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China Threatening Regional Peace and Stability, Taiwan Tells Joe Biden’s Delegation

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The Chinese military’s frequent operations around Taiwan threaten peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific, Taiwan’s president said in an address to a delegation of former U.S. officials visiting Taipei at Joe Biden’s request.

The island nation has experienced a marked escalation in intimidation by the People’s Liberation Army since Tsai Ing-wen first took office in 2016.

In a speech welcoming the envoys on Thursday, she said Taiwan was ready to work with the U.S. to safeguard peace in the region.

The unofficial diplomatic assignment led by former Senator Chris Dodd and accompanied by Richard Armitage and James Steinberg—former deputy heads of the State Department under George W. Bush and Barack Obama respectively—is the Biden administration’s first trip to the Chinese-claimed island.

Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen hosted the group at the Presidential Office in Taipei, where she said the visit “reflects the bipartisan support for Taiwan in the United States.”

President Biden’s commitment to strengthening ties with Taiwan began on the campaign trail, she noted. His administration has since followed through with public statements about the U.S.’ “rock-solid” support for Taipei.

Tsai said last week’s new State Department guidelines—encouraging more interaction between officials from the U.S. and Taiwan—and the Coast Guard Working Group established in March were both signs of “substantive progress” in bilateral ties.

Relations between Taipei and Washington are considered informal and guided by, among other policies, the Taiwan Relations Act.

It was supported by Dodd and Biden—then still a senator—and celebrates its 42nd anniversary this year.

Taiwan and the U.S. are now partnering in key areas of mutual interest such as supply chain security and 5G technology, said Tsai.

Tsai also committed to cooperation with the Biden administration on climate change.

However, she reserved special gratitude for the administration’s emphasis on cross-strait peace and Taiwan’s security—subjects Biden is expected to raise with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga when the pair meet at the White House on Friday.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Biden administration for reiterating on numerous occasions the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” Tsai said.

“Recently, China has frequently dispatched military vessels and aircraft to carry out maneuvers in the waters and airspace surrounding Taiwan. These actions alter the status quo in the Indo-Pacific and threaten regional peace and stability,” the president said.

“As an active contributor to the international community, Taiwan is very willing to work with like-minded countries, including the United States, to jointly safeguard the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific and deter adventurous maneuvers and provocations.”

Tsai said she hoped to continue sharing with the United States and others Taiwan’s “rich experience” in combating “cognitive warfare” and disinformation. She also expressed anticipation at the resumption of trade talks with Washington.

Dodd, who served as senator for Connecticut for 30 years, told Tsai that the U.S.-Taiwan partnership was “stronger than ever.” He added that Taiwan would find the Biden administration to be a “reliable, trusted friend.”

“I’m confident this administration will help you expand your international space and support your investments in self-defense,” he said.

Armitage said Biden did not send the former officials to Taiwan in order to “vex” China. Instead, the group was there “to support the continuation of this great democracy, which you all have built, which you are now leading,” he told Tsai.

On the morning of the delegation’s arrival on Wednesday, China announced it would be conducting a series of live-fire drills along its southwestern coastline from April 15 through 20.

At a legislative hearing in Taipei on Thursday, Taiwan’s Deputy Defense Minister Chang Che-ping said the six-day PLA exercises in two locations in the Taiwan Strait was a direct response to Biden’s emissaries visiting Taipei.

The country’s Minister of Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng would be meeting the delegation, which includes U.S. military affairs personnel, Chang told lawmakers.

In its daily press briefing on the same day, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed the “highly sensitive nature of the Taiwan question.”

Its spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, said the U.S. was “sending the wrong signal to Taiwan independence forces” on the island, which the Chinese government has vowed to “reunify”—if necessary by force.

The U.S. envoys, who will reportedly meet Taiwanese lawmakers from all major parties, are scheduled to fly out early on Friday, Taipei time.

The Liberty Buzz has contacted Taiwan’s foreign ministry for further comment.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd attend a meeting at the Presidential Office in Taipei on April 15, 2021.
ANN WANG / POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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