STATE DEPARTMENT - The United States is recognizing the contributions of an unlikely and quiet partner in its global campaign to defeat the Islamic State (IS) terror group - Taiwan.
U.S. officials thanked Taiwan for its stabilization and humanitarian efforts in areas once controlled by IS in Syria and Iraq during a ceremony at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington.
Taiwan's representative to the United States, Stanley Kao, announced Monday it was contributing $1 million to finance demining operations in Syria and 20 demining equipment sets to assist with similar efforts in Iraq.
The global campaign to defeat IS now has 77 members, said Terry Wolff, U.S. deputy special Presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter Islamic State, "Taiwan is a valuable partner."
"The one million dollar contribution this year is not only emblematic of the responsible role that Taiwan plays, but also would be a concrete contribution to saving many lives" in liberated areas in Iraq and Syria, said Laura Stone, State Department acting deputy assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs.
FILE - A demining team works near the village of Bitr, in Shalamjah district, east of Basra, Iraq, March 4, 2018. Taiwan announced Monday it was contributing $1 million to support demining operations in Iraq and Syria.
Taipei's participation in the U.S.-led global coalition has been focused on humanitarian assistance.
In East Asia and the Pacific, other nations taking part in the global coalition to defeat IS include Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and South Korea. While IS may not pose immediate threats to those countries, their contributions in various capacities demonstrate the global and unified nature of the fight against terrorism, according to U.S. officials.
While the U.S. and China were both members of the International Syria Support Group under the Obama administration, China has not been a member of the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State global coalition.
Counterterrorism cooperation between China and the United States has remained limited, according to the State Department.
China claims democratically ruled Taiwan is part of its territory and has never renounced the use of military force to bring the island under Beijing's control. The U.S. broke diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979.