China has condemned the US move to ease restrictions on diplomatic relations with Taiwan in the final days of the Trump administration, saying the island was “the most important part” of its relationship with Washington.
“Any initiative that undermines the fundamental interests of China will face a resolute counter-strike by China,” Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry said Monday, without specifying any concrete measures.
Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, said on Saturday that the Trump administration would do so lift “self-imposed restrictions” which governed relations between Washington and Taipei. Mr Pompeo said all “contact guidelines” should be considered “null and void”.
Washington transferred official diplomatic relations from Taiwan to Beijing in 1979 and maintained strict internal protocols, which determine such matters as where diplomats might meet and how correspondence was conducted.
The United States has deep ties with Taiwan under the Trump administration, including arms sales and high-level bilateral exchanges and visits.
Mr Pompeo announced the decision a day after the United States said Kelly Craft, its ambassador to the UN, would visit Taiwan this week in a move that has been condemned by China.
Beijing claims Taiwan as part of its territory under the “One China” policy and has long threatened to annex democracy by military force if it indefinitely resists unification.
China has stepped up its military provocations in recent months by stepping up military exercises near Taiwan’s borders.
Chinese state media blasted the US decision over the weekend.
A columnist for CGTN, the state-owned broadcaster, said the US decision “crossed a dangerous red line with China” and was “a cowardly act of sabotage by the incoming administration.”
Some commentators and analysts have said Mr Pompeo’s announcement was inconsequential given the impending change of administration, with Joe Biden due to be named president on January 20.
“Given the few days left for the Trump administration, Beijing should take countermeasures primarily with diplomatic means supplemented by military solutions,” wrote Global Times, the Chinese tabloid.
“The important thing is to deal with the Biden administration after January 20. We can completely ignore clowns like Pompeo. . . US policy in Taiwan is relatively consistent, ”said Song Zhongping, a commentator on Chinese military affairs.
“China will calmly deal with these issues, but when it comes to Taiwan, China will not stop for a moment to strengthen preparations for the military struggle.”
Margaret Lewis, professor of Chinese and Taiwanese law at Seton Hall University, said it made sense for “Beijing to go through the last nine days of administration and see what happens when Biden takes office.”
But she added, “I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some increase in military aircraft activity as a way for Beijing to express that it is very here, and very close.
Wu Xinbo, dean of the Institute for International Studies at Fudan University, said Pompeo’s decision puts the new Biden administration in a difficult position that will complicate reconciliation efforts.
“From a US domestic policy perspective, it’s actually just a way to leave the Biden administration in a mess, to prevent it from quickly recovering and repairing its relations with China,” he said. -he declares.
Taipei hailed the US decision. “Taiwan’s relationship with the United States has been elevated to a global partnership,” Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said, according to Reuters, adding that it was “a great thing.”