Congress Sends Delegation To Taiwan

Written By BlabberBuzz | Sunday, 28 November 2021 05:15

On Friday, five U.S. lawmakers met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in a surprise one-day visit meant to re-establish the United States' "rock-solid" backing for the self-governing island.

The bipartisan group of lawmakers from the U.S. House of Representatives arrived in Taiwan on Thursday night and intended to meet with senior leaders including Tsai, announced the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. embassy. No further details were presented regarding their itinerary.

The visit comes as tensions between Taiwan and China have grown to their highest level in decades. Taiwan has been self-ruled since the two sides split throughout a civil war in 1949, though China considers the island part of its own territory.

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"When news of our trip broke yesterday, my office received a blunt message from the Chinese Embassy, telling me to call off the trip," Representative Elissa Slotkin, a Michigan Democrat who is part of the delegation, wrote on Twitter.

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Representatives Mark Takano, D-Calif., Colin Allred, D-Texas., Sara Jacobs, D-Calif., and Nancy Mace, R-S.C., are further part of the delegation.

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"We are here in Taiwan this week to remind our partners and allies, after two trying years that we've endured, that our commitment and shared responsibility for a free and secure Indo-Pacific region remain stronger than ever," Takano announced.

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Takano continued that the U.S. relationship with Taiwan is "rock solid and has remained steadfast as the ties between us have deepened."

Tsai, who welcomed the lawmakers at the Presidential Office in Taipei, noted the two sides' cooperation in veterans' affairs, economic matters and trade while reiterating the island's close alignment with the U.S.

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"Taiwan will continue to step up cooperation with the United States in order to uphold our shared values of freedom and democracy and to ensure peace and stability in the region," Tsai stated.

The visit is the third by U.S. lawmakers to Taiwan this year and comes only a few weeks after a group of six Republican members of Congress visited the island. That delegation met with President Tsai, National Security Secretary, General Wellington Koo, and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.

In June, three members of Congress flew to Taiwan to donate badly required vaccines at a time when the island was struggling to get enough.

The Biden administration has further invited Taiwan to a Summit for Democracy next month, a move that drew a sharp rebuke from China.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian announced on Wednesday, "What the U.S. did proves that the so-called democracy is just a pretext and tool for it to pursue geopolitical goals, suppress other countries, divide the world, serve its own interest and maintain its hegemony in the world."

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