Pompeo’s Radical Speech: “The U.S. Should Recognize Taiwan as a Nation,” and the Taiwan Situation Gathers Tidings of an Upheaval

Pompeo’s Radical Speech: “The U.S. Should Recognize Taiwan as a Nation,” and the Taiwan Situation Gathers Tidings of an Upheaval

Article by Daisuke Kondo on March 5th 2022

About Daisuke Kondo (Journalist. Graduated from the University of Tokyo with a Master’s degree in International Information Studies. He has extensive reporting experience in East Asia, with a focus on China and the Korean Peninsula. He is a special editorial board member of Kodansha’s Shukan Gendai and a columnist for Gendai Business. His recent books include “Future China Chronology: What Will Happen in the Super-Ageing Nation” (Kodansha Gendai Shinsho), “2025, Japan-China Corporate Disparity: Will Japan Become China’s Subcontractor? (PHP Shinsho), “Xi Jinping to U.S.-China Clash – ‘Chuka Teikoku’ 2021 no Yabo” (NHK Publishing Shinsho), “Huawei to U.S.-China 5G Senso” (Kodansha + Alpha Shinsho), “What are Chinese people fascinated with in Japan” (Shuwa System), “Asia Burning” (MdN Shinsho), etc.)

Taipei, March 4, morning. When the man, whose name is written in Taiwanese as “Mai Ke, Biao Hua Ou,” took his seat at the podium of a lecture organized by the “Yuanjing Foundation,” a think tank affiliated with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, he was greeted with thunderous applause. It was former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, 58, on his first visit to Taiwan from March 2 to 5 with a delegation of 12, including his wife Susan.

 Pompeo, who was former President Donald Trump’s closest aide until last January, wore a mask with the four-character idiom “Kosen Wakabanseki” (firm and rock-solid will) written on it. A Taiwanese journalist acquaintance of mine speculated that the phrase may mean a combination of the will for Taiwan’s independence, the will of the U.S. to support Taiwan, and the will to become the next president of the United States.

Pompeo’s diet, a sign of his desire to be the next president

 Another surprising thing was that he had lost a lot of weight. A Taiwanese reporter explains this as well.

He has lost 40 kg in six months. He stated that he had built a gym in the basement of his house and worked desperately to lose weight. He was probably afraid of being ridiculed by American voters who would say, ‘A man who can’t even manage his own weight can’t manage the country,’ so he showed his ‘achievement’ before running for the next presidential election.

 Former Secretary Pompeo gave a rather shocking speech, although it lasted only 20 minutes. The main points of the speech were as follows.

I have always referred to Taiwan, especially during my tenure as Secretary of State. I am happy to be able to visit Taiwan for the first time. Taiwan is a great and free nation, experiencing a free culture and society.

 Taiwan not only has beautiful natural scenery, but also a rich history and traditions. It is now one of the most important economies in the world, and what impresses me most deeply (to outsiders) is Taiwan’s love of freedom.

China is carefully honing its sword against Taiwan.”

The history of World War II and Nazi Germany led by Hitler should be taken as a lesson. The result of their efforts to crush freedom is Hong Kong, where the leader of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, has taken over control. (After Hong Kong, it is Taiwan’s turn, as well as the South China Sea and the Senkaku Islands(of Japan). Are we going to hold our breath? Or will we reject as a matter of course the unrespectful talks of gaining security at the expense of freedom?

 The US policy of engagement with China has not made the Chinese people freer. So the Trump administration stopped the honest engagement formula with the CCP. I would like to submit that, as the world has noticed in the Ukraine situation, China has already broken one agreement. That is, in the strategic partnership relationship between China and Ukraine, both sides are mutually supportive on topics such as national sovereignty and territorial integrity. But such consent has been whitewashed.

 The misdeeds of the CCP are beyond description and reflect China’s ambitions for world domination. (The fact is that the (Chinese) Communist dictatorship is trying to dominate the world with a dark future through its economic prowess and new science and technology. The danger posed by the Chinese Communist Party is the central threat of our time, and many nations now agree with this view.

 The CCP wants to invade and govern Taiwan by force. First, for CCP leaders, acquiring Taiwan would achieve the ultimate goal of Communist Party ideology. Second, Xi Jinping believes that China is more powerful than the United States. He is convinced that China can defeat the U.S., and this belief makes Xi Jinping dangerous.

 In addition, China is carefully honing its sword against Taiwan, fringed with fear and paranoia. This is because Taiwan is the epitome of successful freedom and democracy in the Chinese community, and only the existence of this norm (Taiwan) seriously undermines the prestige and authority of the Chinese Communist Party. (The Chinese people, oppressed (by the CCP), would especially agree.

