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US State Department Cancels UN Envoy’s Trip to Taiwan

FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2020, file photo, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft speaks during a news conference at the U.S. State Department in Washington. According to the United States Mission to the United Nations, Craft will travel…

A scheduled trip to Taiwan by Kelly Craft, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, has been cancelled by the U.S. State Department.

Ambassador Craft was due to arrive in Taiwan Wednesday for a three-day visit that included meetings with President Tsai Ing-wen and other senior officials.

But State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus issued a statement Tuesday saying the department was cancelling all official travel this week, citing the transition to the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office next Wednesday, January 20.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose planned trip to Europe was also cancelled, issued a statement Saturday easing self-imposed restrictions on all contacts between U.S. diplomatic officials and their Taiwanese counterparts.

Zhu Fenglian, a spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, told reporters Wednesday that it strongly opposes all official contacts between the United States and Taiwan.

Beijing considers the democratically-ruled island as part of its territory despite their break since the end of China’s civil war in 1949, when Chaing Kai-shek’s Nationalist forces were driven off the mainland by Mao Zedong’s Communist forces and fled to Taiwan.

Washington officially switched formal diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, but the Trump administration has angered China as it increasingly embraced Taiwan both diplomatically and militarily since taking office in 2017.

China stepped up military flights into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar traveled to Taiwan in August and State Department Undersecretary Keith Krach arrived a month later.