Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to London received a special invitation to sign the condolence book for the queen, the island’s foreign ministry said, adding that he received the same treatment as other dignitaries.
Britain, like most countries, has no diplomatic relations with China’s claimed Taiwan, although they do have unofficial relatives. Taiwan, governed democratically, is largely excluded from most international events and bodies due to Beijing’s objections.
In a statement on Sunday, Taiwan’s foreign ministry said its representative in London, Kelly Wu-Chiao Hsieh, had been “specially invited” by the British government to sign the condolence book at Lancaster House, which is run by the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The invitation came “due to the importance attached to Taiwan-British relations and the precious friendship between the two peoples”, he added.
The ministry noted that Hsieh “enjoyed the same treatment as heads of state, representatives and royals from other countries who went to Britain to mourn.”
China is sending Vice President Wang Qishan to Monday’s state funeral in London, but some lawmakers have raised concerns over the invitation of Chinese officials after several British lawmakers were disciplined by Beijing for criticizing the alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang. China denies such abuses.
The Taiwanese government was quick to send condolences over the queen’s death, and Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu visited Britain’s de facto embassy in Taipei on Thursday to sign his public register of condolences.
Taiwan’s representative office in Britain posted a photo on its Facebook page last week of Queen Elizabeth II receiving a Taiwanese orchid bearing her name at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2011.
Taiwan has not said whether it will be allowed to send anyone to the state funeral, which will be attended by a host of world leaders including US President Joe Biden.
Britain is inviting a representative from North Korea to attend the funeral, but Afghanistan, Syria and Venezuela will not receive an invitation, a foreign ministry source said on Wednesday.
Russia, Myanmar and Belarus were also not invited to attend.