‘Marginal figure’ Pompeo seeks to garner attention for possible 2024 election with offer to visit Taiwan island with Pelosi
Published: Jul 25, 2022 10:36 PM
Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announces the State Department is designating more Chinese media as

Mike Pompeo. Photo: VCG

While US government officials remain divided over the still unannounced Taiwan trip by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said he would visit the island with her. Chinese observers believe that Pompeo is pinning his hopes on "making a mess" and fanning the flames of Pelosi's unannounced visit in order to politically rise again for the 2024 presidential election, but as the two are completely opposed on most domestic issues, it's impossible for Pompeo and Pelosi to visit Taiwan island together. 

A week after media reported Pelosi was about to visit Taiwan, Pompeo, deemed by American media as the "worst secretary of state ever," tweeted on Monday, "Nancy, I'll go with you. I'm banned in China, but not freedom-loving Taiwan. See you there!"

In the commentary section of his tweet, some people from Taiwan island welcomed the pair's plan to visit, including Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Wang Ting-yu who tweeted that "we are looking forward to seeing you both here in Taiwan."

Meanwhile, some netizens mocked Pompeo. A commenter named "Pars" said "cute that Pompeo thinks he's still relevant."

Lü Xiang, an expert on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday that Pompeo is just trying to get some attention politically as he has given indications he will run for the 2024 election. 

Pompeo signaled his possible presidential run with the first video advertisement in the key primary state of South Carolina released last month, according to US media reports. 

However, Pompeo has been relegated to a "marginal figure" with limited funding since he left the position of secretary of state, which means that if Pompeo wants to rise again, he has to become a "troublemaker," using outrageous words and deeds to garner attention, Lü said. 

While Pelosi has yet to finalize her trip and US media are trying to assess the possible consequences, Pompeo tweeted the message with the intention of embarrassing Pelosi and fanning the flames of the situation, he said. 

"Pompeo's remarks could make more Republicans mock Pelosi for not daring to visit the island, and this is just making noise," he said, noting that as Pompeo and Pelosi are completely opposite on most domestic issues, it's impossible for them to "go to the island together." 

Pompeo's visit to Taiwan can only be done in an unofficial capacity, but it remains to be seen whether such a typical anti-China figure will conspire with the Taiwan authorities to do something unfavorable to the Chinese mainland, such as persuading the Taiwan authorities to buy more American weapons, Lü said.

As for Pelosi's potential visit, Financial Times reported on Saturday that China has issued stark private warnings to the Biden administration that suggested a possible military response.

In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Monday that China is fully prepared for any eventuality,  and if the US insists on it, China will take firm and strong measures to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the US will be responsible for the serious consequences. 

Zheng Yongnian, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and president of the Institute for International Affairs, Qianhai, told the Global Times in a recent interview that Pelosi's potential visit to Taiwan is not just about the midterm elections, nor is it being done on a whim. On the Taiwan question, the US has no bottom line, he added.

The US' misjudgment on the Taiwan question is that it believes China will resolve it when the US is politically weak and wants to bluff to its Asia-Pacific allies and Taiwan to show that Washington will not forget their interests, even when it is weak itself, Zheng said. 

Chinese observers believed that China's warnings against Pelosi's potential visit to Taiwan is almost Beijing's harshest against Washington in recent years, Lü said, noting Pelosi's visit will be a "game changing" move that means the "status quo" claimed by the US has been changed, and Washington should also be prepared for routine patrolling from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) of the island of Taiwan.

On Monday, the island of Taiwan launched its annual Han Kuang military drills, which mainland experts said are more of a show rather than anything of military significance.