Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to visit Taiwan from March 2 to 5, according to the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is expected to meet President Tsai Ing-wen and speak at the Prospect Foundation, a think tank based in Taipei, according to the ministry's website.

The American politician and his wife would also meet Vice President William Lai and Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu during their visit to Taiwan, Reuters said.

Beijing calls Pompeo an 'anti-China politician'

Immediately after the end of the Trump Administration on January 20, 2021, the government of mainland China imposed sanctions on Pompeo, preventing him from entering China or doing business with anyone in the country.

At the time, NPR reported a Chinese Foreign Ministry post on social media which said Pompeo and 27 other "anti-China politicians" were being punished for having "seriously violated China's sovereignty." Among the other former Trump officials under China's sanctions were John Bolton and Steve Bannon, NPR said.

Radio Taiwan International quoted Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Joanne Ou as saying Pompeo's trip would demonstrate the "rock solid" support which Taiwan enjoyed among Republicans and also the Democratic Party. She credited him with helping provide Taiwan with advanced weapons, the broadcaster said.

The Hill noted that Pompeo was considered a possible Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election.

'A staunch friend of Taiwan'

Reuters quoted a Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement saying the former Secretary of State had been "a long-term and staunch friend of Taiwan, and made outstanding contributions to promoting Taiwan-US relations during his time in office." After leaving office, he had continued to express his support for the self-governing island, Radio Taiwan International noted.

In April 2021, soon after mainland China had banned the import of pineapples from Taiwan, Pompeo joined efforts to boost consumption of the fruits by posting a Tweet of himself leisurely snacking on dried pineapple from Taiwan. Such carefree eating would soon increase his weight to nearly 300 pounds, prompting him to change his lifestyle and lose 90 pounds, The New York Post reported.

Taiwan's leaders are 'playing with fire'

Pompeo's upcoming trip to Taiwan was discussed by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Wang Wenbin at a February 21 press conference. He noted that Pompeo had "long been sanctioned by China for his anti-China remarks and actions." By seeking American support for Taiwan's independence, the island's ruling Democratic Progressive Party was "playing with fire and will end up being consumed by it," Wang said.