Asia Minute: Twists in Taiwan Diplomacy

Jan 12, 2021

In the closing days of the Trump Administration, there are still new developments in certain policy areas. And some of them could complicate transition efforts for the incoming Biden Administration. One example is U.S. policy when it comes to Taiwan.

 


The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is heading to Taiwan this week.

Kelly Craft is scheduled to arrive tomorrow — the U.S. Mission to the U. N. says she’ll give a speech on Thursday, and meet “with senior Taiwan counterparts and members of the diplomatic community” before leaving on Friday.

She’ll be the third senior U.S. official to visit Taipei in less than six months.

In August, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar met President Tsai Ing-wen, and the following month undersecretary of state Keith Krach did the same. They were the highest-level visits of U.S. officials to Taiwan since Washington cut diplomatic ties with Taipei in 1979.

Over the weekend, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took another step — lifting certain diplomatic limits in dealing with Taiwan.

Pompeo wrote in a statement that the United States has “created complex internal restrictions to regulate” government dealings with Taiwan, quote, “in an attempt to appease the Communist regime in Beijing.”

Pompeo continued, “No more.”

It’s not clear exactly how those changes may play out in the last days of the Trump Administration, and what complications they may pose for the incoming Biden Administration.

But on Monday, a spokesman at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said “China firmly opposes the . . . actions by the U.S. and strongly condemns them.”