US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft is to visit Taiwan soon, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday, without specifying when, as he released a statement of support for Hong Kong’s democratic movement.
Washington supports the people of Hong Kong and “all who yearn for freedom,” Pompeo said.
“In that vein, I am pleased to announce the upcoming visit of US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft to Taiwan, a reliable partner and vibrant democracy that has flourished despite CCP [Chinese Communist Party] efforts to undermine its great success. Taiwan shows what a free China could achieve,” he said.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said in a statement that the ministry would welcome Craft’s delegation and that it is working with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) on the details.
Craft would be the first US ambassador to the UN to visit Taiwan, which would demonstrate Washington’s strong support for Taiwan’s international participation and the advancement of the Taiwan-US partnership, Ou said.
As of press time last night, the AIT had not commented on the planned visit.
However, whether Craft could make trip, given that US president-elect Joe Biden is to be sworn in on Jan. 20, is questionable.
US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler in November last year canceled a planned trip to Taipei last month after drawing media criticism for wasting money.
Pompeo’s statement came after Hong Kong police on Wednesday arrested 53 democracy advocates for alleged breaches of the territory’s National Security Law.
Pompeo said that the mass arrests were “an outrage, and a reminder of the Chinese Communist Party’s contempt for its own people and the rule of law.”
“The United States will not stand idly by while the people of Hong Kong suffer under communist oppression,” he said, adding that Washington “will consider sanctions and other restrictions on any and all individuals and entities involved in executing this assault on the Hong Kong people.”
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying (華春瑩) yesterday said that Pompeo’s statement had violated the “one China” principle and the three China-US joint communiques.
Certain anti-China politicians in the administration of US President Donald Trump are doing whatever they can to sabotage China-US ties, even though their days are numbered, Hua said, adding that China would take all necessary measures to defend its sovereignty and security, and the US would pay a heavy price for its wrongdoing.
Craft is known as a strong supporter of Taiwan and has expressed support for the nation’s inclusion in the UN, saying in a speech in September last year that it was “cheating the world” not to have Taiwan participating in UN activities.
Craft had lunch with Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York Director James Lee (李光章) on Sept. 16 last year.
She said at the time that Lee, who had only recently arrived in the US city, had invited her to lunch.
She later told The Associated Press that the lunch with Lee at an outdoor restaurant on Manhattan’s East Side was the first meeting between a top Taiwanese official and a US ambassador to the UN.
Additional reporting by Lin Chia-nan
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