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US former diplomat arrives in Taiwan, calls it ‘great nation’

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TAIPEI, March 2 (Reuters) – Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, sanctioned by China when he left office at the end of the Trump presidency, arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday and almost immediately referred to it as a country, a highly sensitive red line for Beijing.

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Taiwan’s democratically elected government is not formally recognised by the Unites States nor most other countries, which maintain official ties only with China, whose ruling Communist Party views the island as Chinese territory, not a state.

Frosts in Brazil have impacted supply.(Supplied: Melbourne Coffee Merchants)

Those words will likely be warmly welcomed in Taiwan.

President Tsai Ing-wen, who will meet Pompeo on Thursday, says Taiwan is an independent state called the Republic of China.

Taiwan vehemently rejects China’s sovereignty claims, saying the People’s Republic of China has never controlled the island and only its people can decide its future.

The Republic of China government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing the Chinese civil war to the communists.

She said the industry could eventually emulate the gin industry, with boutique operations cropping up across the country.

Beijing has vowed to bring the island under its control, by force if necessary, and has increased its military and political pressure against Taiwan to try and force the island to accept China’s sovereignty.

Taiwan has vowed to defend itself if attacked.

“China’s military threat to the Taiwan Strait and to the region continues to rise,” Tsai told the U.S. delegation.

“We look forward to working even more closely with the U.S. and other stakeholders in the region, collectively responding to challenges and unilateral actions that could impact security, in order to maintain regional peace and stability,” she said.

She said the United States visit during the crisis in Ukraine demonstrated the “rock-solid” ties between Taiwan and the United States and highlighted the island’s role in regional and global security.

Under long-standing U.S. policy, the United States has only unofficial relations with Taipei and recognises China diplomatically.

However, U.S. law requires it to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself and the Biden administration has vowed to continue former President Donald Trump’s policy of stepping up engagement with the island.

The trip comes days after a U.S. warship sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, the waterway between China and Taiwan. The U.S. military described its passage as routine but Beijing said it was “provocative”. read more

China describes Taiwan as the most sensitive and important issue in its ties with the United States, and any high-level interactions that the island has upset Beijing.

China denounced the Mullen’s visit on Tuesday, with its foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, saying “whoever the United States sends to show support for Taiwan is bound to fail”.

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