(CTN News) – Hundreds of Chinese military aircraft and naval ships headed for Taiwan on Friday, the same day that United States national security adviser Jake Sullivan met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in an effort to normalize relations between the two countries.
Between 6 a.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Saturday local time, China sent 33 military aircraft and six naval vessels to Taiwan, according to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry. A total of 13 planes crossed the Taiwan Strait.
After an ice-cold couple of years, the U.S. and China are trying to revive relations. The U.S. and China will launch a collaborative “Counter Narcotics Working Group” on Tuesday to address the fentanyl crisis, for example.
“Mr. Secretary Sullivan stressed during the meeting that although there is competition between the U.S. and the PRC, there is also cooperation,” said a senior administration official.
Cooperation may be complicated by China’s military moves over the past 24 hours.
In China’s precarious relationship with the U.S., Taiwan is a sensitive sticking point.
There has been discussion of the contentious issue at almost every U.S.-China meeting, including the high-profile talks between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping.
Sullivan and Wang discussed reopening military-to-military communications, curbing fentanyl flow, and mitigating artificial intelligence risks during their two-day meeting in Bangkok on Thursday and Friday.
In addition, Sullivan reiterated the U.S.’s commitment to maintaining sovereignty. Taiwan’s “reunification” with the mainland has repeatedly been rebuffed by China, which has reportedly expressed its intention to “rebuff” the U.S. position.
It comes at a time when senior administration officials describe “high tensions” between China and Taiwan.
Taiwan voters elected Lai Ching-te as the next Democratic Progressive Party president. China’s least favorite candidate was Lai because he supported status quo.
During that election, the U.S. prepared for China’s response.
In the U.S. government, there are always contingency discussions when tensions are high, a senior administration official said.
“No specifics, but we need to be prepared for anything, starting with no response and extending to higher levels.”