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A person passing a Taiwan flag in Taipei on April 11. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A delegation comprised of former Sen. Chris Dodd and former Deputy Secretaries of State Richard Armitage and James Steinberg left for Taiwan on Tuesday at President Biden's request as tensions rise between the self-ruled island nation and China, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: A White House official told Reuters that the "unofficial" delegation is intended as a “personal signal” of Biden's commitment to Taiwan.

Of note: The trip also comes as the U.S. and Taiwan mark the 42nd anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, which in part committed the U.S. to maintaining the island's defensive capabilities.

  • Biden voted for the act when he served as U.S. senator.

The big picture: The Biden administration has concluded that China "is flirting with the idea of seizing control of Taiwan as President Xi Jinping becomes more willing to take risks to boost his legacy," the Financial Times reports.

  • That would force the U.S. to decide whether to go to war with China to defend an implicit ally.
  • The Department of State last Friday issued new guidelines "to encourage U.S. government engagement with Taiwan that reflects our deepening unofficial relationship."

China has repeatedly flown military aircraft into Taiwan's airspace as part of military exercises. The Chinese government has claimed the exercises are meant to show its determination to defend the island.

Go deeper

Apr 13, 2021 - World

Taiwan reports a record 25 China warplanes entering its airspace

China's J-10 fighter jets during a flight demonstration in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai. Photo: May Tse/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

China's government has sent 25 military jets into Taiwan airspace, the self-governed island's Ministry of National Defense said.

Why it matters: Monday's deployment of 14 J-16 and four J-10 fighters, four H-6K bombers, two Y-8 anti-sub warfare aircraft and one KJ-500 aircraft marks the biggest breach of Taiwan's air defense identification zone on record, according to the island's defense ministry.

Apr 13, 2021 - World

Senate committee prepares to vote on sweeping bill to counter China

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is preparing to vote on a 280-page bipartisan bill that aims to counter the Chinese Communist Party's global influence.

Why it matters: The bill marks a culmination of years of growing concerns over the rise of an increasingly authoritarian China. It would allocate hundreds of millions of dollars to a raft of new initiatives aimed at helping the U.S. succeed in long-term ideological, military, economic and technological competition.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

In photos: Dozens dead as Israel and Hamas intensify aerial bombardments

People gather at the site of a collapsed building in the aftermath of Israeli air strikes on Gaza City on May 11. Photo: Mahmud Hams / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images

At least 35 Palestinians and five Israelis have been killed as fighting between Israel's military and Hamas entered a third day, per Reuters.

The big picture: The worst aerial exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas since 2014 come after escalating violence in Jerusalem that injured hundreds of Palestinians and several Israeli police officers during protests over the planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes.