Pompeo cancels trip to Belgium amid turmoil

13 Janvier, 2021, 20:29 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft speaks during a news conference

After US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Saturday that Washington would lift restrictions on official interactions between the US and Taiwan, the Chinese government sharply criticized the move, stressing that nobody could prevent China's "reunification". He said in a statement that the rules - imposed internally each year for decades - had been put in place "in an attempt to appease the Communist regime in Beijing".

"The Trump administration started its Taiwan relations with a bang", said Shihoko Goto, senior associate for Northeast Asia at the Wilson Center, referring to the phone call.

A planned trip to Taiwan by the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft has been canceled.

Pompeo's planned trip to Europe was also canceled.

Pompeo condemned the violence, but made no mention of the President's role in galvanizing his supporters.

The State Department declined further comment on Pompeo's rejected meetings.

"The fact that they're doing it at the last minute. diminishes the seriousness of the move", said Shelley Rigger, Brown Professor of East Asian Politics at Davidson College.

Craft had been due to visit Taiwan from Wednesday to Friday, prompting China to warn that Washington was playing with fire.

China has been angered by stepped-up United States support for Taiwan under the Trump administration, including arms sales and visits to Taipei by senior U.S. officials.

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This has frequently angered Beijing, which has made its desire to assert sovereignty over Taiwan into a domestic priority under President Xi Jinping.

The decision also grounded US ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft's scheduled trip to Taiwan.

China stepped up military flights into Taiwan's air defense identification zone after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar traveled to Taiwan in August and State Department Undersecretary Keith Krach arrived a month later.

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For the next USA administration, Nachman believes, the move could pose a challenge, by forcing the incoming secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, to address the issue of Taiwan in the first few weeks of the new administration.

Announcing his decision, Pompeo said the move is part of Washington's strategy to protect and preserve United States interests in the face of challenges presented by the Chinese government. A wrong move in the Taiwan Strait could spark conflict between two economic, nuclear-armed superpowers, something the Biden administration will need to grapple with.

"Trump is a criminal, a political pyromaniac who should be sent to criminal court".

The US ambassador to the Netherlands, Mr Pete Hoekstra, said on Twitter that Taiwan's representative to the country, Ms Chen Hsing-hsing, had met him at the embassy on Monday.

Leaders of other top US allies said the same.



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