Trump Sends U.S. Navy Admiral To Taiwan To Cement Ties Prior To Inauguration


Further reinforcing his administration’s successful realignment of U.S. policy against China, President Trump has reportedly just sent Navy Rear Admiral Michael Studeman, the top military intelligence official at the U.S. Indo-Pacific command on an unannounced visit to America’s island ally Taiwan. This visit shows that no matter what the final results of the U.S. presidential election, Trump intends to solidify America’s pro-Taiwan stance, and strategy to counter China.

Trump is the first U.S. president in 40 years to aggressively challenge China’s belligerence and expansionism, steadily developing a U.S.-led global anti-China strategic effort. This effort has been very clear in its focus on strongly backing Taiwan against increasing Chinese bullying and military threats.

In just the past 12 months, the Trump administration has authorized billions of dollars of arms sales to the self-governed island, including offensive missiles for the first time in 40 years. Trump has also ramped up U.S. naval drills and Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPS) in the contested South China Sea, as well as beefing up defense ties with the “Quad” the coalition of Japan, Australia, India, and the U.S. to challenge Chinese maritime expansion.

Visits by senior officials play a big part in Trump’s strategy. This summer Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar became the most senior U.S. official to visit Taiwan in decades.

China was furious when Azar visited Taipei in August, followed by U.S. Undersecretary of State Keith Krach in September, sending warplanes near the island on both occasions.

In response to the visit by Admiral Studeman this weekend, Reuters reported that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China “resolutely opposes” any form of exchanges between U.S. and Taiwanese officials or the two having military relations.

China urges the United States to fully recognise the extreme sensitivity of the Taiwan issue, Zhao told a news briefing.

“The Chinese side will, according to how the situation develops, make a legitimate and necessary response,” he said, without elaborating.

Adding to the high-level U.S. counter-China pressure, CNN notes that “In another move sure to anger China’s leaders, the US also welcomed the head of the Tibetan government in exile to the White House over the weekend.”

Lobsang Sangay, head of the India-based Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) visited the White House on Saturday. According to a CTA statement, no leader of the Tibetan government in exile has visited the building in over half a century.

China hawks myself included along with Chinese democratic dissidents and supporters of a free Hong Kong and Taiwan, fear a possible Biden administration could take a softer line with Beijing.

Many see these recent Trump moves as a way to cement these hardline policies and make it more difficult for another administration to radically reverse course.


Paul Crespo

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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Keith Clark
Keith Clark
1 month ago

President Trump is their only hope.
Biden will take the cash payment from China just like he always does.

Craig Murphy
Craig Murphy
1 month ago

Good. I hope the U.S. gives the Republic of China all means necessary to defend itself against a Chinese invasion, including, but not limited to, means for cutting the string of that Sword of Damocles, the Three Gorges Dam, China built for itself.

fabien
fabien
1 month ago

The more arms we send to Taiwan the more destruction they will incur. One day China will tell Taiwan; you’re mine. With ca 28 million people, what can they do? The UK didn’t send its army to save HK and we will not send our army to die in Taiwan. Why? Because China has a valid claim on Taiwan like Russia has a valid claim on the Crimean peninsula. Our only claim is our values, which I’m afraid are now more marketing than reality.

lilij
lilij
1 month ago

#HELLNOWUHANJOE!

Tom
Tom
1 month ago

It will be too late before people who voted Democrat understand the absolute tragedy they have now permitted. Suddenly if you ask who you voted for in this election 99% will tell you ‘Trump’. Liars just like their entire Party.

Jamie
Jamie
1 month ago

As one pissed off Patriot, I strongly recommend we recognize Taiwan once and for all!


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