WASHINGTON—Former US senator Chris Dodd and former deputy secretaries of state Richard Armitage and James Steinberg headed to Taiwan on Tuesday at President Joe Biden's request as a signal of the US commitment to Taiwan and its democracy, the White House said.
A White House statement said the dispatch of what it called an "unofficial" delegation comes as the United States and Taiwan mark the 42nd anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, for which Biden voted when he was a U.S. senator.
The delegation will meet with senior Taiwanese officials and followed "a longstanding bipartisan tradition of U.S. administrations sending high-level, unofficial delegations to Taiwan," the statement said.
"The selection of these three individuals – senior statesmen who are longtime friends of Taiwan and personally close with President Biden – sends an important signal about the U.S. commitment to Taiwan and its democracy," it said.
The announcement came after the State Department said on Friday it was issuing new guidelines that will enable U.S. officials to meet more freely with officials from Taiwan, a move that deepens relations with Taipei amid stepped-up Chinese military activity around the island, which China claims as its own.
"The United States stands with friends and allies across the Indo-Pacific to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values – that includes deepening our ties with Taiwan," the White House statement said.
"The United States is committed to engaging Taiwan and deepening our cooperation on shared interests in line with the U.S. 'one China' policy," it said. (Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Michael Martina; Editing by Franklin Paul and Jonathan Oatis)