© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft during a press conference.
By Michelle Nichols NEW YORK (Reuters) – US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft said Wednesday that she had spoken with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to assure her of Washington’s support for the island, after from his own trip to Taipei this week. was scrapped. Craft’s planned visit came as a result of strong objections from China, which views the island as its own territory. But the trip was canceled by the State Department as part of a restriction on all travel before the transition to the incoming Biden administration. Craft, who will step down when Joe Biden takes office next week, wrote on Twitter that it was a “great privilege” to speak with Tsai. “We discussed the many ways in which Taiwan is a model for the world, as evidenced by its success in fighting COVID-19 and all that Taiwan has to offer in the fields of cutting-edge health, technology and science. “, said. “Unfortunately, Taiwan cannot share those successes at UN headquarters, including the World Health Assembly, as a result of the obstruction of the People’s Republic of China,” Craft added, referring to the People’s Republic of China. “I made it clear to President Tsai that the United States supports Taiwan and will always do so, as friends and partners, shoulder to shoulder as pillars of democracy.” Craft’s visit would have been highly symbolic as Taiwan is not a member of the UN due to objections from China. Beijing says it only has the right to speak on behalf of Taiwan on the world stage, something that Taipei’s democratically elected government rejects. Beijing has been angered by increased support for Taiwan by the administration of outgoing President Donald Trump, including trips to Taipei by senior US officials, further straining ties between China and the United States. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday he would lift restrictions on contacts between US officials and their Taiwanese counterparts. Craft’s trip to Taiwan appeared to be another part of an effort by Pompeo and the Republican Trump administration to ensure a tough approach to China before Democratic President-elect Biden takes office on January 20.