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The US should immediately “do the right and obvious thing” and recognize Taiwan as a “free and sovereign country,” former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote Thursday night in a series of Twitter messages.
Pompeo’s comments came as he visited Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei – and as war continued to rage in Ukraine late Thursday into Friday, with a fire at a nuclear power plant bringing a potentially frightening new scenario into play, although the fire was later reported to be extinguished.
A possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan has loomed as a possibility in the wake of Russia’s Ukraine invasion, with some foreign-affairs experts arguing US adversaries may be eager to test how willing and able the Biden administration is to respond to acts of aggression.
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But Pompeo warned that Taiwan must not suffer an attack similar to that in Ukraine.
Risk to freedom
“If any of us were mistaken or complacent about the risk to that freedom, I think we need only watch what’s taking place in Europe today to see that this continues to demand deep, concerted, focus[ed] leadership from those of us who cherish freedom,” Pompeo said, according to the Taipei Times.
The world is already watching for whether economic sanctions imposed by the Biden administration and other Western leaders will be enough to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war, now in its ninth day.
“It is my view that the US government should immediately take necessary, and long-overdue, steps to do the right and obvious thing, that is to offer the Republic of China (Taiwan) America’s diplomatic recognition as a free and sovereign country,” wrote Pompeo, 58, a former CIA director and Kansas congressman who is reportedly eyeing the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination.
“This isn’t about Taiwan’s future independence, it’s about recognizing an unmistakable already existent reality,” Pompeo continued. “That reality is, as many of your past & present leaders have made clear, there’s no need for Taiwan to declare independence because it’s already an independent country.
“Its name is the Republic of China (Taiwan). The people and government of the United States should simply recognize this political, diplomatic and sovereignty reality. The Taiwanese people deserve the world’s respect for a free, democratic and sovereign country.”
Deliberate word choice?
In an earlier message that was not part of the thread, Pompeo declared: “It is not provocative to demand freedom.” The comment accompanied photos of Pompeo and wife Susan Pompeo with Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.
Pompeo’s choice of the word “provocative” may have been deliberate. It was the same word that Chinese officials used earlier in the week after a US Navy destroyer passed through the Taiwan Strait last weekend — the second such move by a US military vessel this year.
The destroyer’s journey came just days after China sent nine of its military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense zone, prompting Taiwan to scramble its air force, the Taiwan Ministry of Defense said.
Pompeo also posted a video in which he praised Taiwan’s leaders as “great, freedom-loving people who understand that the United States and Taiwan have a great relationship [and] it’s important that we keep it.”
Earlier this week came reports that China was believed to have asked Russia to delay the Ukraine invasion until after the Winter Olympics in Beijing, raising the possibility of broader efforts by China and Russia to confer on their separate military plans.
On Wednesday night, Pompeo appeared on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” where he spoke about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He expressed concern that the US military under the Biden administration might become distracted by “woke” concerns such as its use of green energy, rather than its primary mission of keeping America safe.
“I am very worried about ensuring that our military is focused on the things that need to be focused on,” Pompeo told host Laura Ingraham.
He also claimed the US should have prevented the Ukraine invasion “months ago.”
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“We’ve known Vladimir Putin’s intentions for a long time. We saw him building up these forces,” Pompeo said. “
Pompeo’s thread of messages Thursday followed his meeting in Taiwan with Tsai, where the former member of the Trump administration was declared a “close friend of Taiwan” and received his Order of Brilliant Star with Special Grand Cordon for promoting closer ties between Washington and Taipei, the Taipei Times reported.