Kelly Craft: US cancels top envoy’s visit to Taiwan

US diplomat's 'last-minute' Taiwan visit angers China
Kelly Craft, the US Ambassador to the United Nations. Source:: AFP
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Daily US Times: The US Department of State has canceled a planned visit of its United Nations (UN) envoy to Taiwan due to the upcoming presidential transition. Kelly Craft was scheduled to arrive in Taipei on Wednesday after the US abruptly ended long-time curbs on contacts with Taiwan officials.

It led China, which views democratic Taiwan as a breakaway province, to warn the UnitedS against “playing with fire”.

Taipei expressed regret but also “respect” for the US decision.

The planned visit by the US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft was only announced late last week by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and would have come days before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

It was viewed by analysts as a last-minute bid by outgoing President Trump’s administration to seal its position on the thorny issue of Taiwan after a year of escalating Beijing-Washington tensions.

On Tuesday, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that all travel this week had been canceled – including his own trip to Europe as part of the presidential transition to the incoming Joe Biden administration.

Mr Biden, a Democrat, is set to take office on 20 January.

Taiwan’s government expressed its regret about the canceled trip, while also conveying “understanding and respect for the decision”, it said in a statement.

Bitter exchanges over self-governing Taiwan, a firm US ally, have emerged over the last year as the US’s relationship with China has spiralled to a new low.

Under President Donald Trump, the US has established much closer ties with Taiwan- sending senior officials and ramping up arms sales to the territory, despite fierce warnings from China.