A day after the high-level US defence delegation led by former senior US defence and security officials reached Taipei amid growing hostilities between Russia and Ukraine, the Chinese government has warned the US of any misadventure in the region.
According to top sources, the top-level delegation was sent by US President Joe Biden following the growing trust deficit between the US and its close allies after the former refused any military assistance to Ukraine during the ongoing war with Russia. China has meanwhile denounced the trip.
The visit, led by the one-time chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, comes at a time when Taiwan has stepped up its alert level, wary of China taking advantage of a distracted West to move against it.
Beijing claims the democratically governed island as its own and has vowed to bring it under Chinese control, by force if necessary. Mullen, a retired Navy admiral who served as the top US military officer under former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, is being accompanied by Meghan O'Sullivan, a former deputy national security advisor under Bush, and Michele Flournoy, a former undersecretary of defence under Obama.
Two former National Security Council senior directors for Asia, Mike Green and Evan Medeiros, are also on the trip, which is intended to “demonstrate our continued robust support for Taiwan,” a US official said.
China describes Taiwan as the most sensitive and important issue in its ties with the United States, and any high-level interactions upset Beijing. “The will of the Chinese people to defend our country's sovereignty and territorial integrity is immovable. The Whoever United States sends to show support for Taiwan is bound to fail,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said of the visit.
Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang told reporters earlier on Tuesday that the trip showed “the importance both of the Taiwan-U.S. relationship and Taiwan's position” as well as the staunch U.S. support for the island.