The US is hosting high-level Taiwanese officials this week to discuss the island’s defense following the virtual summit between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to reports in Taiwanese media.
According to the reports, at the request of Washington, the US and Taiwan are merging their annual Political and Military Dialogue and Defense Review Talks into a single meeting that will take place Tuesday and Wednesday. The talks were scheduled before the date of the Biden-Xi summit was confirmed.
The Taiwanese delegation includes Taiwan’s deputy defense minister, deputy foreign minister, and President Tsai Ing-wen’s national security council’s deputy. Representing the US side are the State Department’s assistant secretary of the bureau of political-military affairs, Jessica Lewis, and Ely Ratner, who was appointed as a special China advisor for Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
According to Taiwan News, the officials are expected to discuss the next round of US weapons Taiwan will purchase. The talks will cover other aspects of US-Taiwan military cooperation. In recent weeks, Taiwan has detailed the extent of that cooperation and confirmed for the first time since 1979 the presence of US troops on the island.
During the virtual summit, Biden and Xi both reaffirmed the need to follow the one-China principle. President Biden told reporters on Tuesday night that the US is not looking to change its policy on Taiwan and is following the Taiwan Relations Act, which outlines Washington’s policy towards Taipei.
But the US has taken steps in recent years to boost diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and it’s clear that Washington’s attitude towards the island is changing. The US currently doesn’t have a commitment to defend Taiwan if China invades, but hawks in Congress want that to change. Some Republicans and Democrats are even ready to give Bide war powers that would authorize him to intervene in the event of a Chinese invasion.