Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in a press release that he was lifting all “self-imposed” restrictions on contacts between U.S. officials and their Taiwanese counterparts. Thus seeking to improve relations with Taiwan while assisting their independence from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). It is expected that the news will not be well received by the CCP and will further increase tension between it and Washington.
In an official statement Saturday, Pompeo reported that for several decades the State Department had created complex internal restrictions on interactions with Taiwan by U.S. diplomats, service members, and other officials.
“The United States government took these actions unilaterally, in an attempt to appease the Communist regime in Beijing,” Pompeo said in the statement. “Today I am announcing that I am lifting all of these self-imposed restrictions.”
The recently removed restrictions ranged from bureaucratic hurdles, in which officials had to apply for absurd permits to meet or discuss certain matters, to provisions that prohibited Taiwanese officials from entering the State Department, forcing them to arrange meetings in hotels.
The Taiwanese ambassador to the United States tweeted to express her appreciation to the Trump administration, saying, “Decades of discrimination, removed. A huge day in our bilateral relationship. I will cherish every opportunity.”
Decades of discrimination, removed. A huge day in our bilateral relationship. I will cherish every opportunity. https://t.co/kR29OLLcFh
— Bi-khim Hsiao 蕭美琴 (@bikhim) January 9, 2021
Last week the Trump administration announced the diplomatic visit of Kelly Craft, the United Nations (U.N.) ambassador to Taiwan. The CCP was furious and announced that America would pay a “heavy price” for the visit.
“The United States will not succeed in its attempt to damage China’s fundamental interests through political manipulation on the Taiwan issue,” a spokesman for the Chinese mission to the U.N. said in a threatening statement. “We wish to remind the United States that whoever plays with fire will burn himself. The United States will pay a heavy price for its wrongdoing.”
Clearly the Trump administration is not shaken by the CCP’s recurring threats, in fact the next day Pompeo made the announcement in which he communicated the removal of restrictions on contacts between U.S. and Taiwanese officials.
“The United States government maintains relationships with unofficial partners around the world, and Taiwan is no exception. Today’s statement recognizes that the U.S.-Taiwan relationship need not, and should not, be shackled by self-imposed restrictions of our permanent bureaucracy,” Pompeo said.
The Chinese communist regime claims Taiwan as its own territory, even though the island functions virtually as an independent democratic republic. The CCP has never been comfortable with this situation and regularly describes Taiwan as the most sensitive issue in its ties with the United States.
The Trump administration has strongly stepped up support for the island nation, with arms sales, trade agreements, and legal collaboration to help Taiwan deal with pressure from CCP.