US diplomat’s ‘last-minute’ Taiwan visit angers China

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: A top US diplomat’s upcoming trip to Taiwan as the US ends decades-old curbs on contacts with Taipei has again escalated China-American tensions.

The US ambassador to the UN, Kelly Craft, is due to arrive in Taipei on Wednesday for a three-day visit.

Her last-minute trip – days before Donald Trump’s presidency ends – has angered China.

Self-governing Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has hailed the shift in diplomatic relations.

Ambassador Craft’s visit to Taiwan comes after a year of mounting hostility between Washington and Beijing.

Taiwan has been a major thorn in the deteriorating relationship. Under President Donald Trump the US has established closer ties with Taiwan – sending senior officials and ramping up arms sales to the territory despite fierce warnings from China.

Most recently, Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, said the US would end the “self-imposed restrictions” on contacts between Taiwan and US officials that were introduced decades ago to “appease” the mainland Chinese government, which lays claim to the island.

At the same time the United States has bitterly clashed with Beijing on multiple fronts including trade, human rights and the Covid pandemic.

The top US diplomat’s visit was only announced late last week by Mike Pompeo.

At the end of a statement condemning the mass arrests of democracy advocates in Hong Kong, Mr Pompeo also added that Ambassador Clark would visit Taiwan.

It will make Kelly Craft the third senior US official sent to the island since August on a trip that begins just a week before the inauguration of Joe Biden as US president and the end of Mr Trump’s term.

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