Washington — The United States canceled a last-minute trip by top envoys to visit its allies in Europe and Taiwan on Tuesday due to a sudden diplomatic shift on the chaotic final day of the Trump administration. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was scheduled to make a final official visit to Europe on Wednesday afternoon while Washington’s UN envoy, Kelly Clark, was scheduled to land in Taiwan.
However, a week before Democrat Joe Biden took office, the visit was abruptly stopped, and President Donald Trump faced an almost certain second impeachment for inciting supporters to attack Congress last week.
The U-turn encapsulates the turbulent transition period that has wrapped Washington since Biden’s November election victory.
But it can also dodge both Europe and Taiwan hosting what could have been a potentially nasty delegation from the retiring regime.
“It was a very late time in the game to make this level of visit,” Maggie Lewis, an analyst at the Taiwan-based Seton Hall Law School, told AFP. “It is appropriate to focus on the next administration, not the final day of the Trump administration.”
The canceled trip concludes a four-year turbulent foreign policy under Mr. Trump, who tested Washington’s traditional allies in both Europe and Asia.
Is Pompeo invited?
The two-day stay in Europe was Pompeo’s last overseas trip, but the State Department has announced that he will be at home to ensure a “smooth and orderly” transition.
The trip was already seeking limited diplomatic value, and Pompeo had no plans to meet the EU’s top executives in Brussels.
In Luxembourg, officials told AFP that one leg of Pompeo’s trip had been canceled after Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn called Mr. Trump a “criminal” in a comment on RTL radio, subject to anonymity.
In a supporter’s attack on the US Capitol last week, Asselborn described Trump as “a political arson habit that must be taken to court.”
Reuters quoted an anonymous European diplomat as saying that Pompeo’s visits to both Brussels and Luxembourg were suspended after Asselborn and EU authorities refused to schedule a meeting with top U.S. diplomats. Reported on Wednesday.
Pompeo was scheduled to hold a Wednesday dinner with NATO Secretary General Jens Stortemberg in Brussels and then to meet with Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes.
Pompeo remained resolutely loyal to Mr. Trump, despite a series of resignations from his cabinet colleagues and a call to resign the president over an attack on the Capitol.
High stakes relationship with Taiwan
Kraft’s planned visit to Taiwan has come at a very dangerous time for autonomous democracy. Authoritarian China considers Taiwan its territory and vows to force it to occupy it as needed.
Beijing’s saber rattling is due to a record 380 invasions of Chinese jets into Taiwan’s defense zone last year to show anger at Washington’s fast-growing relationship with Taipei during the Trump era. You have reached a new height.
The stake is high. Mistakes in the Taiwan Strait can lead to conflicts between two economically and nuclear-armed superpowers, something that the Biden administration needs to address.
The United States switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing in 1979, but it remains a major informal ally of Taipei and is detained by Congress to sell island weapons to protect itself.
When Mr. Trump fought with China on many issues, from the coronavirus to trade and national security, Taipei became the way to follow Beijing.
Mr. Trump approved about $ 18 billion during his tenureIncreased the frequency of The highest level delegation since 1979, including the dispatch of cabinet bureaucrats last year.
Then on Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that he would lift the “complex internal restrictions” that limit official contact with Taiwan. Beijing immediately warned Washington of the move “to receive a decisive counter-strike from China.”..
Protecting Taiwan, one of Asia’s most progressive democracies, from China’s aggression has become a rare bipartisan issue in Washington.
But Biden, who prefers a much less conflicting diplomatic style than Mr. Trump, gives little detail on what his Taiwanese policy is.
Bonnie Glazer, a Taiwanese and Chinese expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Taipei was “disappointed, but somewhat relieved” at the last-minute cancellation of Craft.
“Taiwan doesn’t want to cause friction with the next administration,” she told AFP.
The Trump administration has denied plans for last-minute overseas travel to controversial Europe and Taiwan
Source link The Trump administration has denied plans for last-minute overseas travel to controversial Europe and Taiwan