Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen met a delegation of former US officials, including former Senator Chris Dodd and former Deputy Secretaries of State Richard Armitage and James Steinberg, on Thursday. The president of the island, which Beijing considers an integral part of the country, condemned China’s military activities off its coast, expressing eagerness to work with Washington to deter Beijing.
Tsai also vowed to continue working with Washington to counter “cognitive warfare” and misinformation, allegedly spread by Beijing, but did not elaborate on the matter. Former Senator Dodd said the US’ partnership with Taiwan is “stronger than ever,” promising the Biden administration would be a “reliable, trusted friend.”
The unofficial visit to the island is a “personal signal” from US President Joe Biden to show his “commitment to Taiwan and its democracy,” a senior White House official told Reuters.
The visit comes amid new live-fire drills by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA), announced by Beijing on Wednesday, off the part of its coast facing Taiwan. The island’s military said it would closely monitor the maneuvers.
“There’s some psychological impact, but don’t get too worked up about this. Everyone should have confidence in the armed forces,” Taiwan Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng stated.
In recent weeks, tensions have soared over Taiwan, with Washington actively seeking to reinforce its military cooperation with Taiwan and sending a warship to the Taiwan Strait. These efforts have been repeatedly criticized by Beijing as violating the One-China policy and amounting to meddling in the country’s internal affairs.
China has also repeatedly staged surveillance flights and naval drills in the Taiwan Strait. On Monday, Taiwan’s military said 25 Chinese warplanes entered the island’s defense identification zone in the largest flyover yet.
China has promised to continue holding military drills around the island regularly, saying they are needed in order to protect national sovereignty and dissuade secessionists in Taiwan.
“The PLA’s military exercises and training operations are sending a signal that our determination to curb Taiwan independence and Taiwan-US collusion is not just talk,” a spokesperson for Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office told a news conference on Wednesday.
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