Pompeo cancels trip to Belgium amid turmoil

Remigio Civitarese
Gennaio 13, 2021

U.S. -Taiwan relations have warmed considerably during the Trump administration.

The State Department said Pompeo's trip was designed "to reaffirm the deep and enduring partnership between the United States and Belgium and the unwavering USA support for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation".

The top US diplomat was scheduled to see NATO's secretary-general and Belgium's foreign minister in Brussels, according to the State Department.

While he has condemned the violent mob and called for prosecutions, Pompeo has also defended Trump's time in office as a boost for the U.S.

But he also reportedly canceled a second stop to Luxembourg, whose foreign minister called Trump "a political pyromaniac" after the president's remarks led to the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol last week.

Pompeo has faced backlash of his own, including from US diplomats, for standing by Trump even as other Republicans condemned his speech, blamed him for the violence and called on him to recognize Joe Biden as the president-elect. In his carefully crafted statements, the top diplomat has avoided criticizing Trump's actions and is instead focusing on how critics are characterizing the events.

The US ambassador in the Netherlands has hosted Taiwan's representative to the country at the US embassy, in the first publicly announced visit to a US government office since Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lifted restrictions on interactions.

"Trump is a criminal, a political pyromaniac who should be sent to criminal court".

Pompeo has remained staunchly loyal to Trump despite resignations from a string of his cabinet colleagues and calls to force the president from office over the attack on the Capitol. Beijing views the democratic island as its own territory, with no right to state-to-state ties. We saw that with the way they announced Kelly Craft's visit to Taiwan. A wrong move in the Taiwan Strait could spark conflict between two economic, nuclear-armed superpowers, something the Biden administration will need to grapple with. "In many ways, I think the Trump administration is looking to use Taiwan as a weapon against China".

Then on Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared he was lifting "complex internal restrictions" limiting official contacts with Taiwan.

Beijing promptly warned Washington would "receive a resolute counterstrike from China" over the move and "pay a heavy price" if Craft visited.

But Biden, who favors a far less confrontational diplomatic style that Trump, has given few details on what his Taiwan policy might be.

China had said it was firmly opposed to the visit.

For the next U.S. administration, Nachman believes, the move could pose a challenge, by forcing the incoming secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, to address the issue of Taiwan in the first few weeks of the new administration.

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