Biden’s messengers tells Taiwan US will help deter ‘adventurous provocations’

Taipei: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has told emissaries visiting at US President Joe Biden’s request that the island would work with the United States to deter “adventurous manoeuvres and provocations” amid threats from Chinese military activities.

Former senior US officials, including former senator Chris Dodd and former deputy secretaries of state Richard Armitage and James Steinberg, were in Taipei on Thursday to signal Biden’s commitment to Taiwan and its democracy.

Tsai told the delegation at the Presidential Office that Chinese military activities in the region have threatened regional peace and stability.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, right, boards a guided-missile frigate in the northern port of Keelung, Taiwan, last month to thank personnel for their dedication to protect the island.Credit:AP

“We are 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 manoeuvres
and provocations,” Tsai said.

She vowed to continue to cooperate with the US to counter “cognitive warfare” and misinformation, but did not elaborate.

Dodd told Tsai the Biden administration would be Taiwan’s “reliable, trusted friend,” which would help the island expand its international space and support its investment in self-defence.

From left, former US senator Chris Dodd, former deputies secretary of state James Steinberg and Richard Armitage have their photo taken with Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu upon arrival in Taipei, Taiwan.Credit:AP

He added the was “stronger than ever” and that the visit was to reaffirm Biden’s commitment to the island.

Tsai also told the delegation that Taiwan looked forward to resuming trade talks with the US as soon as possible. Taipei has long sought a free trade deal with Washington.

Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue and a major source of contention with Washington, which is required by US law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.

Taiwan has complained over the last few months about almost daily missions by China’s air force near its air defence identification zone (ADIZ). Twenty-five Chinese aircraft, including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers, entered the zone on Monday in the largest reported incursion to date.

China announced on Tuesday it would begin five days of live-fire drills off a part of its coast facing Taiwan, which Taiwan’s Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said the country would pay close attention to.

“There’s some psychological impact, but don’t get too worked up about this. Everyone should have confidence in the armed forces,” he said.

The unofficial US visit, which a White House official called a “personal signal” of the President’s commitment to Chinese-claimed Taiwan, is further straining Sino-US relations.

China on Wednesday described its military exercises near Taiwan as “combat drills” and said the meeting of the US officials with Tsai would “only exacerbate the tense situation in
the Taiwan Strait”.


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