US risks enraging China by easing limits on Taiwan relations
Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, has lifted longstanding restrictions that limit US diplomatic relations with Taiwan, in a move that is likely to incense China days before the Biden administration takes power.
Washington cut ties with Taiwan in 1979 in favour of those with China, which sees the self-governing and democratic island as its own territory. While successive US administrations have loosened diplomatic restrictions and sold weapons to the island, Mr Pompeo’s action goes further than any in the past.
“Today I am announcing that I am lifting all of these self-imposed restrictions,” Mr Pompeo said in a statement on Saturday. He added that government agencies should consider all such “contact guidelines” previously issued by the Department of State to be “null and void”.
While the US has no official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, contacts between the two are governed by an unpublished set of codes that limit where officials can meet and even how correspondence is conducted.