By Kevin Liptak, CNN
(CNN) — President Joe Biden will dispatch an unofficial delegation, including former senior US officials, to Taiwan following its election this week, according to senior administration officials, as the White House closely watches the vote on the self-governing island.
The delegation has the potential to spark anger from China at a moment when Biden is seeking to stabilize relations, though US officials said the move is in keeping with longstanding practice of deploying former senior officials following Taiwanese elections.
As of Wednesday evening, the exact composition of the delegation was still being determined, officials said.
Taiwan holds elections on Saturday, and the US has already been in touch with officials in Taipei about potential Chinese interference.
Still, the White House retains “full confidence” in the democratic processes in Taiwan, a senior administration official said, and will uphold longstanding US policy toward the island no matter the victor.
The unofficial US delegation sent to the island afterward will convey the importance of ties between the US and Taiwan and reiterate Washington’s “One China” policy, the senior administration official said.
It won’t be the first time Biden or previous US presidents have sent an unofficial delegation comprised of former senior officials to Taiwan.
Previous delegations have included former Cabinet secretaries, former deputy secretaries of state, former national security advisers, former assistant secretaries, former members of Congress, former governors, former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs, and a former White House chief of staff.
Because of the complicated approach toward Taiwan, Biden would not send an official delegation comprised of current officials.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said China opposes any official exchanges between the US and Taiwan, and warned the US not to interfere in Taiwan’s upcoming presidential election in any way.
“Taiwan’s election is China’s internal affairs. No external forces should interfere in the election. China strongly condemns and opposes the US’ irresponsible remarks,” Mao said Thursday.
China has reacted fiercely to past delegations of US lawmakers to Taiwan, including when then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island in 2022.
US officials would not speculate on what Beijing’s reaction to the elections in Taiwan would be, but noted that the administration — all the way up to Biden — has reiterated the importance of free and fair elections to their Chinese counterparts.
This story has been updated with additional information.
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