On Twitter, Ortagus responded to an editorial article published by Chinese hawkish state-run media Global Times, where it threatened that if Pompeo were to “dare” visit Taiwan before the end of his tenure as U.S. Secretary of State, Chinese military jets would “fly over” the self-ruled island in a move to declare Beijing’s sovereignty over the island.
Global Times also stated that both Washington and Taipei should not “overreact” to Beijing’s military move.
“If the U.S. and the island of Taiwan dare to overreact, war will be sparked. China will punish the Taiwan authorities which cooperate with Pompeo’s final show of madness,” stated the Global Times article published on Jan. 10.
It also repeated Beijing’s propaganda that the United States colludes with Taiwanese citizens who advocate for the island’s formal independence. The latter should not “take for granted that they can seek secession with the help of the last-ditch madness of an administration abandoned by the Americans,” the article stated.
Ortagus wrote in response: “Sorry, @globaltimesnews, but you are wrong again! The Secretary’s upcoming trip to Europe will be his final overseas trip as Secretary.” The U.S. State Department has not yet published the detailed itinerary of Mike Pompeo’s trip to Europe.
Sorry, @globaltimesnews, but you are wrong again! The Secretary’s upcoming trip to Europe will be his final overseas trip as Secretary.
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) January 11, 2021
She added: “There are no plans to travel to #Taiwan this week but we will continue our consistent support for Taiwan as a successful market economy, vibrant democracy, and force for good in the world.
“The CCP must act responsibly and stop believing the lies in their own propaganda. Their nervous panic diplomacy is unwarranted and dangerous.”
Beijing expressed outrage after Pompeo announced last week that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft will visit Taiwan. Craft is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan on Jan. 13 for a three-day visit and will meet with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Jan. 14, according to Taiwan’s Presidential Office spokesperson Xavier Chang.
The CCP sees Taiwan as a part of its territory that should be united with the mainland, by force if necessary. Moreover, it also opposes governments and international organizations that form ties with the island because it might suggest that Taiwan is a de-facto nation-state.
Washington currently has no formal diplomatic ties with Taipei but has maintained a robust relationship with the island based on the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), which was signed into law by former President Jimmy Carter in April 1979.
That law authorizes the United States to provide the island with military equipment for self-defense and establish a nonprofit corporation called the American Institute in Taiwan, which is now the de-facto U.S. embassy on the island.
Bilateral ties deepened on Jan. 9, after Pompeo lifted decades-old “contact guidelines” previously issued by the U.S. State Department, on how U.S. officials should interact with their Taiwanese counterparts.
I’m grateful to @SecPompeo & @StateDept for lifting restrictions unnecessarily limiting our engagements these past years. I’m also thankful for strong bipartisan support in Congress for the #Taiwan🇹🇼 Assurance Act, which advocates a review of prior guidelines. The closer … 1/2 https://t.co/2UrT5d7Wws
— 外交部 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan) 🇹🇼 (@MOFA_Taiwan) January 10, 2021
On Monday afternoon, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, at a daily briefing, condemned Pompeo over his decision to remove the guidelines.
Zhao called for him to stop “manipulating issues regarding Taiwan” and stop “going further down a wrong and dangerous road,” or else he “will be severely punished by history.”
U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) welcomed the lifting of restrictions in a statement on Sunday.
“I am pleased to see the State Department take swift and decisive action to implement the bipartisan Taiwan Assurance Act, which I introduced to ensure we move beyond the outdated red tape limiting our relationship with Taiwan,” McCaul said.
The Taiwan Assurance Act was signed into law in December 2020. That new law also calls for the U.S. government to advocate for Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization.
McCaul added: “Due to our shared priorities today of confronting the generational threat posed by the CCP, it is time to eliminate this unnecessary bureaucracy so we can deepen our ties with Taiwan and help to bolster them against further marginalization by the CCP’s growing aggression.”
Taiwan’s Vice President William Lai welcomed Pompeo’s decision via Twitter on Sunday.
“Normalizing relations with the US and other countries is the wish and best interest of the Taiwanese people,” Lai wrote.