mandag 23. november 2020

US Navy admiral visits Taiwan as Trump admin solidifies ties before exit

A senior United States naval official visited Taiwan Sunday, as the outgoing Trump administration continued to strengthen ties with the self-ruled island in its last weeks, further riling Beijing and potentially helping to shape how Joe Biden deals with this issue as president.

Sources identified the official as Navy Rear Admiral Michael Studeman, the top military intelligence official at US Indo-Pacific command. Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it welcomed the visit but would not give any details "since this itinerary has not been made public."

Under President Donald Trump, Washington has ramped up engagement with Taipei, especially during the last 12 months. The Trump administration has authorized billions of dollars of arms sales to the self-governed island and, in August, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar became most senior US official to visit Taiwan in decades. Improved ties with Taiwan came as the US increased pressure on China and sought to build an anti-Beijing alliance in the region, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in particular taking a hardline on the issue.