Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has sought to bolster military exchanges with the United States in the face of continued provocations from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). On Tuesday, she stated, “Going forward, Taiwan will step up cooperation with the United States and other democratic partners to confront such global challenges as authoritarian expansionism and climate change.” Tsai also expressed that her nation “would continue to bolster military exchanges” with the United States, though she did not go into detail.
Glad to welcome the bipartisan delegation led by U.S. Representative Ro Khanna, Tsai tweeted on February 21, 2023. The purpose of the Taiwan visit was to deepen economic and technology cooperation, as well as defense ties with the self-governing island.
The CCP has escalated pressure on Taiwan, which it views as a breakaway province that must be reunited with mainland China by all means necessary. In response, Taiwan’s military detected 11 Chinese aircraft and three vessels on Tuesday, with two of the aircraft entering Taiwan’s airspace.
The United States is a major arms supplier to Taiwan despite having no formal diplomatic ties. It maintains a “one China” policy, which formally recognizes—but doesn’t endorse—the CCP’s position on the matter. Although the United States doesn’t maintain formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan and has sworn to not unilaterally champion the island’s independence, it’s legally bound by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 to provide Taiwan with the arms necessary for self-defense.
Tsai has ruled out armed confrontation with China, saying that her government is willing to engage with the CCP to reach a “mutually agreeable arrangement.” The CCP launched military drills near Taiwan after a controversial visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in August 2022, firing multiple ballistic missiles over Taiwan and imposing a blockade of its international sea.
U.S. President Joe Biden has said that Washington will defend Taiwan if China attacks, but the U.S. policy on Taiwan remains unchanged. CIA Director William Burns said on February 2 that the United States is aware “as a matter of intelligence” that Chinese leader Xi Jinping has ordered his military to be prepared to invade Taiwan by 2027.
Overall, Taiwan is seeking to bolster military exchanges with the United States in the face of the CCP’s continued provocations against the self-ruled island.