Joseph Wu says the United States has decided to ease decades-long restrictions on the island, which China claims to be its own.
Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said on Monday that relations with the United States had been elevated to a global partnership after the United States moved to lift decades-long restrictions on diplomatic interactions and ready to send his Ambassador to the United Nations on the island.
Wu told reporters in Taipei that outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision, just a day after the United States announced that United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft would visit the island this week, was a “big thing”.
Craft is scheduled to meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday, Wu said.
“Taiwan-US relations have been elevated to a global partnership,” he told reporters. “The Foreign Ministry will not let its guard down and hopes to continue to stimulate the development of relations between Taiwan and the United States.”
The visit and the easing of restrictions come less than two weeks before US President-elect Joe Biden officially takes office and is likely to fuel anger in China, which views Taiwan as its own home and has worked to maintain the isolated island on the world stage.
Although the United States, like most countries, has no formal ties to Taiwan, it is required by law to provide it with the means to defend itself and, under President Donald Trump’s leadership, has stepped up arms and equipment sales and sent senior officials to Taipei. which drew condemnation from China.
Announcing the move on Saturday, Pompeo said the US government had limited diplomatic interactions “unilaterally” as part of “an attempt to appease the Communist regime in Beijing” and that the situation could not continue.
Craft will become the top U.S. official to visit Taiwan upon arriving on the island on Wednesday. Previous high-level visits by US officials have coincided with increased Chinese military activity in the Taiwan Strait.