BEIJING – Chinese state media have condemned Taiwan’s recent move by the outgoing Trump administration, accusing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of “trying to inflict a long-standing scar on Sino-US relations.”
In a comment on Sunday, the author of the official Xinhua news agency said in a statement on Sunday that the lifting of long-standing restrictions on US government relations with Taiwanese allies demonstrates that Pompeo is “only interested in inciting unnecessary conflict and not in world peace.”
Another commentary, published online by CGDN, the English language channel of the state broadcaster CCTV, called Pompeo’s announcement a “cowardly act of sabotage” by the next US administration.
“The Trump administration has crossed the dangerous red line with China just days before incumbent President Joe Biden took office, in a series of attempts to burn down the house before stepping down,” the comment read in part.
Biden takes office on Jan. 20.
The Chinese government has no immediate opinion on Pompeo’s decision to end foreign ministry sanctions on how US officials can contact Taiwan to appease the communist regime in Beijing.
“Not anymore,” Pompeo announced in a statement Saturday. “I announce today that I will remove all of these self-restrictions.”
Taiwan is an important issue for China’s ruling Communist Party, which considers the island of Sovereignty, with a population of 23.6 million, to be a treacherous province that must be brought under its rule.
Under a one-China policy, the United States recognizes Beijing as the government of China and has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan. However, it maintains unofficial contacts, including a real embassy in the capital, Taipei, and provides military equipment for the island’s security.
Pompeo’s announcement was welcomed by Taiwanese leaders.
“We thank the United States for speaking out and supporting Taiwan,” Prime Minister Xu Cheng-sang told reporters. “We hope to interact more closely with each other so that Taiwan can gain a greater place in the international community.”
Foreign Minister Joseph Wu also thanked Pompeo on Twitter, emphasizing the values of freedom and democracy shared by Taiwan and the United States – contrary to China’s dictatorial one – party government.
Pompeo’s announcement came two days after US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Croft said he would be sent to Taiwan for meetings this week. He will arrive on Wednesday.
Kraft travels with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azhar in August, the first cabinet member to visit Taiwan since 2014, and another in September by Secretary of State Keith Krach.
China, which opposes the existence of foreign relations owned by Taiwan, is strongly critical of all such contacts. It stepped up air patrols from Taiwan last year and used its diplomatic influence to prevent Taiwan from participating in international forums such as the annual meeting of the World Health Organization.
Hu Jijin, editor of China’s state – owned Global Times newspaper, tweeted that if Pompeo’s announcement was a new starting point for US Taiwan policy, it would also mark the beginning of a countdown to the Taiwanese government’s survival.
“(China’s) warplanes can fly over the island of Taiwan at any time,” he tweeted. “The option to use military means to resolve the Taiwan question will also be on the table.”
Hu’s tweet was later deleted, but the reason is not clear.
Pompeo said the United States maintains relations with unofficial allies around the world, and Taiwan is no exception.