A Chinese delegation visited Taiwan, the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, announced the Taipei chamber, which is led by the Kuomintang, the historic Chinese nationalist party that has been in opposition to the national government since 2016, but in power in the capital.
Six Chinese representatives met with the mayor, Chiang Wan-na, in a visit that joins a series of recent talks between Beijing and Taipei as Taiwan prepares for presidential elections in 2024.
Chinese and Taiwanese officials “exchanged ideas on municipal issues such as culture, sports and tourism,” according to a statement from the Taipei City Council released on Monday about Saturday’s visit.
Taiwan’s policy-setting body on China, the Mainland Issues Council, said the visit was approved as long as it was discreet and added that it hoped the visit would promote “healthy exchanges”.
Because of political tension between Taiwan and China, even before the pandemic, exchanges were limited.
But two weeks ago, the vice president of the Kuomintang, Andrew Hsia, had made a nine-day visit to China, where he asked for more direct flights between Taiwan and China and called for the lifting of import restrictions – Beijing banned the import of fruit and fish from Taiwan in retaliation for a visit to the island in August by then-Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.
Military cooperation with US
On the contrary, the President, Tsai Ing-wen, said, during a meeting with a US delegation, that Taiwan will increase military cooperation with the United States to deal with “authoritarian expansionism”. Tsai did not, however, provide further details.
On the American side, Ro Khanna, the Democratic congressman leading the bipartisan delegation, explained that the visa was intended to strengthen both economic and security ties.
Like most countries, the United States has no formal relationship with Taiwan, but it is the island’s biggest arms supplier, which is a source of tension with China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory.
As Beijing has increased pressure for Taipei to accept Chinese sovereignty, the bond between Taiwan and the US has tightened.
Last week, the Pentagon’s top official for China, Michael Chase, went to Taiwan, according to the Financial Times. Chase is the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China and is the most senior US Administration official to visit Taipei in the last four years, after Heino Klinck, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia who, in turn, he was the highest Pentagon official to visit Taiwan in the last four decades.