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European official declares Trump a ‘political pyromaniac’ - Pompeo cancels trip

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo | File image | @SecPompeo | Twitter

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also cancelled a final official visit to Europe, officially to stay in Washington ensure a "smooth and orderly" transition to the new administration. The latter views Taiwan as part of its territory and has threatened military force to bring the island under its fold.

Taiwan, meanwhile, has welcomed the news from Washington, with Foreign Minister Joseph Wu saying during a press conference that "Taiwan-US relations have been elevated to a global partnership" with this move.

China's Taiwan Affairs Office repeated that it "firmly" opposes any official interactions between the USA and Taiwan when asked about Craft's cancellation.

Bitter exchanges over self-governing Taiwan, a firm United States ally, have emerged over the previous year as Washington's relationship with Beijing has spiralled to a new low.

"Made some history today: Welcomed Taiwan Representative Chen to our Embassy", he wrote, including pictures of the two of them in the embassy building.

Kelly Craft was scheduled to arrive in Taipei on Wednesday after Washington abruptly ended long-time curbs on contacts with Taiwan officials.

While the United States, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it is the island's strongest global backer and arms supplier, being obliged to help provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar at the presidential office in Taipei on August 10, 2020.

During an interview with CCTV, Teng Jianqun, director of the Department for American Studies and a senior research fellow at China Institute of International Studies, said that Trump's administration is trying to limit the space for Biden to adjust the government's policies toward China, especially with respect to Taiwan, so that Biden can't escape this "trap".

Taiwan has spent four years in the foreign policy limelight under U.S. President Donald Trump.

Screenshot of Pompeo's decision on interactions with China's Taiwan region. The State Department declined further comment on European officials' rejection of meetings with Pompeo.

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

Another noted, "Just as we routinely denounce foreign leaders who use violence and intimidation to interfere in peaceful democratic processes and override the will of their voters, the department's public statements about this episode should also mention President Trump by name".

For the next USA administration, Nachman believes, the move could pose a challenge, by forcing the incoming secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, to address the issue of Taiwan in the first few weeks of the new administration.