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.

Both Taiwan’s Defence Ministry and Pentagon declined to comment.

“We don’t have a comment on specific operations, engagements, or training, but I would highlight that our support for, and defence relationship with, Taiwan remains aligned against the current threat posed by the People’s Republic of China,” a Pentagon spokesperson said.

Speaking earlier, 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 U.S. defence official to visit the island since 2019.

China, which views Taiwan as its own territory, has repeatedly demanded that foreign officials not visit the democratically governed island.

China and the United States are involved in a bitter dispute over the U.S. 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.

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-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.