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Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been awarded Taiwan’s presidential honor for his contribution to boosting relations with the country, Reuters reported.

In a ceremony on Thursday, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen thanked Pompeo for his longtime support of her country, bestowing on him the Order of the Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon, one of the island’s top honors. 

According to Reuters, Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who died in June 2021, is also a recipient of the award. 

“A visit from such a good friend as Secretary Pompeo attests to the strong Taiwan-U.S. friendship,” Tsai said at the ceremony. 

Pompeo said at the ceremony he was proud of his accomplishments while in office to normalize relations with Taiwan. 

Pompeo was also seen at the ceremony wearing a mask with the U.S. and Taiwanese flags emblazoned on it, Reuters reported. 

“It is not provocative to say that one demands freedom. Indeed to walk away from these things demonstrate the absence of resolve,” Pompeo said.

The move from Taiwan comes as China previously placed sanctions against Pompeo and 27 other Trump-administration era officials due to former President Trump’s repeated criticism of Beijing and support of Taiwan, which China claims is their territory. 

In response to U.S. moves, China has stepped up its military and diplomatic pressure against Taiwan in the past two years, Reuters noted.

In a statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that Pompeo’s recent trip to Taiwan is “the relevant actions from Pompeo are despicable and inevitably a futile effort”.

Tags China Donald Trump Mike Pompeo Presidential award Taiwan us-taiwan relations

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