TAIPEI (Reuters) – Two former senior U.S. officials will arrive in Taiwan on Sunday for post-election negotiations and highlight the U.S. government’s “long-standing interest” in peace across the Taiwan Strait, the embassy said de facto American in Taipei.
Lai Ching-te of Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the presidential election on Saturday and will take office on May 20.
In a show of support for the government, a senior administration official said last week that President Joe Biden planned to send an unofficial delegation to the island claimed by China.
The Biden administration fears that the election, transition and new administration will worsen the conflict with Beijing.
The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which manages relations in the absence of formal diplomatic ties, announced visits by former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and former Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg .
“As we did previously after Taiwan’s presidential election, the US government has requested former senior officials to visit Taiwan in a private capacity,” AIT said, adding that its US-based president -United, Laura Rosenberger, would accompany him.
“On January 15, they will meet with a number of leading political figures and convey the American people’s congratulations to Taiwan on its successful elections, support for Taiwan’s continued prosperity and growth, and our long-standing interest for peace and stability between the two sides of the strait.”
Two sources familiar with the trip, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, told Reuters that such a post-election visit by former senior U.S. officials was common and had not nothing special.
Before the vote, China had repeatedly called Lai a dangerous separatist. China has intensified its military and political pressure against Taiwan over the past four years.
Lai and current President Tsai Ing-wen reject Beijing’s sovereignty claims and say only the Taiwanese people can decide their future. Both proposed negotiations with China, but were rebuffed.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; editing by Michael Perry and Christian Schmollinger)
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