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Taiwan welcomes former U.S. officials

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Taiwan on Wednesday hailed former U.S. officials, the first visit by a U.S. delegation since the Biden administration took office in January.

The delegation, which includes former U.S. Democratic senator Chris Dodd and former deputy secretaries of state Richard Armitage and James Steinberg, arrived in Taipei late Wednesday.

After the charter flight landed at Taipei Songshan Airport, the guests were welcomed by Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and Brent Christensen, director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which acts as the de facto U.S. embassy.

During a three-day visit to Taiwan amid tension with China, the former U.S. officials were scheduled to meet senior Taiwan officials.

President Tsai Ing-wen plans to receive the U.S. delegation on Thursday.

Presidential Office spokesperson Xavier Chang expressed Taiwan’s appreciation to the administration, adding that the close friendship between President Joe Biden and Dodd was widely known.

In a statement, Chang said the delegation “fully shows the United States’ cross-party support for Taiwan.’’

According to Chang, Dodd strongly backs the 1979 legislation that defines U.S. relations with Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties.

Chang said Armitage and Steinberg were friendly to Taiwan and had previously visited.

Steinberg served under the Democratic Obama administration and Armitage under Republican George W. Bush.

Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said the visit of the unofficial delegation aims to deliver the strong friendship and support from the U.S.

Taiwan has had an independent government since 1949, but China considers the democratic island part of its territory.

In 1979, Washington cut diplomatic ties with Taipei and built relations with Beijing. (Dpa/NAN)

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