Taiwanese president calls Clinton ‘Mrs.,’ not ‘Secretary’

Hillary Clinton Ma Ying-jeou, June 1, 2009 Yesterday at a state banquet hosted by outgoing Salvadoran President Elías Antonio Saca, Secretary Clinton and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou had a rare informal chat when they shared a table and Clinton made the first move in greeting him and shaking hands. The United States and Taiwan have ...

585370_090602_ClintonMa2.jpg
585370_090602_ClintonMa2.jpg

Yesterday at a state banquet hosted by outgoing Salvadoran President Elías Antonio Saca, Secretary Clinton and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou had a rare informal chat when they shared a table and Clinton made the first move in greeting him and shaking hands.

The United States and Taiwan have not had formal relations since the United States severed diplomatic ties in 1979 in order to normalize relations with the People's Republic of China. Perhaps in keeping with the absence of formal ties, the Taiwanese president addressed Secretary Clinton as "Mrs. Clinton" while introducing himself as "the president of Taiwan."

Later, Ma told Taiwanese media that the informal chat was typical of "courtesy encounters" that occur at diplomatic functions.

Hillary Clinton Ma Ying-jeou, June 1, 2009

Hillary Clinton Ma Ying-jeou, June 1, 2009
Yesterday at a state banquet hosted by outgoing Salvadoran President Elías Antonio Saca, Secretary Clinton and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou had a rare informal chat when they shared a table and Clinton made the first move in greeting him and shaking hands.

The United States and Taiwan have not had formal relations since the United States severed diplomatic ties in 1979 in order to normalize relations with the People’s Republic of China. Perhaps in keeping with the absence of formal ties, the Taiwanese president addressed Secretary Clinton as “Mrs. Clinton” while introducing himself as “the president of Taiwan.”

Later, Ma told Taiwanese media that the informal chat was typical of “courtesy encounters” that occur at diplomatic functions.

Photo: Thumbnail from Central News Agency-Taiwan

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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