Taiwan’s leader seeks stronger military exchanges with US amid Chinese provocations

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen is looking to step up military ties with the United States in the face of continued provocations by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) against Taiwan.

“Going forward, Taiwan will strengthen cooperation with the United States and other democratic partners to confront global challenges such as authoritarian expansionism and climate change,” said Tsai. Said on tuesday.

Tsai made the remarks during a meeting with the US delegation in Taipei, just days after Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Chase released the statement. unannounced visit To Taiwan on February 17th.

Taiwan’s leader said her country “continues to strengthen military exchanges” with the United States, but did not elaborate on what these military exchanges entail.

“Together, we can continue to uphold the values ​​of democracy and freedom and contribute to the post-pandemic economic recovery,” she added. her office.

Law Khanna, who led the US bipartisan delegation, said the purpose of the Taiwan visit was to deepen economic and technical cooperation as well as defense ties with the autonomous islands.

“We are here to affirm the values ​​that the United States and Taiwan share, our commitment to democracy, and our commitment to freedom,” the president’s office said.

The meeting came at a time when the Chinese Communist Party escalated pressure on Taiwan. The CCP sees it as a secession region that must be reintegrated with mainland China by some means.

Chinese invasions of Taiwan occur almost daily.Tuesday, Taiwan Army was detected Eleven Chinese aircraft and three ships, two of which entered Taiwan airspace.

Chase reportedly arrived in Taiwan on February 17, becoming the top US defense official known to have visited the island since 2019.Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China condemned The United States has demanded that all forms of official exchanges with Taiwan cease.

The United States is a major arms supplier to Taiwan despite having no formal diplomatic ties. China maintains a “one China” policy and officially recognizes, but does not endorse, the CCP’s position on the issue.

The United States does not maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan and has pledged not to unilaterally defend Taiwan’s independence. legally binding.

Taiwan denies confrontation

Tsai has previously denied the possibility of armed conflict with China and said the government was ready to work with the Chinese Communist Party to reach a “mutually agreeable deal”.

In her October 2022 national address, Tsai said it was “regrettable” that China had escalated military threats, diplomatic pressure and trade obstruction to strip Taiwan of its sovereignty.

“I want to make it clear to the Beijing authorities that armed conflict is absolutely not an option for the two countries,” Tsai said.

“Only by respecting the Taiwanese people’s commitment to our sovereignty, democracy and freedom can we lay the foundation for resuming constructive exchanges across the Taiwan Strait,” she added. rice field.

The Chinese Communist Party launched military exercises near Taiwan in August 2022 following a controversial visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), firing multiple ballistic missiles over Taiwan, closed international waters.

Chinese missile
The missile will be launched from an unspecified location in China on August 4, 2022. China’s military has launched missiles into waters near Taiwan as part of exercises scheduled for August 4. (CCTV via AP)

Tsai said Taiwan is willing to negotiate with China to restore peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, but must not compromise the freedom and democracy of the Taiwanese people.

CIA Director William Burns said on February 2 that he was aware of “information” that Chinese President Xi Jinping had ordered the military to be ready to invade Taiwan by 2027.

Burns said Xi’s military orders may not represent the timeline for the Chinese Communist Party’s invasion of Taiwan, but they show his “seriousness” in pursuing this goal.

“The CIA’s assessment cannot underestimate President Xi Jinping’s Taiwan ambitions,” Burns said at an event at Georgetown University in Washington.

US President Joe Biden has said Washington will defend Taiwan if China attacks, but US policy towards Taiwan has not changed.

“We agreed to and signed the One China policy and all intended agreements made out of it. [Taiwan] It could be taken by force … that’s not appropriate,” Biden said in May. Press conference in Tokyo on February 23, 2022.

Andrew Thornebrooke and Reuters contributed to this report.