U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson arrived in Taiwan on November 9, 1998 for a joint U.S.-Taiwan business conference on economic and commerical issues of mutual interest. Ht also met with Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui. His visit is considered an attempt by Washington to ease Taiwanese feelings of insecurity following statements by President Bill Clinton in China this summer that offended Taiwan.
Richardson met with Taiwanese businessmen to discuss exchanges in fields including telecommunications, infrastructure, venture capital, and biotechnology.
China protested this visit, calling it an official contact that violates
agreements between China and the U.S.A. Visits by U.S. Cabinet officials
to Taiwan have been few since the Carter administration severed diplomatic
ties in 1979 to allow it to establish relations with China. Since 1949,China
has considered Taiwan a rebel province without the right to international
relations. The U.S. revised its policy in 1994 to allow regular visits
to Taiwain, but concern over harming Chinese sensitivities has kept such
trips to a minimum.
11-09-98 Bill Richardson arrives in Taiwan
11-10-98 Richardson meets with Taiwanese business officials
11-11-98 Richardson meets with President Lee Teng-hui
11-11-98 Richardson leaves Taiwan
Bill Richardson-U.S. Energy Secretary
Lee Teng-hui-Taiwan President