Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has once again sparked outrage among Beijing leaders by expressly referring to Taiwan as “not” part of China.
Pompeo said in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday that Washington’s perspective remains bipartisan and unanimous in understanding that Taiwan “has not been a part of China” for decades.
“That was recognized with the work that the Reagan administration did to lay out the policies that the United States has adhered to now for three-and-a-half decades,” he explained in the provocative comments.
Interestingly, Pompeo had specifically been asked about how the US might respond if China decided to take Taiwan by force, to which the secretary of state emphasized that both the Republican and Democratic parties have committed to defend Taiwan’s democracy.
This was predictably met with a swift response out of China, with its foreign ministry saying Friday it won’t hesitate to “strike back against any moves that undermine its core interests,” according to Reuters. Such “moves” have lately included unprecedented American weapons sales to the island, including drones and coastal defense missiles.
“We solemnly tell Pompeo and his ilk, that any behavior that undermines China’s core interests and interferes with China’s domestic affairs will be met with a resolute counterattack by China,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.
He affirmed that Taiwan was “an inalienable part of China” and that Pompeo’s remarks are further spiraling Sino-US relations. However, despite the bellicose and jingoist rhetoric, it’s more likely Beijing is now just waiting out the clock on the Trump administration.
Meanwhile Taiwan’s foreign ministry issued a statement thanking Pompeo for his support, saying, “The Republic of China on Taiwan is a sovereign, independent country, and not part of the People’s Republic of China. This is a fact and the current situation.”