The US and Taiwan are holding a “sensitive meeting” on political and military cooperation on Wednesday evening. The US State Department has already made the schedule of the meeting public, apparently to provoke China.
A report in the South China Morning Post states the meeting will be held online by Washington on Wednesday evening ( 7.30 am on Thursday in Taipei). US Assistant Secretary of State for Political and Military Affairs Clarke Cooper is taking part in the meeting.
Taipei has not yet revealed who is representing the country in the talks with the US due to objections from Beijing.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said on Wednesday that Taiwan and the US have maintained various levels of communication channels on a pluralistic agenda and on issues of mutual concern.
She said that the two sides have kept the communication channels open in order to strengthen their cooperation in political, economic, security, and other areas.
The SCMP report states that officials from the foreign and defense ministries were expected to attend the videoconference focusing on regional developments, US-Taiwan military cooperation, and arms sales. It is not known yet whether the two sides would be signing any defense or regional cooperation agreements or not.
China has strongly condemned the US-Taiwan dialogue. During a press conference, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that the US move has seriously violated the ‘one-China’ policy and the China-US joint communique.
The spokesperson urged the US to “stop its official exchange and military contact with Taiwan, lest it should further harm China-U.S. relations and cross-straits peace and stability”.
The “closed-door” dialogue comes two months after the first US-Taiwan Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue, held in November 2020, to bolster ties between Washington and Taipei. The talks were held between US Undersecretary of State Keith Krach and Taiwanese minister John Deng, with attendants from the American Institute in Taipei. The Taiwan government had joined the dialogue virtually.
Taiwan Conducts Live-Fire Drills
Taiwan Army’s 269th Mechanized Infantry Brigade conducted a military exercise on Tuesday. The army fired guns from its tanks throughout the night in Pingtung County in southern Taiwan, an exercise aimed at improving nighttime command and coordination.
As per Taiwan News, the drills included a “simulation of enemy forces occupying the estuary of a river with the Taiwanese military working to dislodge and repel them”. The use of various armored vehicles was aimed at strengthening the soldiers’ battlefield experience, the military said.
— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) January 6, 2021
Beijing claims Taiwan to be a part of mainland China and is resolute to use “force if necessary”. It has actively objected to the US’ increasing cooperation with the island nation. Meanwhile, China has been increasing its aggression against Taiwan.
Chinese aircraft including Y-8 ASW and Y-8 EW entered Taiwan’s southwest Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on January 6, Taiwan’s defense ministry said.