Monday, March 1, 2021

Taiwan visit will stoke tensions, Beijing warns US

The visit signifies a further step in the Trump administration’s campaign to strengthen relations with the self-governing island that China claims as part of its territory.

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A high-ranking US State Department official will arrive in Taiwan today for a three-day visit that has already drawn a warning from China.

US Undersecretary of State Keith Krach is scheduled to meet Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and other senior officials, the Taipei foreign ministry said on Thursday.

Krach is the highest-level State Department official to visit Taiwan in decades.

The US is the island’s most important ally and provider of defence equipment.

The visit signifies a further step in the Trump administration’s campaign to strengthen relations with the self-governing island that China claims as part of its territory.

Krach is expected to attend a banquet hosted by Tsai on Friday and hold discussions on a new policy for economic and commercial dialogue, reports AP.

He will also attend a memorial service for Lee Teng-hui, the former president who led the island’s transition to democracy and who died at age 97 in July.

Krach’s visit has already been condemned by Beijing, which opposes official interactions of any sort between other countries and Taiwan.

On Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin urged the US to “stop all forms of official exchanges with Taiwan, so as to avoid serious damage to China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”.

Krach’s visit is certain to worsen mounting tensions between Washington and Beijing over the Covid-19 pandemic, trade, technology, Hong Kong and the South China Sea.

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