By Idrees Ali
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday mentioned he was lifting restrictions on contacts between U.S. officers and their Taiwanese counterparts, a transfer more likely to anger China and enhance tensions between Beijing and Washington within the waning days of President Donald Trump’s presidency.
China claims democratic and individually dominated Taiwan as its personal territory, and repeatedly describes Taiwan as essentially the most delicate difficulty in its ties with the USA.
Whereas the USA, like most international locations, has no official relations with Taiwan, the Trump administration has ramped up backing for the island nation, with arms gross sales and legal guidelines to assist Taiwan take care of stress from China.
In a press release, Pompeo mentioned that for a number of many years the State Division had created complicated inside restrictions on interactions with Taiwanese counterparts by American diplomats, service members and different officers.
“The USA authorities took these actions unilaterally, in an try to appease the Communist regime in Beijing,” Pompeo mentioned in a press release.
“As we speak I’m asserting that I’m lifting all of those self-imposed restrictions,” he added.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, will go to Taiwan subsequent week for conferences with senior Taiwanese leaders, prompting China to warn on Thursday they had been taking part in with fireplace.
Chinese language fighter jets approached the island in August and September over the last two visits: by U.S. Secretary of Well being and Human Companies Alex Azar and U.S. Underneath Secretary of State for Financial Progress, Vitality, and the Surroundings Keith Krach, respectively.
The USA is Taiwan’s strongest worldwide backer and arms provider, and is obliged to assist present it with the means to defend itself beneath the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act.
“As we speak’s assertion acknowledges that the U.S.-Taiwan relationship needn’t, and shouldn’t, be shackled by self-imposed restrictions of our everlasting paperwork,” Pompeo mentioned.
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