A US congressional delegation has arrived in Taiwan days after China staged military drills on the island to retaliate against the House speaker. Meeting with Nancy Pelosi.
According to Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry, a five-member delegation led by Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen and attend a banquet hosted by Foreign Minister Joseph Wu during the visit.
The American Institute in Taiwan said US politicians will discuss “US-Taiwan relations, regional security, trade and investment, global supply chains, climate change and other important issues of mutual interest”.
Taiwan welcomed the delegation’s visit as another sign of the warming ties between Taipei and Washington. “The Ministry of External Affairs extends its sincere welcome [to the delegation]”, the ministry said in a statement. “As China continues to escalate tensions in the region, the US Congress A heavyweight delegation has again been organized to visit Taiwan, showing friendship undaunted by China’s threats and threats and underlining America’s strong support for Taiwan.”
Other members of the delegation are Democratic members John Garamendi and Alan Lowenthal of California and Don Beyer of Virginia, and Republican Representative Aumua Amata Coleman Radeweghen of American Samoa.
China’s embassy in Washington said on Sunday that “members of the US Congress should act in accordance with the US government’s one-China policy” and argued that the latest visit by the congressman “proves once again that the US does not want to see stability across the Taiwan Strait. Leave no stone unturned to interfere in China’s internal affairs.”
China considers Taiwan its own territory, which it will one day take over by force if necessary. For a week after Pelosi’s visit this month, he sent warships, missiles and jets into the waters and skies around the island. Pelosi was the highest-ranking elected US official to visit Taiwan in decades.
Taiwan has accused China of using her visit as an excuse to kickstart drills that would allow it to rehearse an invasion. He trained himself to defend against Chinese invasion of his main island. China scaled back its drills but said it would continue patrolling the Taiwan Strait.
In its daily update, Taiwan’s defense ministry said on Sunday it had detected 22 Chinese aircraft and six ships around the strait. Of those, 11 planes crossed the Central Line, an unofficial demarcation between Taiwan and China that Beijing does not recognize.
Taiwan’s presidential office said the group would meet with Tsai on Monday morning. “Especially at a time when China is increasing tensions with military exercises in the Taiwan Strait and in the region, Marke, who is leading the delegation visiting Taiwan, has once again demonstrated the United States Congress’ strong support for Taiwan,” it said.
Markey’s office said the Taiwan lawmaker would “reaffirm the United States’ support for Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act, the US-China Joint Communications and the Six Promises, and promote stability and peace across the Taiwan Strait.”
The group will “meet with elected leaders and members of the private sector to discuss shared interests, including reducing tensions in the Taiwan Strait and expanding economic cooperation, including investment in semiconductors,” Markey’s office said.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry released photos of the four lawmakers meeting at Taipei’s downtown Songshan Airport, arriving on a US Air Force transport jet, while Marque arrived at Taoyuan International Airport.
Last week China vowed zero tolerance for “separatist activities” in Taiwan and reiterated its threat to take control of the self-ruled island by force if provoked.
“We are ready to create a wide space for peaceful reunification, but we will not leave room for separatist activities in any form,” China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in a white paper on Wednesday.
It said China “will not abandon the use of force and we reserve the option to take all necessary measures”. However, it added: “We will only be forced to take tough steps to respond to provocations by separatist elements or external forces if they ever cross our red line.”
China last issued a White Paper on Taiwan in 2000.
AFP and Reuters contributed to this report