UN Ambassador's Planned Trip to Taiwan Canceled

UN Ambassador's Planned Trip to Taiwan Canceled

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo canceled his Europe trip at the last minute on Tuesday after being snubbed by European Union officials, diplomats familiar with the matter said. Pompeo described the rules as previous administrations' attempts to "unilaterally...appease the communist regime in Beijing".

Craft's Taiwan trip appeared to be another part of an effort by Pompeo and President Donald Trump's Republican administration to lock in a tough approach to China before Democratic President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20.

Screenshot of Pompeo's decision on interactions with China's Taiwan region. The Brussels leg was still on until the last minute. Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington D.C., said the move may have come a bit too late.

"Taken earlier, these measures might have been incremental moves toward a big change - diplomatic recognition of Taiwan", she said.

Ambassador Craft was due to arrive in Taiwan Wednesday for a three-day visit that included meetings with President Tsai Ing-wen and other senior officials. "Over the past 3 years, the Trump Administration authorized more than $15 billion in arms sales to Taiwan".

This has frequently angered Beijing, which has made its desire to assert sovereignty over Taiwan into a domestic priority under President Xi Jinping.

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The TRA authorizes the United States to provide the island with military equipment for its self-defense, and set up a nonprofit corporation called the American Institute in Taiwan, which is now the de-facto US embassy on the island.

The United States called off last-minute trips by top envoys to its allies in Europe and Taiwan on Tuesday in a sudden diplomatic volte-face during the chaotic swansong days of the Trump administration.

A spokesperson for Biden's transition team told the Financial Times last week the new administration will "continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people of Taiwan".

For the next U.S. administration, Nachman believes, the move could pose a challenge, by forcing the incoming secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, to address the issue of Taiwan in the first few weeks of the new administration.

The Tsai administration will prioritize its pursuit of a free trade agreement with the U.S. Although Tsai lifted restrictions on imports of U.S. pork and beef in August - a move that carried domestic political cost - it was unable to forge such a pact with Trump's trade negotiators.

The US ambassador to the Netherlands, Mr Pete Hoekstra, said on Twitter that Taiwan's representative to the country, Ms Chen Hsing-hsing, had met him at the embassy on Monday. "Trump had four years to do it, but he didn't".

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