President Joe Biden is sending a team of former senior defense and security officials Monday to Taiwan amid heightened tensions following China’s vocal support of Russia’s invasion into Ukraine, according to Reuters.
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, former Deputy National Security Advisor under former President George W. Bush, Meghan O’Sullivan, and former undersecretary of defense under former President Barack Obama, Michele Flournoy, are being sent to the island, Reuters reported, citing an anonymous official. Two former National Security Council senior directors for Asia, Mike Green and Evan Medeiros, are reportedly also joining the delegation.
The delegation is expected to arrive Tuesday in Taiwan to meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and other senior officials to “demonstrate our continued robust support for Taiwan,” according to Reuters.
“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 anonymous official reportedly told Reuters.
The official reportedly said that “any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific.” (RELATED: Chinese Ambassador Says War ‘Likely’ With US If Taiwan Continues Toward Independence)
“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.”
Ing-wen’s office reportedly confirmed the visit to Reuters, noting it’s a show of the “rock solid” ties between the U.S. and Taiwan amidst the Ukraine invasion.
Ing-wen expressed support for Ukraine in late January, saying that Taiwan “empathize[s] with Ukraine’s situation” since it “has faced military threats and intimidation from China for a long time.”
China, meanwhile, has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion into Ukraine, instead expressing support for “peace,” according to The Associated Press.
“We still hope that the parties concerned will not shut the door to peace and engage instead in dialogue and consultation and prevent the situation from further escalating,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying reportedly said.
China flew nine People’s Liberation Army planes over Taiwan in an apparent test Thursday of the resolve of both Taiwan and its Western allies. A U.S. warship then sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, with China calling the move “provocative,” according to Reuters.