© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Flags of Taiwan and the United States are set for the meeting between the Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce and with Su Chia-chyuan, the President of the Legislative Committee in Taipei
By David Brunnstrom and Michael Martina
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US Senator Chris Dodd and former Deputy Foreign Ministers Richard Armitage and James Steinberg arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday at the request of President Joe Biden, of which a White House official called ” personal signal “about the president’s commitment to the Island, which is claimed by China and its democracy.
A senior Biden administration official told Reuters that sending the “unofficial” delegation until the United States and Taiwan marked the 42nd anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act that Biden voted when he was is a US senator.
The delegation will meet high-ranking Taiwanese officials and adhere to “a long bipartisan tradition of US administrations sending high-level, unofficial delegations to Taiwan,” the official said.
The official called it “a personal signal” from the president, who just took office in January.
“This selection of three individuals – high-ranking politicians, longtime friends of Taiwan and individuals close to President Biden – sends an important signal of US commitment to Taiwan. and its democracy. “
Taiwan’s Presidential Office said President Tsai Ing-wen will meet with the delegation on Thursday morning.
The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry said the group would arrive at Tung Son airport in downtown Taipei in the middle of the afternoon on Wednesday.
On Friday, the State Department said it was issuing new guidelines to allow US officials to meet more freely with officials from Taiwan, a move to deepen ties with Taipei. in the context of China increasing military activity around the island that China claims to be its own.
Former President Donald Trump has angered China by sending some high-ranking officials to Taiwan, and his foreign minister, Mike Pompeo, declared a few days before President Trump’s term ended in January. that he would lift restrictions on contacts between US officials and their Taiwanese counterparts.
Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue and is at the heart of the dispute with Washington, which US law requires to provide the island with means of self-defense.
“The United States is committed to aligning with Taiwan and strengthen our cooperation on the common good in line with the US ‘one China’ policy,” the Biden administration official said, referring to the long-term policy. length of the United States, under which Washington officially recognizes Beijing. than Taipei.
The official dismissed the question of whether the sending of the delegation could be coordinated to coincide with the visit of US climate envoy John Kerry to Shanghai this week, saying climate negotiations with the North. Sutras “should not be linked with other areas of the relationship.”
“And it certainly doesn’t alleviate any of our concerns about Beijing’s behavior,” the official said. “Our unofficial involvement with Taiwan … should stand on its own.”
When asked about future official level contacts with Taiwan following the State Department’s announcement, the official replied: “We do not have a specific plan at this time, for the specific tour. but… I certainly expect we will have our commitments and travel in line with our one China policy. “
The official said Taiwan and keeping the status quo across the Taiwan Strait will be part of talks with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga when he visits Washington for talks with Biden later this week.
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