Her trip canceled in the final days of the Trump administration, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft instead met virtually Wednesday night with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and told her: “The United States will always stand with Taiwan.”
And though she’ll leave office with the president next week, Craft said she still hopes to visit the self-ruled island soon, calling Taiwan “a beacon and a lodestar” for its science, technology and democracy.
The announcement last week that Craft would visit Taiwan sparked sharp criticism from Beijing and a warning that “the United States will pay a heavy price for its wrong action.” China considers Taiwan a renegade province and has stepped up threats to bring the island under its control.
American relations with Taiwan have warmed under President Donald Trump, largely due to strong bipartisan support in Congress, but also because the administration has been willing to defy Beijing’s threats and promote Taiwan as an alternative to Chinese Communist Party authoritarianism.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said Craft’s trip would show “what a free China could achieve.” But on Sunday, he canceled all senior-level overseas travels, including his own, to assist with the transition to President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.