The Pentagon's top China official, Michael Chase, has visited Taiwan, causing tensions between Beijing and Washington. The trip, which was first reported by the Financial Times, was declined to be commented on by both Taiwan's Defense Ministry and the Pentagon.
Pentagon's Stance on Taiwan
A Pentagon spokesperson stated that their support and defense relationship with Taiwan remains aligned against the current threat posed by the People's Republic of China. However, the spokesperson declined to comment on specific operations.
Taiwan Defense Minister's Statement
Taiwan Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said he needed to be more certain about Michael Chase's visit report. He welcomed "those who are friendly to us" but declined to give further details until he received formal notification.
Senior U.S. Defense Official's Visit
Michael Chase would be the most senior U.S. defense official to visit Taiwan since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted U.S. government travel.
China's Stance on Taiwan
China views Taiwan as its territory and has repeatedly demanded that foreign officials not visit it. The country's foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, reiterated that the government was firmly opposed to official interactions and military ties between the United States and Taiwan.
Although the United States does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it is the island's most important arms supplier, and the two have a close security relationship. In 2020, a two-star Navy admiral overseeing U.S. military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region visited Taiwan unannounced.