In a last-minute decision on Tuesday (12 January), the US State Department announced that all travel including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's trip to Brussels has been cancelled, as the agency carried out the transition work for the incoming administration of President-elect Biden.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo canceled an official trip to Europe, which was to be the last of his tenure as the nation's top diplomat.
A former top State Department official said they were glad the trip was canceled after Trump encouraged the protests last week, and that they expect the U.S. relationships with European nations will swiftly be picked up by the incoming Biden team.
State Department sources told CNN that officials in Luxembourg canceled planned meetings with Pompeo prior to Monday's trip announcement, but that the trip in its entirety was not turning out the way that Pompeo and his team had envisioned, particularly given the criticism that President Donald Trump has faced from world leaders after the Capitol invasion.
Lev Nachman, a PhD candidate focusing on Taiwan politics at the University of California, Irvine, says the United States decision could also be interpreted as an attempt to fulfill the promise of more high-level diplomatic exchanges between the two sides, as envisioned in the Taipei Act and the Taiwan Travel Act.
China has been angered by stepped-up United States support for Taiwan under the Trump administration, including arms sales and visits to Taipei by senior United States officials.
The trip later this week included a stop in Luxembourg, according to a Reuters report.
Asselborn described Trump as a "political pyromaniac who must be brought before a court" over last week's attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.
Less than 18 hours after announcing that Mr. Pompeo would be travelling to Brussels this week to close out his tenure as America's top diplomat, the department said it had pulled down all senior-level overseas travel, including the Secretary's. "We are fully committed to the completion of a smooth and orderly transition process to be finalized over the next 8 days", said a statement. While there, Mr. Pompeo meant to meet North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief Jens Stoltenberg and Belgium's Foreign Minister before returning to Washington.
The decision also grounded USA ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft's scheduled trip to Taiwan.
The US formally recognized China in 1979 and shifted diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing, acknowledging the "One-China" policy and thus including Taiwan as part of mainland China. Pompeo on Saturday said he was lifting restrictions on contacts between USA officials and their Taiwanese counterparts.
Mr Biden is set to take office on 20 January. Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington D.C., said the move may have come a bit too late.
"Some kind of speeches as a result of dividing a society can really create this kind of problematics", she told BBC News last week. The State Department didn't say why, but Luxembourg's leaders were outspoken in their condemnation of Trump.