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Biden is sending former top defense officials on a trip to Taiwan.


Former US defense officials heading to Taiwan amid China tensions

Feb 28, 2022


According to a senior Biden administration official who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity, President Joe Biden is sending five former top defense officials on a trip to Taiwan this week to “demonstrate our continued robust support for Taiwan.” The delegation is expected to arrive in Taiwan Tuesday afternoon and leave Wednesday afternoon. The defense officials making up the delegation are:

  • Mike Mullen: Joint Chiefs of Staff chair under former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama
  • Meghan O’Sullivan: Deputy national security advisor under former President George W. Bush
  • Michele Flournoy: Undersecretary of defense under former President Obama
  • Mike Green: National Security Council senior director for Asia under former President George W. Bush
  • Evan Medeiros: National Security Council senior director for Asia under former President Obama

“The selection of these five individuals sends an important signal about the bipartisan U.S. commitment to Taiwan and its democracy, and demonstrates that the Biden administration’s broader commitment to Taiwan remains rock solid,” the official told Reuters. “The United States will maintain the capacity to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security or the social or economic system of the people of Taiwan.”

The defense officials’ trip will include meetings with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng and other senior officials. According to Taiwan News, the country’s ministry of foreign affairs issued a statement Monday night saying it “extends a warm welcome to the important delegation led by the former Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen to visit Taiwan.”

The trip comes at an especially tense time for relations between Taiwan and China, who claims Taiwan as its own. The nation has stepped up its alert level, wary of China taking advantage of the West’s focus on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to show aggression towards Taiwan.

The defense officials’ trip to Taiwan is expected to heighten U.S. tensions with China. On Monday, China’s Foreign Minister called on the U.S. to takes steps to improved diplomatic ties between the two nations.

“Once again, China and the U.S. need to make a historical choice on whether to continue the peaceful co-existence or to take to conflicts and confrontations, whether to insist on opening and cooperation and to return to separation and opposition,” Wang Yi said. “We urge the U.S. to reinstate a reasonable and pragmatic China policy and to work with China to put into action the common understandings between the presidents… in a bid to put China-U.S. relations back on track at an early date.”

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