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Pompeo advises US to drop strategic ambiguity regarding Taiwan

Former US secretary of state suggests ambiguity advantageous for China

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Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Washington should drop its strategic ambiguity towards Taiwan, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday (July 4) at an event organized by the British conservative think tank, Policy Exchange.

Despite not being able to do so during his tenure as secretary of state, Pompeo said he had always believed the U.S. should abandon its decades-long strategy. He said that since Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平) has asserted his position that Taiwan is part of China, the U.S. should also face reality and state clearly whether it believes Taiwan belongs to China or is an independent country, CNA reported.

Pompeo emphasized that the lesson learned from Russia's invasion of Ukraine is that ambiguity is dangerous because the countries neighboring Ukraine do not know how to properly react to the conflict. Ambiguity will only give dictatorships more opportunities and make it difficult for democracies to respond in time, he said, adding that Xi understands this very well.

The former secretary of state also reminded his audience that the issue of Taiwan is complex and involves the contentious nine-dash line and nearby nations such as the Philippines and Japan. Pompeo said he is most worried about China using a method similar to its tightening grip over Hong Kong, through propaganda and intelligence offensives to enforce security, imprison the people, and control the local government.

This would weaken Taiwan's sovereignty after a few years, effectively making it a part of China, Pompeo said. This is the biggest risk Taiwan faces and we must find ways to prevent it, he said.