BEIJING – China’s state media have fought Taiwan in the latest move by the outgoing Trump administration, accusing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of “maliciously inflicting a long-lasting scar on China-US. Ties. “
A writer for the official Xinhua news agency said in a comment on Sunday that the lifting of longstanding restrictions on US government contacts with Taiwanese counterparts demonstrated that Pompeo “is only interested in fomenting unjustified confrontations and has no interest in world peace” .
Another comment posted online by CGTN, the English language broadcaster of the state television broadcaster CCTV, described Pompeo’s announcement as a “cowardly sabotage” by the next US administration.
“The Trump administration has crossed a dangerous red line with China in its continued efforts to burn the house down before leaving office days before new President Joe Biden takes office,” the comment said in part.
Biden will take office on January 20th.
There was no immediate comment from the Chinese government on Pompeo’s decision to end US State Department restrictions on US officials’ interaction with Taiwan. He said this was done to appease the communist regime in Beijing.
“Not anymore,” said Pompeo in a statement on Saturday. “Today I announce that I am lifting all of these self-imposed restrictions.”
Taiwan is a sensitive issue for China’s ruling Communist Party, which views the self-governing island of 23.6 million people as a breakaway province that should be brought under their rule.
As part of the one-China policy, the US recognizes Beijing as the government of China and has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan. However, it maintains unofficial contacts, including a de facto embassy in Taipei, the capital, and supplies military equipment for the island’s defense.
Taiwan’s leaders welcomed the Pompeo announcement.
“We thank the US for speaking out and supporting Taiwan,” Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang told reporters. “We also hope that we can continue to actively interact with each other so that Taiwan has an even bigger space in international society.”
He and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, who thanked Pompeo on Twitter, emphasized the values of freedom and democracy that Taiwan and the United States share – in contrast to China’s authoritarian one-party state.
Pompeo’s announcement came two days after he announced that he would be sending Kelly Craft, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to Taiwan for meetings this week. She is supposed to arrive on Wednesday.
Craft’s trip follows one of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in August, the first cabinet member to visit Taiwan since 2014, and another trip by Secretary of State Keith Krach in September.
China, which speaks out against Taiwan with its own external relations, sharply criticizes any such interaction. Last year it stepped up air patrols off Taiwan and, with its diplomatic clout, prevented Taiwan from participating in international forums such as the annual meeting of the World Health Organization.
Hu Xijin, editor of the state-run Chinese newspaper Global Times, tweeted that Pompeo’s announcement, if it is the new starting point for US Taiwan policy, will also mark the beginning of the countdown to the survival of the Taiwanese government.
“(China) fighter jets can fly over the island of Taiwan at any time,” he tweeted. “The possibility of using military means to solve the Taiwan question is also put on the table.”
Hu’s tweet was later deleted, but the reason was not clear.
Pompeo said the US has relationships with unofficial partners around the world and Taiwan is no exception.