Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought fresh attention to China’s threat to annex Taiwan by force. Taiwanese scholars told The Epoch Times that the U.S. delegation who visited Taiwan this week protected the self-governing democratic island.
Beijing’s recent launch of two military exercises made the atmosphere across the Taiwan Strait—a 100-mile wide body of water that separates China and Taiwan—more intense.
One military drill occurred from Feb. 27 to March 1 in the South China Sea, and the other from Feb. 27 thru March 13 in the Yellow Sea between East China and the Korean Peninsula.
Under such intensity, the U.S delegation’s visit to Taiwan, had a significant impact, the scholars commented.
The first delegation was led by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen. The group arrived at Taipei on March 1, and stayed in Taiwan until March 2.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with the delegation. Tsai’s office said the group was dispatched by U.S. President Joe Biden, and their visit would permit “an in-depth exchange of views on Taiwan-U.S. cooperation issues in various fields.”
The other members of the delegation were former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy, former White House Deputy National Security Adviser Meghan O’Sullivan, former Senior Director for Asia at the White House National Security Council Michael Green, and former senior director of Asian affairs at the White House National Security Council Evan Medeiros.
On the day the Mullen-led delegation left, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife started their visit that ends on March 5, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Pompeo’s visit displays fully U.S. bipartisan backing for its ‘rock solid’ support” for Taiwan and the close friendship between Taiwan and the U.S., the foreign ministry said.
Pompeo led the Central Intelligence Agency from 2017 to 2018, before he was promoted to be secretary of state. On this Taiwan trip, he met with President Tsai.
Some Taiwanese scholars believe that the U.S. delegations’ visit brings peace to the Taiwan Strait, although Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin claimed on March 1 that it is “futile for the U.S. to send anyone to demonstrate its so-called support for Taiwan.”
“[Sending delegations to Taiwan] is the quickest way to show the interaction between the U.S. and Taiwan. It shows that the United States is taking care of the safety of Taiwan. Taiwan is in a key strategic position in the Indo-Pacific region,” Doong Sy-chi, Taiwan Thinktank deputy executive-general, told the Chinese-language Epoch Times on March 1.
Doong said that all members of the Mullen-led delegation are former senior security or national defense-related officials, in which “[the Biden administration] emphasizes to maintain the stability and peace [in the Taiwan strait].”
Yen Chien-Fa, a professor and director of the international cooperation department at Chien Hsin University of Science and Technology, said in a phone interview on Tuesday: “[The U.S. delegations’ visit] shows that Taiwan is the core of America’s Indo-Pacific strategy.”
Su Tzu-yun, Director of the Institute for National Defense and Security Research Military Strategy and Industry in Taiwan, told the Chinese-language Epoch Times that the Taiwan Strait is an important water for global freight shipping. To protect the independence of Taiwan or to keep the strait as an international water, the United States is defending the world.
“The strongest opponent that the Chinese regime faces [in the Taiwan Strait] is the United States. China’s military exercises in the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea are training the military’s response when confronted by the U.S. and Japanese troops,” Lee Cheng-hsiu, a senior assistant research fellow at Taiwan’s National Policy Foundation, told The Epoch Times in a phone interview.
Both Su and Lee said they didn’t think the Chinese regime would annex Taiwan at this time.
“Taiwan isn’t Ukraine. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a ground war. Any war in the Taiwan Strait will be naval and air battles. The Chinese regime has to assemble its troops to cross the sea, which will easily be defeated,” Su said.
Luo Ya contributed to this report.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.