US visitors to Taiwan are a welcome show of support for the country
The visit comes a fortnight after the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nany Pelosi visited the island. That in turn led to Beijing launching military drills around Taiwan.
These American visitors have enraged the communist leaders of China, but the US delegations are most welcome.
China strongly objects to foreign governments having contact with Taiwan, or to international organisations recognising it. There are many cowardly politicians, governments and organisations that are willing to comply with this bullying.
Taiwan faces both economic blackmail from the dictators in Beijing and actual invasion. It is far from clear that in the latter scenario that the United States would stand by its commitments to help protect the island.
China is well aware of its increasingly global reach – when President Jiang Zemin visited the UK in 1999, a mere decade after the Chinese massacre of students at Tiananmen Square, the then government minister John Prescott led fellow cabinet ministers in a rendition of ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow’.
When George Osborne, the Tory chancellor, took office in 2010 he was an influential advocate of closer trade links with China.
More recently, governments across the west have been timid in their response to China’s systematic stripping of Hong Kong of free speech and democracy. However, all is not lost. Politics in the UK has grown more realistic about China and more wary of the security threat it poses.
Meanwhile support for Ukraine against Russia has been much stronger than pundits expected.
China is a ruthless and brutally repressive nation. Taiwan is one of the most open, dynamic democracies and economies on earth. It needs our unequivocal moral and political support and potentially our military aid.