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Former US secretary of defense-led delegation arrives in Taiwan

Delegation also includes former Italian presidential diplomatic advisor, Atlantic Council senior vice president

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Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. 

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.  (AP photo)

UPDATE: 18 07 2022: 12:24 p.m.: In a press release, the Office of the President Spokesperson Xavier Chang (張淳涵) was cited as saying President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) will meet with the delegation on Tuesday morning (July 19). Since President Tsai assumed office, the Atlantic Council has sent delegations to visit Taiwan in 2016, 2017, and 2018, making this trip the fourth.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) welcomed an Atlantic Council delegation led by former U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to Taiwan on Monday (July 18).

Also in the delegation are former diplomatic adviser to the president of Italy Stefano Stefanini and Atlantic Council Senior Vice President Barry Pavel. The three will remain in Taiwan until Thursday (July 21).

The delegation’s visit will consist of meetings with top officials, government departments, think tanks, and the business sector. The delegation will learn about the latest developments in Taiwan and discuss topics such as the security and economy in the Indo-Pacific region as well as Taiwan’s relationship with the U.S. and Europe.

In a press release, MOFA called Esper “Taiwan’s loyal friend” who openly supported Taiwan during his term as the U.S. secretary of defense. After leaving office, Esper continued to be concerned about peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

“After the Russo-Ukrainian war began, the international community became more vigilant and concerned about the direct threat from authoritarianism that Taiwan faces. Through this visit, MOFA hopes to deepen U.S. and European policymakers’ understanding of and support for Taiwan,” MOFA wrote.

The Atlantic Council is a nonpartisan think tank based in Washington, D.C. that seeks to reinforce trans-Atlantic policy research and collaboration.