Former top defense and security officials sent by U.S. President Joe Biden arrived in Taipei late Tuesday to shore up Taiwan's international support in the face of threats from China -- a visit that will be followed by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is set to land Wednesday evening.
Biden's delegation arrives as Taiwan has scaled up its alert level against potential threats from China amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"The mission is significant. It is a clear message to Taiwan -- government and people -- and to Beijing: 'The U.S. can deal with two issues at the same time and has not forgotten about Taiwan.' It will help Tsai pass the message to Taiwanese that Taiwan is not Ukraine," said a Western diplomat in the region who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Kelley Currie, a former ambassador in President Donald Trump's administration, pointed out that many former senior officials have visited Taiwan over the years with and without support from the U.S. government. "It's a very nice delegation, but there's nothing particularly remarkable about sending a bunch of private citizens to Taiwan, even private citizens like these," she told Nikkei Asia.
"The more significant acts from a substantive perspective are the freedom of navigation exercises and the steady presence of U.S. and other countries' vessels in and around the straits, arms sales packages and meaningful maintenance of official relations between current representatives of both governments," said Currie, now a senior adjunct fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington-based think tank.
Read the full story and more from Nikkei Asia.