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US to send delegation to Taiwan inauguration: official

US Congressional support for Taiwan 'extremely strong', says lawmaker

The United States will send a delegation of former officials to Taiwan next week for the inauguration of president-elect Lai Ching-te, a US official said, warning China against any retaliation.

The team attending the ceremony on May 20 includes President Joe Biden’s former National Economic Council director, Brian Deese, as well as Richard Armitage, a former deputy secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration.

Sending former officials was in keeping with more than 20 years of US practice when it came to Taiwan, which China claims as its territory, the senior US administration official said.

“Beijing will be the provocateur should it choose to respond with additional military pressure or coercion,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

“We’ve been clear in our communications with Beijing that the US sending delegations, unofficial former USG (US government) delegations, is a long-standing practice.”

During a visit to China in April, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken asked Beijing to avoid “provocative” measures during Lai’s inauguration.

China, which has said it will not renounce the use of force to bring self-ruled Taiwan under its control, has labeled Lai a “dangerous separatist.”

Beijing reacted with fury when then-US House speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island in 2022, suspending military talks with Washington until just over a month ago.

Officially, the United States and China are rebuilding ties following a tension-easing meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in California last year.

But the world’s two biggest economies remain deeply at odds over Taiwan, trade, technology and the Ukraine war.

Biden on Tuesday unveiled steep tariff hikes on Chinese imports, including electric vehicles and semiconductors, blasting Beijing for “cheating” rather than competing on trade.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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