The U.S. should recognize Taiwan as a state while dealing with China.

 We must draw lessons from history. The key to U.S.-Taiwan relations is to counter China and promote prosperity in the region. I recognized this clearly during my tenure as Secretary of State. I also recognized that this will be a necessary element of U.S. foreign policy, both now and in the future.

 The United States should support Taiwan. It would be like the U.S. defending West Berlin to the death during the Cold War. Once West Berlin falls, local freedom will die.

 Although I am visiting Taiwan in my personal capacity, I believe that the U.S. needs to change its policies, which have been ambiguous for the past 50 years. That is, the U.S. must diplomatically recognize the Republic of China (Taiwan). On the one hand, the U.S. should maintain relations with the People’s Republic of China, and on the other hand, the U.S. should recognize Taiwan as a free and sovereign nation.

 This does not interfere with Taiwan’s future independence. Rather, it is to recognize a fact that is one clear and long overdue.

 In fact, Taiwan’s past and present leaders have made it clear. Taiwan does not need to declare its independence. Taiwan does not need to proclaim its independence because it is already an independent nation. Its name is Taiwan, the Republic of China.

 I call on the American people and government to recognize this political, diplomatic, and sovereign fact, and that the people of Taiwan are a free, democratic, and sovereign nation worthy of the world’s respect.

 Not surprisingly, February 28 marked the 50th anniversary of former U.S. President Richard Nixon’s visit to China and the release of the “Shanghai Communiqué,” a dramatic statement of friendship and goodwill with China. However, two years ago, on July 23, then Secretary of State Pompeo went all the way to the library in California that commemorated that former President Nixon and delivered an “anti-China speech” that defined the “New Cold War between the U.S. and China.

 This time, too, he may have wanted to send a message that “times have changed” in order to throw cold water on China, which is now in the midst of the excitement over the 50th anniversary of the “Shanghai Communiqué”. If he wins the presidential election in two years’ time, he will show no mercy.

The Ukrainians can flee to Poland, but we have to jump into the sea.

 However, “Pompeo’s visit” also caused unexpected troubles. The day before Pompeo’s visit to Taiwan, a threatening letter was sent to the Foundation threatening to “shoot him dead” in Taiwan. The letter also stated, “Prepare a coffin.” The sender was unknown, but the Taiwanese police took maximum security measures.

 The other incident occurred on the morning of March 3, the day before the lecture. At this time, President Tsai Ing-wen invited former Secretary Pompeo to the Presidential Office. There, she awarded former Secretary Pompeo the prestigious Order of the Jing Shing, a special order of the Grand Cordon of the Order of Distinction. This was in appreciation of former Secretary Pompeo’s dedication to the Taiwan-U.S. friendship, including his role as the first U.S. Secretary of State to send a congratulatory telegram to President Tsai Ing-wen at her reappointment ceremony on May 20, 2020.

 The ceremony was scheduled to be broadcast live via the Internet to all of Taiwan. However, just before the ceremony, a sudden power outage caused a panic throughout Taiwan. As a result, the live broadcast was canceled.

 An outraged President Tsai Ing-wen personally went to the TAIDEN Hsingta Power Plant at noon on the following day and declared that she would “thoroughly investigate the cause. According to the Taiwanese reporter mentioned above, “There are suspicions of cyber-terrorism from an outside source” (it was later reported that the trouble was caused by human error at a thermal power plant in Kaohsiung City).

 It was a near-miss moment, especially in the midst of the Ukrainian war. The same reporter continues.

The Tsai administration claims that it has already installed 100,000 air-raid shelters throughout Taiwan and is prepared to respond to missile attacks from the mainland. However, according to a poll conducted after the start of the war in Ukraine, 60% of respondents said, ‘The Tsai administration’s contingency plan is unbelievable. Some are angry that ‘Ukrainians can flee to Poland, but we are expected to jump into the sea.

 On February 27, Ma Ying-jeou, former president of the Kuomintang (KMT), which is opposed to the DPP government of Tsai Ing-wen, was asked by a reporter what the United States would do if China invaded Taiwan, to which he immediately responded: “We will not do that.”

“They will sell weapons and provide information, but they will not go to war.”

 This would make Taiwan a “second Ukraine” in the event of an emergency.

 At any rate, while the tragedy of the war in Ukraine continues in Europe, the “crisis in East Asia” seems to have begun to shift in the earth’s crust. When we asked a Chinese diplomat about this, he expressed the following view.

Unlike other major powers (Russia), China is a great power that values peace and stability. But if the other side (Taiwan) goes too far, that will not be the case.

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