Just a day after the United States announced a visit to Taiwan by current US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft – the highest level such visit in decades, and one which immediately saw Beijing warn America of a “heavy price” to pay “for its wrongdoings”, the US has said it will no longer work to “appease” authorities in China over the issue of US-Taiwan relations.

Secretary Pompeo Meets with Ambassador Kelly Craft
C: US Department of StateIn a tweet issued overnight Saturday Taiwan time, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was “lifting all self-imposed restrictions on executive branch agencies’ interactions with their counterparts from Taiwan” adding that “this action will benefit both of our great democracies.”

It is a move that will today send shockwaves around the political world, and will no doubt leave many in Beijing and at political bodies around the world who have long worked to themselves appease Beijing, nonplussed to say the least.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

In full, Secretary Pompeo’s statement read:

“Taiwan is a vibrant democracy and reliable partner of the United States, and yet for several decades the State Department has created complex internal restrictions to regulate our diplomats, servicemembers, and other officials’ interactions with their Taiwanese counterparts. The United States government took these actions unilaterally, in an attempt to appease the Communist regime in Beijing. No more.

Today I am announcing that I am lifting all of these self-imposed restrictions.  Executive branch agencies should consider all “contact guidelines” regarding relations with Taiwan previously issued by the Department of State under authorities delegated to the Secretary of State to be null and void.

Additionally, any and all sections of the Foreign Affairs Manual or Foreign Affairs Handbook that convey authorities or otherwise purport to regulate executive branch engagement with Taiwan via any entity other than the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) are also hereby voided. The executive branch‘s relations with Taiwan are to be handled by the non-profit AIT, as stipulated in the Taiwan Relations Act.

The United States government maintains relationships with unofficial partners around the world, and Taiwan is no exception. Our two democracies share common values of individual freedom, the rule of law, and a respect for human dignity. 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.”

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