Sources recognized the official as Navy Rear Admiral Michael Studeman, the highest navy intelligence official at US Indo-Pacific command. Taiwan’s Ministry of International Affairs mentioned it welcomed such visits however wouldn’t give any particulars on the precise journey “since this itinerary has not been made public.”
Below President Donald Trump, Washington has ramped up engagement with Taipei, particularly over the last 12 months. The Trump administration has approved billions of {dollars} of arms gross sales to the self-governed island and, in August, Well being and Human Companies Secretary Alex Azar turned most senior US official to go to Taiwan in many years.

Improved ties with Taiwan got here as the US elevated stress on China and sought to construct an anti-Beijing alliance within the area, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo specifically taking a hardline on the difficulty.

In one other transfer certain to anger China’s leaders, the US additionally welcomed the top of the Tibetan authorities in exile to the White Home over the weekend, although he didn’t meet with senior officers.
Beijing regards Taiwan as a part of its territory, although it has by no means been managed by the Communist Occasion and the island has been ruled individually for the reason that finish of the Chinese language civil struggle in 1949. Chinese language President Xi has pledged to “reunite” Taiwan with mainland China, by power if essential, and up to date months have seen more and more aggressive strikes by China’s navy.

On Friday, Chinese language International Ministry Zhao Lijian mentioned Beijing “firmly opposes all types of official exchanges between the US and Taiwan … so as to not hurt peace and stability throughout the Taiwan Strait and Sino-US cooperation in necessary areas.”

Zhao was talking forward of a collection of high-level conferences between US and Taiwanese officers underneath a brand new financial dialogue. Over the weekend, they signed a lot of agreements on future cooperation in areas of well being, tech and safety, although the assembly stopped wanting agreeing a brand new commerce deal.

“Our financial partnership with Taiwan — primarily based on a shared dedication to free markets, rule of legislation, and transparency — is simply getting stronger,” US State Division spokesman Cale Brown mentioned on Twitter.

As officers have been assembly, the US Navy sailed a warship via the Taiwan Strait, the primary such transit for the reason that election, which the Navy mentioned “demonstrates the US dedication to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Whereas US ships routinely transit the strait, China views the strategic waterway separating it from Taiwan as a precedence space and sometimes shadows international vessels as they sail via.

Shaping Biden’s coverage

Even as President Trump has largely receded from public engagements within the wake of his election loss to Biden, Pompeo has remained extremely lively, touring world wide and sustaining stress on China, which he has described as the “central risk” to the US.
In a speech given every week after the election, Pompeo mentioned dealing with the “China problem” means “no extra unlawful claims within the South China Sea, no extra coercion and co-optation of American companies, no extra consulates used as dens of spies, no extra stealing of mental property, and no extra ignoring basic human rights violations. And the (Communist) get together’s atrocities in Xinjiang, Tibet, and elsewhere is not going to be tolerated.”
Writing on Twitter Saturday, Pompeo hailed the financial conferences between the US and Taiwan, saying the 2 governments “are robust companions in defending freedom, advancing financial ties, and selling our shared democratic values.”
How precisely a Biden presidency will have interaction with China stays to be seen — many analysts count on the brand new administration to take care of a tough line in some areas, whereas avoiding the kind of fiery rhetoric and posturing that has characterised Trump’s time in workplace.

Through the Democratic primaries in February, Biden referred to Chinese language President Xi Jinping as a “thug,” and mentioned that Beijing needed to “play by the foundations.” A Biden marketing campaign advert in June accused Trump of getting “performed” by China.

The renewed give attention to China is clear within the Democratic Occasion platform doc, which was launched in August 2020. Over the past presidential marketing campaign in 2016 the doc made solely seven references to China. This yr’s model had greater than 22.

“Democrats shall be clear, robust, and constant in pushing again the place we’ve profound financial, safety, and human rights considerations concerning the actions of China’s authorities,” the 2020 platform mentioned.

Biden additionally has a historical past of help for Taiwan, each as a senator and since leaving workplace. In January, he tweeted congratulations to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen when she received reelection.

That has not stopped some China hawks, as effectively as Chinese language dissidents and supporters of Hong Kong and Taiwan independence, fearing a Biden administration may take a softer line with Beijing. Latest strikes by Pompeo and others may very well be supposed to power the incoming administration’s hand, making it harder to reverse sure insurance policies as soon as in workplace.

The go to of Lobsang Sangay, head of the India-based Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), to the White Home on Saturday is one other such step. No chief of the Tibetan authorities in exile has visited the constructing in 60 years, the CTA mentioned in an announcement.

Pompeo in July accused Beijing of violating human rights in Tibet, pointing to elevated restrictions on faith, language and tradition within the area, which has been managed by China since 1950. Washington underneath Trump has urged “significant autonomy” for Tibet, even as Beijing has denounced such statements as encouraging “splittism.”

In its assertion, the CTA mentioned the logic for denying its officers entry to the White Home and the US State Division “was that the US authorities doesn’t acknowledge the Tibetan authorities in exile.”

“As we speak’s go to quantities to an acknowledgment of each the democratic system of the CTA and its political head,” the assertion added. “(This) unprecedented assembly maybe will set an optimistic tone for CTA participation with US officers and be extra formalized within the coming years.”

MeSlop’s Ben Westcott and Isaac Yee contributed reporting.