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‘Self-imposed’ restrictions on US-Taiwan relations scrapped

The Trump administration has lifted restrictions on diplomatic relations between the US and Taiwan, initially imposed to “appease” the Chinese Communist Party.

The Trump administration has lifted restrictions on diplomatic relations between the US and Taiwan, initially imposed to “appease” the Chinese Communist Party.

Outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced the removal of long-standing restrictions introduced to regulate relations between the US and Taiwan in accordance with the ‘One China’ policy.


The Trump administration has scrapped all “self-imposed” restrictions, which limit interactions between diplomatic officials from the respective nations.

Executive branch agencies have now been urged to consider all ‘contact guidelines’ previously issued by the Department of State “null and void”.

All sections of the Foreign Affairs Manual or Foreign Affairs Handbook, which convey authorities or otherwise purport to regulate executive branch engagement with Taiwan via any entity other than the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), have also been removed.

“Taiwan is a vibrant democracy and reliable partner of the United States, and yet for several decades the State Department has created complex internal restrictions to regulate our diplomats, servicemembers, and other officials’ interactions with their Taiwanese counterparts,” Secretary Pompeo said.

“The United States government took these actions unilaterally, in an attempt to appease the Communist regime in Beijing. No more.”


Secretary Pompeo added, “The United States government maintains relationships with unofficial partners around the world, and Taiwan is no exception.

“Our two democracies share common values of individual freedom, the rule of law, and a respect for human dignity.

“[This] statement recognises that the US-Taiwan relationship need not, and should not, be shackled by self-imposed restrictions of our permanent bureaucracy.”

This latest move by the Trump administration follows the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s (DSCA) approval of over almost $2.7 billion in arms to Taiwan in late 2020.

The sales have been met with fierce criticism from China, which has repeatedly accused the US of violating its ‘One China’ policy.

China has imposed sanctions against US companies involved in the arms sales, including Lockheed Martin; Boeing Defense, Space & Security; and Raytheon Technologies. 

“As China pointed out on multiple occasions, the US arms sales to the Taiwan region severely violate the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, and seriously undermine China’s sovereignty and security interests,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, said in response to the sales.

“China firmly opposes and strongly condemns it.”

The spokesman continued, “Once again, we urge the United States to strictly fulfil its commitment to the one-China principle and observe the three China-US joint communiqués, and stop selling weapons to Taiwan or having any military ties with it.

“We will continue taking necessary measures to safeguard national sovereignty and security interests.”

[Related: US approves sale of military comms system to Taiwan]

‘Self-imposed’ restrictions on US-Taiwan relations scrapped
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