Monday, January 11, 2021
USA facilitate Taiwan contacts
China threatens Washington with “counterattack”
Shortly before the change of power in the White House, relations between Washington and Beijing are extremely tense. A friendly gesture from outgoing Foreign Minister Pompeo to Taiwan now leads to furious threats from China.
Following the US government’s announcement that it would lift decades of restrictions on official contacts with Taiwan, the People’s Republic of China threatened a “counterstrike”. Any actions that run counter to the “fundamental interests of China” will result in a hard response, said Foreign Office spokesman Zhao Lijian.
The outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday declared the “complex internal restrictions”, including for diplomats in dealing with Taipei, to be over. He described the contact restrictions as an “attempt to appease the communist regime in Beijing”. The Taipei government hailed the decision as the end of “decades of discrimination.”
Gesture of a more symbolic nature
Although the declaration is likely to be of a more symbolic nature shortly before the change of power in Washington, sharp criticism from Beijing was already expected. The Communist Party leadership regards Taiwan, which broke away from China in 1949, as a breakaway province that should be reunited with the mainland – if necessary by force.
The Chinese Foreign Office spokesman accused the US of violating bilateral agreements on diplomatic relations with Pompeo’s statements. He called on Pompeo to reverse his decision, otherwise there is a “severe penalty”.
UN ambassador comes to Taiwan
The USA broke off diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979, but at the same time they remained Taiwan’s strongest ally and the country’s most important arms supplier. Just a few days ago, Beijing threatened consequences because of a planned visit by Washington’s UN ambassador Kelly Craft to Taiwan. The visit is scheduled to take place January 13-15.
Relations between China and the US are currently extremely tense. The areas of conflict include trade policy and different views on the origin of the corona pandemic, the democracy movement in Hong Kong and the human rights violations against the Uyghur minority in China. It was only after days of delay that Beijing had given the green light for the start of the World Health Organization (WHO) mission to research the origins of the coronavirus. The international experts can travel to China on Thursday.