US lifts self-imposed curbs on ties with Taiwan

Washington, January 10

The US has lifted the “self-imposed restrictions” on contacts between American and Taiwanese diplomats and officials, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced, ending a long-standing policy to “appease” China.

Chinese media blasts Pompeo

Beijing: China’s state media on Sunday slammed the US over the Taiwan move, accusing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of “seeking to maliciously inflict a long-lasting scar on China-US ties”. Xinhua News Agency said “the move proves Pompeo is only interested in stoking unwarranted confrontations, and has no interest in world peace”. AP

China regards Taiwan a breakaway province that must be reunified with the mainland, even by force. But Taiwan’s leaders assert that it is a sovereign state.

In a statement on Saturday, Pompeo said, “for several decades, the State Department has created complex internal restrictions to regulate our diplomats, service members, and other officials’ interactions with their Taiwanese counterparts”. The US has maintained close ties with Taiwan since it split from mainland China in 1949 after the end of a civil war.

But until recently Washington has avoided major displays of friendship so as to not antagonise Beijing, which continues to view the self-governing democracy of around 24 million people as an inseparable part of its territory.

Referring to Taiwan as a “reliable” and “unofficial” partner, Pompeo, a staunch critic of China, added the US executive branch agencies should consider “contact guidelines” regarding relations with Taiwan previously issued by the State Department to be “null and void”. — PTI

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