US sends former military officials to Taiwan over fears that Beijing may invade during Ukraine crisis
US sends former military officials to Taiwan over fears that Beijing may invade during Ukraine crisis

US sends former military officials to Taiwan over fears that Beijing may invade during Ukraine crisis

An unofficial US delegation to Taiwan will be left by former Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen this week

An unofficial US delegation to Taiwan will be left by former Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen this week

On Monday, the Biden administration sent senior senior defense officials to Taiwan in a demonstration of support while the world wonders about Russia invasion of Ukraine could trigger a Chinese invasion of the autonomous island.

The visit will be led by Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to a senior administration official.

It comes after months of Chinese aggression targeting Taiwan, including nine Chinese planes that entered its air defense zone on the day Russian troops invaded Ukraine.

At the same time, President Tsai Ing-wen ordered Taiwan’s military and intelligence security apparatus on high alert, amid warnings that China could feel Western weakness after failing to prevent Russia’s attack.

Kurt Campbell, Biden’s Asia Tsar, described the delegation as ‘unofficial’ during an online discussion with the German Marshall Fund on Monday.

Beijing claims the autonomous island as its own and has promised to bring it under Chinese control, by force if necessary.

Beijing’s ambassador to Washington increased tensions further in January by warning that the two superpowers could go to war if the United States encouraged the island’s independence.

The attack on Ukraine has added another dimension at a time when relations between Beijing and Moscow were reported to be at a historic high. Last week, it appeared that China was throwing Russia a sanction-cutting lifeline by lifting import restrictions on wheat.

Taiwanese army soldiers during a contingency exercise, amid escalating tensions between Taiwan and China in January.  The government of Taipei is keeping an eye on the fallout from Ukraine

Taiwanese army soldiers during a contingency exercise, amid escalating tensions between Taiwan and China in January. The government of Taipei is keeping an eye on the fallout from Ukraine

Beijing claims the autonomous island of Taiwan as its own territory and has promised to take it by force if necessary.  It has escalated aggressive flights with warplanes in recent months

Beijing claims the autonomous island of Taiwan as its own territory and has promised to take it by force if necessary. It has escalated aggressive flights with warplanes in recent months

The remains of the Russian Army's off-road infantry mobility vehicles Tigr-M (Tiger) on a road in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Monday.  The invasion has increased fears that China could move towards Taiwan

The remains of the Russian Army’s off-road infantry mobility vehicles Tigr-M (Tiger) on a road in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Monday. The invasion has increased fears that China could move towards Taiwan

Soldiers in Kiev, Ukraine, while forces on Monday fight Russian attackers who have closed the Ukrainian capital but have not achieved the quick victory that Moscow expected

Soldiers in Kiev, Ukraine, while forces on Monday fight Russian attackers who have closed the Ukrainian capital but have not achieved the quick victory that Moscow expected

A Taiwanese corvette is deployed during a contingency improvement exercise, amid escalating tensions between Taiwan and China, in Taiwan

A Taiwanese corvette is deployed during a contingency improvement exercise, amid escalating tensions between Taiwan and China, in Taiwan

The U.S. team arrives Tuesday, according to Reuters, which was the first to report the news, and will be led by Mullen, a retired naval admiral who was the highest-ranking military officer in the administration of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Meghan O’Sullivan, a former deputy national security adviser, and Michele Flournoy, a former secretary of defense under Obama, are also part of the delegation.

And two former senior directors of the National Security Council for Asia, Mike Green and Evan Medeiros, will also take on the trip, which aims to demonstrate continued support for Taiwan.

“The selection of these five individuals sends an important signal of the United States’ bipartisan commitment to Taiwan and its democracy and shows that the Biden administration’s broader commitment to Taiwan remains rock solid,” said the senior administration official.

Details emerged four days after Russian troops crossed the border into Ukraine, and nine Chinese jets buzzed Taiwanese airspace – a larger number than usual intrusions.

The number of aircraft involved was far from the last major entry – 39 Chinese aircraft on January 23 – and since then, such bypasses have been sporadic with far fewer aircraft.

The ministry said the latest mission involved eight Chinese J-16 fighters and a Y-8 reconnaissance aircraft flying over an area northeast of the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands at the upper end of the South China Sea.

Taiwan said eight Chinese J-16 fighter jets flew over an area northeast of the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands at the upper end of the South China Sea

Taiwan said eight Chinese J-16 fighter jets flew over an area northeast of the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands at the upper end of the South China Sea

Taiwan said it distorted interceptors to counter the threat of eight Chinese J-16 fighters and a Y-8 reconnaissance aircraft flying over an area northeast of the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands at the upper end of the South China Sea.

Taipei has cautiously seen the fallout from Ukraine.

“The principle of self-determination cannot be erased by force,” said Taiwanese Vice President Lai Ching-te.

Diplomats said the delegation was evidence that Russian actions had prompted Washington, which under Biden has increased its focus on the Indo-Pacific region, to strengthen relations.

“The overall feeling is that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has triggered a seismic shift in geopolitics. It does not undermine the Indo-Pacific efforts – it reinforces them, “said a senior Western diplomat.

“We want to see the United States double the relationship inside and outside the region.”

The delegation is expected to arrive in Taiwan on Tuesday afternoon and stay until Wednesday evening, where they plan to meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng and other senior officials.

Taiwan’s presidential office confirmed the visit and the meeting with Tsai, saying that its timing during the Ukraine crisis showed that the Taiwan-US ties were ‘rock solid’.

The US official declined to say whether the timing of the visit was influenced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

However, some elements of Chinese state-controlled media have welcomed the connection between Taiwan and Ukraine.

Last week, the Global Times used an editorial to warn Taiwan’s ruling party not to move too close to Washington.

“The US performance in Ukraine should remind proponents of ‘Taiwan’s independence’: You can not trust Washington,” it said.

Critics of Biden in the United States have also raised questions.

On Sunday, Donald Trump Jr. said it all stemmed from Biden’s hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan, which encouraged Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

“You think Vladimir Putin did not see it and said, ‘Excellent.’ You think Xi in China did not say, ‘Hey, no matter what my timeline for taking over Taiwan was: hurry it up,'” he said. .

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