US President Joe Biden is dispatching a delegation of five former high-level military and national security officials to Taiwan to demonstrate his administration’s “rock-solid” support for the self-governed island, an administration official said on Monday. The “unofficial delegation” includes Michael Mullen, the former chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, and the Pentagon’s former policy chief, Michèle Flournoy, according to the official, who shared details of the trip on condition of anonymity. The delegation, expected to arrive in Taiwan on Tuesday and stay until Wednesday evening, plans to meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng and other senior officials, according to Reuters, which first reported the visit. The trip follows a recent pattern of US administrations directing or facilitating high-level delegations – generally made up of retired officials or serving lawmakers – to Taiwan, with which the US does not maintain official diplomatic relations. While it switched diplomatic ties from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, Washington is required by US law to continue supporting the island’s ability to defend itself, including through weapons sales. One of the Biden administration’s first foreign-policy moves was to roll out new diplomatic guidelines encouraging deeper engagement between the US and Taiwanese governments. Taiwan says ‘staunch friend’ Mike Pompeo will visit the island Beijing views Taiwan as a renegade province that must ultimately be brought under its own control, by force if necessary and regards such engagements – including delegations like that disclosed on Monday – as violations of its territorial sovereignty. Joining Mullen and Flournoy will be Meghan O’Sullivan, a former deputy national security adviser, and two former National Security Council senior directors for Asia, Mike Green and Evan Medeiros. “The selection of these five individuals sends an important signal about the bipartisan US commitment to Taiwan and its democracy and demonstrates that the Biden administration’s and the United States’ commitment to Taiwan remains rock solid,” the official said. Responding to news of the trip, Taiwan’s de facto envoy to the US, Bi-khim Hsiao, took to Twitter to welcome “this gesture of strong bipartisan support for Taiwan”. Welcoming this gesture of strong bipartisan support for Taiwan. https://t.co/ShWdHmkfUh — Bi-khim Hsiao 蕭美琴 (@bikhim) February 28, 2022 The trip follows two separate delegations of US lawmakers in November as well as a visit to Taiwan last April by US Senator Chris Dodd and the former deputy secretaries of state Richard Armitage and James Steinberg. China reacted angrily to those visits, decrying the November 25 trip by five members of the House of Representatives as a grave violation of the one-China principle and lodging a formal complaint with Washington. Monday’s delegation will hold its meetings shortly before former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits Taiwan later this week on his own for meetings with Tsai and the island’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu. Tsai promises to defend Taiwan democracy amid Ukraine crisis Pompeo, who served under former US President Donald Trump, will also give a speech at a government-funded think tank, Taiwan’s foreign ministry said. The visits come amid Biden administration concerns that China is monitoring its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a gauge of how it might react to heightened aggression against Taipei by Beijing, according to Bloomberg. Taiwan, meanwhile, has stepped up its own alert level while the crisis in Europe remains unresolved. Tsai stressed last week that Taiwan and Ukraine’s situations were fundamentally different, but she directed all government units to be “more vigilant against cognitive warfare” in the face of efforts by external forces to “manipulate the situation in Ukraine and affect the morale in Taiwan’s society”. Beijing continues to fly military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on a near-daily basis, including an incursion on Monday that saw six Chinese fighter jets and one anti-submarine surveillance aircraft enter the island’s southwestern ADIZ, according to Taiwan’s ministry of defence. As part of what it calls routine activity, the US sailed a warship through the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, in a move that Beijing called “provocative”.