dpa/GNA – The outgoing government of US President Donald Trump is lifting self-imposed restrictions on how American diplomats and government representatives deal with their contacts in Taiwan, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday.

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

“Today I am announcing that I am lifting all of these self-imposed restrictions. Executive branch agencies should consider all ‘contact guidelines’ regarding relations with Taiwan previously issued by the Department of State under authorities delegated to the Secretary of State to be null and void,” Pompeo added.

The move comes before a planned Taiwan visit by the US ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft. Her visit, scheduled for January 13-15, has been sharply criticized by China.

In Taipei, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said he was “grateful” for the lifting of restrictions that have been “unnecessarily limiting our engagements these past years.”

“The closer partnership between Taiwan & the US is firmly based on our shared values, common interests & unshakeable belief in freedom & democracy,” Wu said.

China urges its diplomatic partners not to have official contacts with the Taipei government. The communist leadership in Beijing regards Taiwan as part of the People’s Republic.

Foreign Office spokeswoman Hua Chunying told journalists in Beijing on Friday that some “anti-Chinese politicians” like Pompeo would do everything in their remaining term of office to undermine relations between the US and China. “We hope and know that those in the US will pay a high price for their wrongdoing.”

Relations between the outgoing US administration and the government in Beijing are strained.

The US and Taiwan have only informal relations. The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) is responsible for implementing US policy towards Taiwan.

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