The Pentagon's top China official, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, has arrived in Taiwan, two sources familiar with matter said on Friday, beginning a visit that could exacerbate tensions between Beijing and Washington.

Iran PressAmerica: Both Taiwan's Defense Ministry and the Pentagon declined to comment on the trip, which was first reported by the Financial Times.

"We don't have a comment on specific operations … but I would highlight that our support for, and defense relationship with, Taiwan remains aligned against the current threat posed by the People's Republic of China," a Pentagon spokesperson said.

The sources offered no further details on Chase's travel, and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Speaking earlier, Taiwan Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said he was "not very certain" about a report that the trip would take place.

Chiu, asked whether the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Chase would be coming, said "those who are friendly to us" are very welcome, he told reporters on the sidelines of a parliament session.

"I won't explain the details," he said. "I won't explain until I get formal notification."

Chase would be the most senior US defense official known to have visited the island since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic widely impacted US government travel.

China and the United States are involved in a bitter dispute over the U.S. military's shooting down of what it called a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina this month. China says the balloon was for monitoring weather.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin reiterated that the government was firmly opposed to official interactions and military ties between the United States and Taiwan.

China staged war games near Taiwan last August to express its anger at a Taipei visit by then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Although the United States, like most countries, has no 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 US military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region made an unannounced visit to Taiwan.

Separately, a US bipartisan delegation is heading to Taiwan this weekend to bolster ties between Silicon Valley and Taiwan's semiconductor industry, according to an announcement by Rep. Ro Khanna, a member of the U.S. House China select committee.

Rep. Tony Gonzales, a Texas Republican, and Democratic Reps. Jake Auchincloss of Massachusetts and Jonathan Jackson of Illinois are also part of the delegation. Auchincloss and Khanna are members of the new House select committee on China.

What the United States has always tried to do is to constitute provocation in Asia and it is fond of meddlesome in the Asian region's affairs. U.S. security policy in the Asia-Pacific region directly affects China’s security interests.

The US has a record of grossly interfering in China’s domestic affairs on issues concerning China’s core interests, including Taiwan. It seeks to undermine China’s security and stability by, both overtly and covertly, condoning and supporting separatist activities.

Despite its claims that it doesn’t seek to block China from its role as a major power, nor to stop it from growing its economy, the US is actually deploying its domestic and external resources to unscrupulously contain and suppress China.

The US has also tried to hold joint drills with South Korea over years. This issue also provokes North Korea to launch a number of missiles to show its defence capability. 

It is the US that invented “coercive diplomacy” and excels at coercing countries. Over the years, by imposing economic blockade, unilateral sanctions and other means, the US has practiced coercive diplomacy around the world.

Since the end of World War II, the United States has either launched or participated in many wars overseas, including the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Afghan War and the Iraq War. Those wars caused extremely severe civilian casualties and property losses, and lead to colossal humanitarian disasters. Since 2001, US wars and military operations in the name of counterterrorism have killed more than 900,000 people, about 335,000 of whom were civilians, injured millions and displaced tens of millions.


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