Unlike its conventional furtiveness, the Tsai Ing-wen administration made a high-profile announcement that former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo is to visit Taiwan from March 2.
Secure in the knowledge that it has strong backing from the "rock solid" bipartisan support from the United States, the secessionist-minded Tsai administration seems to have no qualms about his forthcoming four-day visit to the island irking Beijing. But the eagerness with which it is trying to curry favor with US politicians lays bare how fragile its confidence in their support actually is.
Usually the Tsai administration announces the visits of such "guests", particularly those holding official status from countries that have diplomatic relations with the Chinese mainland, by welcoming them on their arrival or when they are wrapping up their visits, for fear that it will cause trouble for them or their countries since they are flouting the one-China principle.
In forecasting the arrival of what it calls a "staunch friend" nearly two weeks in advance, which will necessarily prompt a reaction from Beijing, the Tsai administration is de facto resorting to the ruse of self-injury to win the US' confidence, and also binding the US' former top diplomat more tightly with its secessionist "cause".
It is hard to conceive of this being done without Pompeo's consent. And he is no doubt hoping to use the island for his own benefit. Indeed, he has not stopped smearing China or supporting the secessionists on the island since he left office in January last year in a bid to maintain his image and influence.
So he and Tsai are just scratching each other's back. That he will talk with not only the "officials" and "lawmakers" of the island but also local business community and think tank researchers show how keen the two are to take advantage of the island's prime position in the US' strategy to contain China.
It should not be forgotten that before leaving office, Pompeo announced an end to decades-old restrictions on official US contacts with Taiwan.
Predictably, Pompeo will continue to peddle his cliches about the need to protect "democracy" while trying to demonize China. For which, Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, referred to him as "a doomsday clown and joke of the century". Something that, to many people's surprise, Pompeo was happy to quote, as if it was a badge of honor rather than dishonor.
His readiness to continue his old tricks indicates he is still happy to play the role of clown, despite it shaming himself and his hosts.