Ex-US officials arriving in Taiwan amid China tensions
A former U.S. senator and two ex-State Department officials will arrive in Taiwan on Wednesday at a time of tense relations with China, Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said.
A former US senator and two ex-State Department officials will arrive in Taiwan on Wednesday at a time of tense relations with China, Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said.
Chris Dodd, a Democratic senator from Connecticut from 1981 to 2011, is coming with two former deputy secretaries of state, James Steinberg from the Democratic Obama administration and Richard Armitage, who served under Republican President George W. Bush.
The ministry did not immediately provide any details of their visit or its purpose.
Taiwan is a self-governing island that is claimed by China. The US has repeatedly expressed concern about Chinese military activity near Taiwan including frequent flights in and out of the area by military aircraft.
Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou said the government welcomed the delegation from President Joe Biden's administration, whose visit “conveys the US’s firm friendship and support for Taiwan."
China proposes unification with Taiwan under the “one country, two systems" model it has enforced in the former British colony of Hong Kong, virtually eliminating political opposition and strongly restricting freedom of speech.
A large majority of Taiwanese favor the current system of de facto independence while maintaining close economic ties with China.
The US has only unofficial relations with Taiwan but is bound under American law to ensure the island can defend itself from attacks and to treat all threats against it as a matter of “grave concern."
Under new legislation, the US has boosted visits by Cabinet-level officials to the island and has agreed to sell upgraded missile systems, fighter jets and other defensive weaponry.
China severed formal relations with the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen over her refusal to acknowledge Beijing's claim over Taiwan, and has brought increasing military, diplomatic and economic pressure on her government.
Taiwan's democratic system should not be a “barrier to unification," Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson for the Cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office, said at a biweekly new conference Wednesday.