Wednesday January 13th 2021
Not to Europe anymore
Pompeo cancels last trip
Mike Pompeo was on his last trip as Secretary of State to Europe. Now he does without it. Officially because of preparations for the handover. Another version is that Pompeo, as the representative of the US government in the EU, is now persona non grata.
Shortly before the change of power in the White House, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo canceled his last trip abroad, which would have actually taken him to Europe. Foreign Office spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the ministry had canceled “all trips planned this week”. This also includes the Pompeos, who was expected in Brussels on Wednesday for talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès.
The travel cancellation also applies to the originally planned visit by the American UN Ambassador Kelly Craft to Taiwan on Wednesday, which China had sharply criticized in advance. The State Department justified the decision with pending personnel decisions and efforts to ensure a smooth handover to the government of future President Joe Biden.
No more appointments
The broadcaster CNN, on the other hand, citing two high-ranking sources in the Foreign Office, reported that the decision not to travel was related to criticism from European government officials at the storm on the Capitol and the role of US President Donald Trump. Planned – but never made public – talks in Luxembourg have been canceled by the government there.
Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, called Trump a “criminal” and a “political arsonist” who should be tried before a criminal court after his supporters had stormed the parliament building in Washington. During the subsequent visit to Brussels, Pompeo would not have been able to hold talks with EU representatives.
The short-term cancellation of the planned visit to Taiwan by the American UN Ambassador Kelly Craft is not without consequences – especially from the perspective of the leadership in Taipei. She had hoped for a signal of support in the power struggle with China from the trip. The People’s Republic regards Taiwan as an inseparable part of Chinese territory and has warned the US not to take any steps to enhance its relations with Taiwan or to strengthen its military cooperation.
The US government had previously announced that it would maintain official contacts with the government in Taiwan in the future. According to Pompeo, the US no longer wanted to “appease” the communist leadership in Beijing.