The President’s office in Washington said this is an important signal of the US commitment to Taiwan and its democracy. As seen on Taiwanese television, former US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, James Steinberg and former Senator Christopher Dodd landed at Taipei Airport. All three are considered close to Biden.
US representatives are scheduled to meet with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday. Taiwanese presidential spokesman Xavier Chang said the visit highlighted the “strong relationship between Taiwan and the United States” that is “as strong as a rock.” A foreign ministry spokesman in Taipei said Beijing had lodged “serious objections” to the US visit.
Taiwan separated from China in 1949. Beijing regards the island as a breakaway province, although it has never been a part of the People’s Republic, and wants to unite it with the mainland – if necessary by force. Since independence advocate Tsai Ing-wen was elected president of Taiwan in 2016, Beijing has increased diplomatic, economic and military pressure. The United States severed diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979, but at the same time it remained Taiwan’s strongest ally and the country’s most important arms supplier.
Pressure on Taiwan is increasing
Through the one-China principle, the communist leadership in Beijing is increasingly marginalizing Taiwan on the world stage: those with ties to Beijing are not allowed to recognize Taiwan diplomatically. Only less than twenty states, most of them smaller, are behind Taiwan, which ranks 17th among the world’s economies. Germany also has only one representative office in Taipei.
Ready for Defense: Taiwanese Fighter Jet
The rising power of China is causing growing concern in the United States. Former President Donald Trump had tightened the path toward government in Beijing. His successor Biden has begun to depart from Trump’s policy in many areas, but he wants to stick to a strict path in China policy.
Last week, reports of Chinese military exercises off the island caused outrage. The US government on Friday issued new guidelines that should deepen contacts with Taiwan. The US State Department said it was a “release of action recommendations” for communications between US government agencies and Taiwan. You should encourage dialogue that “reflects our growing informal relationships”. “The specification confirms that Taiwan is a living democracy, an important security and economic partner, and a force for good in the international community.”
Provocation with 25 military planes
On Monday, China created new tensions with the United States by provocatively using military aircraft against Taiwan. The Ministry of Defense in Taipei said 25 aircraft violated the so-called Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone. Among them were bombers that could carry nuclear weapons. For several months, Chinese military aircraft have repeatedly violated the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone, increasing the pressure.
In response to the new US guidelines, China warned the Washington government on Tuesday not to “play with fire”. A US State Department spokesperson said the government in Washington should “immediately cease all official communications between the United States and Taiwan”. Nor should the United States send “wrong signals to the forces of independence”. When establishing diplomatic relations with China, the United States committed itself to maintaining only cultural, economic, and informal relations with Taiwan.
kle / sti (afp, rtr, dpa)