A delegation of former U.S. defense and security officials arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday, drawing ire from Beijing over interactions between the United States and the self-ruled island following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
U.S. President Joe Biden sent the delegation led by Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the island, showing that Taiwan-U.S. relations are "rock solid," Taiwan's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said at a press briefing.
But the visit triggered a strong reaction from Beijing, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin urging the United States to adhere to the "one China" principle and stop any form of official contact with Taiwan.
Wang added at a regular news conference in Beijing that the United States should "handle Taiwan-related issues prudently" to avoid seriously undermining China-U.S. relations as well as peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
The U.S. delegation's two-day visit comes as Russia launched an attack on Ukraine from multiple fronts last week, causing concern that Chinese President Xi Jinping might emulate his Russian counterpart's strategy and exploit the confusion to seize Taiwan.
Earlier Tuesday, Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang told reporters at the legislature that the visit by the high-level delegation underscores the significance of the self-ruled island's strategic location and the steadfast support of the United States for Taiwan.
The delegation members include Michele Flournoy, a former undersecretary of defense under the administration of President Barack Obama, and Meghan O'Sullivan, a former deputy national security adviser under President George W. Bush.
Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang said President Tsai Ing-wen will meet on Wednesday morning with the members of the delegation, the first such group of former officials sent by Biden to Taiwan since April 2021.
Separately, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to arrive in Taiwan on Wednesday for a four-day visit and will hold talks with Tsai, according to the Foreign Ministry.
China and Taiwan have been governed separately since they split in 1949 due to a civil war. Beijing regards the island as a renegade province to be reunified with the mainland by force if necessary.