Taiwan island feels ‘deep disrespect’ as US delegation leader wears socks of ‘improper’ colorway
Published: Mar 04, 2022 03:50 PM
Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wears a pair of flowery socks on Thursday when he met a DPP official.Screenshot from Taiwan media

Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wears a pair of "flowery socks" on Thursday when he met a DPP official. Screenshot from Taiwan media

Taiwan media have stopped cheering the latest US bipartisan delegation dispatched to the island after noticing a "lack of respect" and "inappropriate" attire from a former US senior official. Taiwan's secessionists Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority, which always toes Washington's line, has yet to make comments on the issue.   

A five-member delegation of former US senior defense and security officials landed in the Taiwan island on Tuesday, pacifying the frightened DPP authority amid the escalating Ukraine crisis. Chinese Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin urged the US to abide by the one-China principle, stop any form of official exchanges with the Taiwan authority and prudently handle the Taiwan question.

According to Taiwan-based media, some "external affairs officials" on the island noticed that Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was wearing a pair of "flowery socks" on Thursday when he met Taiwan regional leader Tsai Ing-wen and other officials. The arbitrary socks have made some Taiwan officials "stunned." 

Citing a staff from the concierge authority in Taiwan, said the US delegation's impolite and "improper dressing" shows its contempt of the Taiwan authority. 

Li Haidong, a professor from the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Friday that as a former senior official, Mullen can't be unfamiliar with the dress code.

Li said under DPP's high-profile reception, Mullen tried to allay China's opposition by dressing casually to give the impression of an informal visit. "But the eye-catching socks could not hide the fact that Mullen was sent by US President Joe Biden, behind which was the malicious intention to interfere in China's internal affairs and contain China with Taiwan as a pawn."

Taiwan media have been recalling more scenes of US' disrespect. A few years ago, Kathy Chen, the wife of former head of the Taipei office of the American Association in Taiwan (AIT) Kin Wah Moy, wore sandals to Tsai's dinner. But Taiwan officials could do nothing but privately shake their heads and sigh. "We thought of kicking them out for such disrespectful behavior, but no one dares correct Americans," one official said. 

In June, 2021, three US senators made a visit to the island and met Tsai, who was mocked after photos and a video clip showed her standing up "delivering a report'' as the US senators watched while seated. 

"DPP just wants to be a dog of the US that needs to bring its own food, so why should Americans look up to us," said a Taiwan netizen.

Although Taiwan is somehow valuable to the US, its "friendship" with Taiwan is not to support Taiwan secession, but more about gaining some benefits. Countries have never treated the island as an independent country as secessionists expected, Li said.   

In a meeting between Tsai and Canadian Trade Office in Taipei Executive Director Jordan Reeves in July 2020, the Canadian official angered Taiwan people with his cross-legged gesture, and some media asked the Canadian to apologize.  

Just a month later, Tsai was mocked again due to her "bow-and-scrape" gesture in a meeting with former Japanese prime minister Yoshiro Mori.