US urged to stop military, official exchanges with Taiwan island
Published: Feb 18, 2023 12:02 AM
A view of the Taipei city, Taiwan island Photo: Unsplash

A view of the Taipei city, Taiwan island Photo: Unsplash

China urged the US to fulfill its top leader's commitment on not supporting "Taiwan independence" separatists and to stop official and military exchanges in any form with the island of Taiwan and to stop meddling with the Taiwan question or creating new factors that put pressure on the cross-Straits situation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Friday.

Wang's remarks came after the Financial Times reported that the Pentagon's top China official, Michael Chase, plans to visit the island of Taiwan in the coming days and said Chase would be the most senior US defense official to visit the island since 2019.

China's stance on opposing official exchanges between the US and the island of Taiwan is consistent and clear, said Wang, urging the US to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués.

The report on Chase's visit to Taiwan came when Republicans on Congress' foreign affairs and armed services committees asked US President Joe Biden to propose as much as $2 billion in military aid for the island when he releases his fiscal 2024 budget request, which is expected next month, the US media reported on Friday.

A letter signed by Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Jim Risch and obtained by Defense News asked Biden to increase the State Department's overall Foreign Military Financing budget in order to accommodate additional grants for the island to purchase US defense equipment.

Analysts warned that as China-US relations are in a state of sensitivity due to the US' overreaction to the deviated Chinese airship, any further provocation, especially concerning China's core interests like the Taiwan question, could further endanger bilateral relations.

Both Republicans and Democrats have tried to use the Taiwan question to contain China. The GOP-controlled House is now pushing further military aid to the island of Taiwan with its "power of the purse," Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times.

The Republicans' letter aims to push Biden to be more aggressive on the Taiwan question and Biden's prudence on the question may incur strong criticism from the GOP. This may lead to more irrational handling of the Taiwan question and less room for change, Li said.

Aside from imposing pressure on Biden, the Republicans also want the letter to incite an atmosphere of support for the island of Taiwan and to use public opinion against the Democrats, said Li.

The Republicans are exerting efforts in taking over the steering wheel from the White House and the provocation will affect China-US relations, analysts said.

The Taiwan question is an important issue within China-US relations. However, the US' current policy is split. The White House has its strategy while Congress seems to adopt another, resulting in mixed signals from the US, said Li. The US should practice prudence whether in arms sales or official exchanges with the island, as its actions could further strain bilateral relations, Li noted.