Pompeo lifts 'self-imposed restrictions' on U.S.-Taiwan relationship
By Idrees Ali WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday said he was lifting restrictions on contacts between U.S. officials and their Taiwanese counterparts, a move likely to anger China and increase tensions between Beijing and Washington in the waning days of President Donald Trump's presidency
By Idrees Ali
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday said he was lifting restrictions on contacts between U.S. officials and their Taiwanese counterparts, a move likely to anger China and increase tensions between Beijing and Washington in the waning days of President Donald Trump's presidency.
China claims democratic and separately ruled Taiwan as its own territory, and regularly describes Taiwan as the most sensitive issue in its ties with the United States.
While the United States, like most countries, has no official relations with Taiwan, the Trump administration has ramped up backing for the island country, with arms sales and laws to help Taiwan deal with pressure from China.
In a statement, Pompeo said that for several decades the State Department had created complex internal restrictions on interactions with Taiwanese counterparts by American diplomats, service members and other officials.
"The United States government took these actions unilaterally, in an attempt to appease the Communist regime in Beijing," Pompeo said in a statement.
"Today I am announcing that I am lifting all of these self-imposed restrictions," he added.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, will visit Taiwan next week for meetings with senior Taiwanese leaders, prompting China to warn on Thursday they were playing with fire.
Chinese fighter jets approached the island in August and September during the last two visits: by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith Krach, respectively.
The United States is Taiwan's strongest international backer and arms supplier, and is obliged to help provide it with the means to defend itself under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act.
"Today’s statement recognizes that the U.S.-Taiwan relationship need not, and should not, be shackled by self-imposed restrictions of our permanent bureaucracy," Pompeo said.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.