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This decision, made in the final weeks of the Donald Trump administration, is sure to upset China. Beijing has increased its threats to use military force to take control of the self-governing island
File picture by Mike Pompeo. AP
Washington: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Saturday that the State Department was lifting longstanding restrictions on US diplomats and others’ contact with their counterparts in Taiwan. Another move that is likely to upset China when the Trump administration comes to an end.
The Trump administration has tried to strengthen bilateral ties with Taiwan. It was announced on Thursday that UN Ambassador Kelly Craft would travel to Taiwan. This sparked sharp criticism from Beijing, warning that the US would pay a heavy price. In August, Secretary for Health and Human Services Alex Azar became the first cabinet member to visit Taiwan since 2014.
Pompeo said the State Department had put complex restrictions in place on contacts between the two parties. He said these measures were taken to appease the communist regime in Beijing.
« No more, » Pompeo said in a statement. « Today I announce that I am lifting all of these self-imposed restrictions. »
The Chinese government claims that mainland China and Taiwan are part of « one China ». China has increased its threats to use military force to bring the self-governing island under its control with frequent war games and air patrols. She has used her diplomatic influence to prevent Taiwan from joining organizations that require statehood to be a member.
Pompeo said the US has ties with unofficial partners around the world and Taiwan is no exception. </ "Our two democracies share common values of individual freedom, the rule of law and respect for human dignity," said Pompeo. "Today's statement recognizes that US-Taiwan relations should not and need not be shackled by self-imposed restrictions on our permanent bureaucracy."
« I am grateful to @SecPompeo & @StateDept for lifting the restrictions that have unnecessarily restricted our commitments in recent years, « said Wu in a retweet of a Pompeo tweet about the announcement.
» The closer partnership between #Taiwan & the #US is firmly based on our shared values, mutual Interests & unwavering belief in freedom & democracy, « he wrote, making a distinction with China’s authoritarian one-party state.
January 10, 2021 8:12:08 PM IST
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