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‘Personal Signals’: US Biden sends former officials to Taiwan | Political news

The visit marks the 42nd anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act but is likely to anger China.

President Joe Biden sent an unofficial delegation of former high-ranking US officials to Taiwan on Wednesday with a signal in favor of the democratic island that China claims to be its own.

Former US Senator Chris Dodd and former Deputy Foreign Ministers Richard Armitage and James Steinberg are scheduled to arrive in Taiwan on Wednesday afternoon, following Biden’s request, in what a White House official called “personal signals” about the president’s commitment to the island. .

“Once again this visit demonstrates the strong relationship between Taiwan and the United States,” said Xavier Chang, spokesman for Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

The delegation will meet with Tsai on Thursday.

Taiwan’s 23 million people are living at risk of Chinese invasion, which does not rule out the use of force to gain control of the island. Beijing has also sought to isolate Taiwan on the world stage and condemns other countries’ efforts to maintain contact with the island.

The visit comes as the United States and Taiwan mark the 42nd anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, which Biden supported when he was a senator.

The delegation will follow the “long bipartisan tradition of US administrations sending high-level, informal delegations to Taiwan,” the official told Reuters news agency.

They call the visit “a personal signal” from the president, who took office in January.

“This selection of three individuals – high-ranking politicians, longtime friends of Taiwan and close to President Biden – sends an important signal of US commitment to Taiwan and the background. its democracy. “

Tensions across the strait

On Friday, the State Department said it was issuing new guidelines to allow US officials to meet more freely with officials from Taiwan. China, which has increased military activity around the island since Tsai took office in 2016, has responded by warning the US “don’t play with fire“.

Former President Donald Trump angered China by sending some high-ranking officials to Taiwan and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a few days before Trump’s term ended in January that he would lift deadlines. of contacts between US officials and their Taiwanese counterparts.

Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue and a major backbone of the dispute with Washington, for which US law requires the island to be provided 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.

Taiwan is modernizing its military to face a growing threat from China, which claims its own democratic island. [File: Chiang Ying-ying/AP]

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 that particular tour. but… I certainly expect we will have commitments and travel consistent 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 on Friday.



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