Arizona's Republican Governor Doug Ducey Tuesday landed in Taipei in yet another US delegation trip enraging Beijing over direct ties between sovereign countries and the island the Asian giant deems a rogue province.
During his three-day visit, Ducey is to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, in addition to other top local officials. He will also deliver a keynote address to a gathering of American and Taiwanese business leaders, particularly in the semiconductor, battery, and electric vehicle industries.
“Arizona has excellent relationships with Taiwan and the Republic of Korea,” said Ducey. The goal of this trade mission is to take these relationships to the next level, he added. Bilateral trade between Arizona and Taiwan totaled US$ 1.92 billion last year.
US Senator Marsha Blackburn visited Taiwan last week in what was the fourth visit by an American politician this month. The Republican from Tennessee said that we will not be bullied by Beijing while asserting that the US remains steadfast in preserving freedom around the globe.
Given Taiwan's increasing contacts with foreign countries that could boost its autonomy, Beijing has upped its military deployments in the Taiwan Strait area.
Ducey's trip is expected to further exacerbate tensions between Beijing and Washington that were set off by a spate of visits to the island by various US delegations, starting with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her entourage on August 2-3. Senator Edward Markey led a delegation of US lawmakers to the island on August 14-15. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and Blackburn followed with their own visits.
China said the United States was trying to disrupt peace in the Taiwan Strait after two US missile cruisers the USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday.
“Troops remain on high alert and are ready at any time to thwart any provocation,” warned Chinese Army Eastern Command spokesman Shi Yie, criticizing the US for “publicizing” its operation.
Meanwhile, the head of Taiwan's China policymaking Mainland Affairs Council (MAC,) Chiu Tai-san, will visit the United States in early September, it was announced. China opposes these meetings, saying they are provocative and a violation of Beijing's sovereign integrity.
Chiu will address the Brookings Institution on September 6 and deliver the opening remarks the next day at a seminar jointly organized by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and the Taiwan-based Prospect Foundation, according to a news release issued by MAC, it was reported.
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said China was trying to turn up the temperature to a degree where the military escalation in the Taiwan Strait becomes a new normal.