claiming it was an internal overreaction, according to Reuters. (RELATED: ‘China Owns Us’: Rick Berman On How China Forces American Industries Into ‘Self-Censorship’)
The sources said that the action was seen as counter to the mission of the segment labeled “Countering Digital Authoritarianism And Affirming Democratic Values,” according to Reuters. They also claimed that the White House was nervous about contradicting its stance on the One China policy by depicting Taiwan and China as separate nations during the U.S.-hosted conference, the outlet reported.
The map reportedly did not appear in a dry run of the presentation, which prompted the abrupt response, not the concerns regarding the One China policy dispute, according to The Independent, raising questions about whether the Taiwanese government left it out on purpose.
My admin sources tell me the decision to temporarily interrupt the Taiwanese official’s video feed at the Democracy Summit was made at the technical level at the State Dept, not directed by the White House or the NSC. https://t.co/oUH2bxP4b8
— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) December 13, 2021
Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin said on the Brian Kilmeade show that his sources told him that the State Department ordered the feed be removed, and subsequently tried to throw the White House under the bus.
However, an NSC spokesman said, “At no time did the White House direct that Minister Tang’s video feed be cut,” asserting that the Reuters account of events was inaccurate, the New York Post reported.
Ahead of the summit, China called inviting Taiwan, but not China itself, “a mistake.”