‘Playing with fire’: China on Pompeo’s upcoming Taiwan visit

China on Pompeo's upcoming Taiwan visit

BEIJING: Slamming the former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s upcoming visit to Taiwan next month, China has said that Taipei, in seeking independence by soliciting US support, is “playing with fire.”

China continues to regard Taiwan as a breakaway province even after decades of separate governance. It has repeatedly issued threats against the island and vowed to militarily take over the island.

“Mike Pompeo has long been sanctioned by China for his anti-China remarks and actions. The Democratic Progressive Party authorities in Taiwan, in seeking independence by soliciting US support, is playing with fire and will end up being consumed by it,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin at a briefing on Monday.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Monday had announced that Pompeo will visit Taiwan next week to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen.

Pompeo will be on a four-day visit to Taiwan from March 2 to 5. During his visit Pompeo and his wife will also meet Vice President Lai Ching-te and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, and attend banquets hosted by them, Focus Times reported citing the ministry’s statement.

MOFA described the upcoming trip of former United States Secretary of State as an indication of Washington’s strong bipartisan support for Taipei.

On March 4, Pompeo has been invited to give a speech by the government-affiliated Prospect Foundation, the ministry said.

The ministry further said it welcomes the upcoming visit of Pompeo, who it called a long-term friend of the country who promoted closer Taipei-Washington relations during his tenure in the administration of President Donald Trump, Focus Times reported.

As secretary of state from April 2018 to January 2021, Pompeo facilitated US government approval of numerous arm sales to Taiwan, strengthened bilateral exchanges with the establishments of new platforms and agreements, and ended the State Department’s restrictions on how U.S. officials interact with Taiwanese counterparts, the ministry said.

He has also openly supported Taiwan’s freedom and democracy even after leaving the post of secretary of state, the ministry added. (ANI)

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