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Biden sends delegation to Chinese Taipei 'to signal personal support'

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 14 April 2021 7:54 AM

US President Joe Biden has dispatched a delegation to Chinese Taipei to "signal" his "personal" commitment to the self-ruled island territory, despite Beijing's opposition to any formal ties between US officials and those from Taipei.

Former US Senator Chris Dodd and former deputy secretaries of state Richard Armitage and James Steinberg traveled to Taipei on Tuesday at Biden's request as a "personal signal" of his commitment to the island, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing an unnamed senior Biden administration official.

"The selection of these three individuals — senior statesmen who are longtime friends of Taiwan and personally close with President Biden — sends an important signal about the US commitment to Taiwan and its democracy," the official said.

He noted that the dispatch of the "unofficial" delegation also marked the 42nd anniversary of the ratification of the Taiwan Relations Act, for which Biden voted when he was a Senator.

The development came days after the US State Department declared on Friday that it was issuing new guidelines to enable American officials to meet more freely with officials from Chinese Taipei.

Reuters said the dispatch of the delegation followed "a long-standing bipartisan tradition of US administrations sending high-level, unofficial delegations to Taiwan."

China has sovereignty over Chinese Taipei; and under the "one China" policy, almost all world countries — including the United States — recognize that sovereignty. But successive US administrations have been courting officials in Taipei in an attempted affront to Beijing and in violation of the United States' own stated policy.

"The United States is committed to engaging Taiwan and deepening our cooperation on shared interests in line with the US 'one-China' policy," the Biden administration official claimed. He did not explain.

The official said the delegation's visit was not linked to US climate envoy John Kerry's visit to Shanghai this week. The climate talks with Beijing, he said, "shouldn't be linked with other areas of the relationship."

"It's certainly not to the diminishment of any of our concerns about Beijing's behavior. Our unofficial engagement with Taiwan… should stand on its own," he added.

The official also asserted that Chinese Taipei and the preservation of the status quo across the Taiwan Strait would be part of the upcoming talks with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga when he visits Washington for talks with Biden later this week.

Chinese Taipei's presidential office also announced on Wednesday that President Tsai Ing-wen would meet with the visiting American delegation on Thursday morning.

Chinese Taipei remains China's most sensitive territorial issue and a major bone of contention with Washington.

China opposes any official US ties with Chinese Taipei

Reacting to the development, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, reiterated Beijing's strong opposition to any sort of official ties between Washington and Taipei.

Ma stressed during a press briefing on Wednesday that three China-US joint communiqués point to Washington's solid commitment to the Chinese side on adherence to the "one China" principle.

The official called on the US to abide by the "one China" principle and properly handle the Chinese Taipei issue.

Ma also said that the Chinese military's "combat drills" in the Taiwan Strait were essential because of the existing security situation and to safeguard national security.

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