The Pentagon's top China official, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Chase, has arrived in Taiwan for a visit, the Financial Times reported on Friday citing a source, on a trip that could exacerbate tension between Beijing and Washington.
Taiwan's defense and foreign ministries did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and neither did the Pentagon.
Speaking earlier on Friday, Taiwan Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said he was "not very certain" about a report that the trip would take place.
Chiu, asked whether Chase would be coming, said "those who are friendly to us" are very welcome.
"But so far it is not very certain," he told reporters on the sidelines of a parliament session.
"I won't explain the details," he said. "I won't explain until I get formal notification."
Chase would be the most senior US defense official to visit the island since 2019.
The balloon affair
China and the United States are involved in a bitter dispute over the US military's shooting down of what it called a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina this month. China says the balloon was for monitoring weather.
China, which views Taiwan as its own territory, has repeatedly demanded that foreign officials not visit the democratically governed island.
Speaking in Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin reiterated that the government was firmly opposed to official interactions and military ties between the United States and Taiwan.
China staged war games near Taiwan last August to express its anger at a Taipei visit by then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Although the United States, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it is the island's most important arms supplier and the two have a close security relationship, with US defense officials on occasion visiting.
In 2020, a two-star Navy admiral overseeing US military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region made an unannounced visit to Taiwan.