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‘Obsolete’ Pompeo seeks 'cash, political gains’ in 2nd Taiwan island trip

《环球时报·英文版》 2022-09-27

Former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has paid his second trip to China's Taiwan region, turning the island into a cash machine while trying to accumulate political capital by blatantly trumpeting the island as an independent country, although experts said Pompeo is just seen as an obsolete politician with a bad reputation, even in the US.

Responding to Pompeo's Taiwan tour, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Pompeo's calculations will not materialize, describing him as a former politician of diminished credibility who staged these stunts for personal political gains.

Pompeo arrived in Kaohsiung in the southern part of the island late Monday under the invitation of the Global Taiwan Business Forum, where he delivered a speech on the island's economic development and role in the global economy, according to local media reports.

At the event, Pompeo falsely and provocatively claimed that Taiwan doesn't need to declare independence because it already is an independent country, stressing the island authorities' firm relationship with the US, local media reported.

Supporting Taiwan independence has long been a way to score points for politicians in the US, and Pompeo is taking every chance to do so, creating gimmicks that can later be used as political capital to gain support and meet his future ambitious plans, Xin Qiang, director of the Taiwan studies center with Fudan University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Pompeo told media in July that he was prepared to run for the White House in 2024.

Another more practical purpose of Pompeo's trip is to make money, analysts said.

The Global Times learned that he will allegedly take commission fees from a number of companies, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), and I-MEI Foods Co Ltd.

In his previous visit to the island in March, Pompeo was paid $150,000 for a speech under the terms of an agreement signed by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US and US-based company Premiere Speakers Bureau, according to media reports.

In fact, the 'commission fees' are nothing compared with the much greater deals promoted by US interest groups behind Pompeo. For example, military-industrial interest groups may have private deals with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in power, in turn pushing for larger deals with Taiwan such as arms purchases, Xin said.

While some observers noted that choosing this time to visit the island reflects Pompeo's considerations for the US mid-term elections, Xin said it will not make much of a difference, as in both Democrats and Republicans eyes, Pompeo is really just an over-the-hill expired politician with a bad reputation.

The Global Taiwan Business Forum is organized by pro-secessionist media Liberty Times, which invited more than 300 businesspeople to the Kaohsiung Marriott Hotel, including Taiwan's deputy regional leader Lai Ching-te.

The invitation to the former US senior official to visit Taiwan island was extended by a civil organization, which reflects that DPP authorities want to desensitize the visit after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip. They are wearing a white glove by appearing as a civil group while taking stealth benefits for their own political gains, analysts said.

Pompeo's visit to Taiwan will to some extent help the DPP gain support during the upcoming local elections, as the trip can shift focus from a series of political scandals of the DPP and help the DPP take advantage of Pompeo's words to show their achievements in improving ties with the US, experts said.