- Amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a delegation of former American officials visited Taiwan to “reassure” the island of the United States’ “commitments.”
- The Ukraine crisis has raised concerns of a Chinese threat in Taiwan, which prompted President Tsai Ing-wen to raise its military alert level last week.
- In response to the visit, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said whoever the U.S. sends to support Taiwan “is bound to fail.”
- After meeting the U.S. delegation, Tsai announced setting up a donation account for Ukraine and pledged a month’s salary, along with two other officials.
China has downplayed U.S. support for Taiwan after a delegation of former Washington officials arrived in Taipei on Tuesday.
The two-day visit came amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which prompted Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen to raise its military alert level against “foreign forces intending to manipulate the situation” and “affect the morale of Taiwanese society.”
The Biden-appointed delegation was led by Mike Mullen, who served as one-time chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. He was joined by former national security advisers Evan Medeiros and Mike Green and former senior defense officials Michele Flournoy and Meghan O’Sullivan, as per Newsweek.
Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said the visit showed “the importance both of the Taiwan-U.S. relationship and Taiwan’s position,” as well as the United States’ strong support for the island, according to Reuters. Last week, Su announced that Taiwan was joining “democratic countries” in imposing sanctions on Russia.
“The will of the Chinese people to defend our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is unwavering. Whoever the United States sends to show so-called support for Taiwan will be futile,” Wang told reporters.
The official also responded to news of a U.S. warship sailing through the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, which the U.S. military called “routine activity.”
“If the United States is trying to threaten and pressure China with this, then we need to tell them that in the face of the Great Wall of steel forged by 1.4 billion Chinese people, any military deterrence is but scrap metal,” Wang said.
On Wednesday, the U.S. delegation met Tsai, who expressed solidarity with Ukraine ahead of their correspondence.
“The Ukrainian people’s commitment to protect freedom and democracy and their fearless dedication to defending their country have been met with deep empathy from the people of Taiwan, as we too stand on the front line of the battle for democracy,” Tsai said before the meeting, according to CNN.
“History teaches us if we turn a blind eye to military aggression, we only worsen the threats to ourselves,” she added. “Now is the time for all democracies around the world to come together.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has drawn comparisons to China and Taiwan’s situation. Emily Feng, an NPR correspondent in Beijing, said there’s “not a lot of similarity,” but there is “a common thread of territory.”
“With Russia’s pretext for invasion, their rationale was that there’s this pro-Western state right on its borders, Ukraine, that has very strong cultural ties with Russia. And if you look at Taiwan, it’s also this pro-Western state right next to China and which shares these overlapping cultural ties with China,” Feng told NPR’s Morning Edition.
Mullen said he hopes their visit will reassure Taiwan of the U.S. government’s “commitments.”
“We come to Taiwan at a very difficult and critical moment in world history. As President Biden has said, democracy is facing sustained and alarming challenges, most recently in Ukraine. Now more than ever, democracy needs champions,” Mullen said.
After Wednesday’s meeting, Tsai said Taiwan will create a donation account for Ukraine. She also pledged, along with Su and Vice President William Lai, a month’s salary to be donated to aid Ukrainian refugees.
Featured Image via Formosa TV English News