Bipartisan U.S. lawmaker group ignore China’s ‘blunt message’ against visiting Taiwan amid rising tensions

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Even as tensions between the U.S. and China continue to rise, five lawmakers — including Democrats and one Republican — recently traveled to Taiwan to meet with officials despite objections from Beijing.

What happened: The Taiwan trip was headed by House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-CA) along with Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA), Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX) and Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), according to Reuters.

  • After celebrating Thanksgiving with U.S. troops in Korea, I just touched down in Taiwan,” Slotkin tweeted on Thursday. “After stops in Japan and Korea, it’ll be good to connect with leaders here to discuss a whole host of economic and national security issues.”
  • She added that her office was sent a “blunt message” from the Chinese Embassy telling her to cancel her trip to Taiwan: “But just as with other stops, we’re here to learn about the region and reaffirm the U.S. commitment to our hosts, the Taiwanese. I’m looking forward to an informative trip.” 
  • The de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan confirmed the visit in a statement: “The congressional delegation will meet with senior Taiwan leaders to discuss U.S.-Taiwan relations, regional security, and other significant issues of mutual interest.”
  • Takano and his delegation met with defense officials and President Tsai Ing-wen during the trip. Tsai’s office told reporters that the recent visit shows the strong friendship between the U.S. and Taiwan.
  • The trip came a day after Biden invited Taiwan to the Summit for Democracy, which will occur next month. The invitation angered China, prompting Beijing to release a statement through Zhu Fenglian, a spokeswoman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, saying that the Chinese government is against “any official interaction between the U.S. and China’s Taiwan region.”
  • This stance is clear and consistent. We urge the US to stick to the ‘one China’ principle,” Zhu added, DW reported.

Not the first: The Thursday trip marked the second time U.S. lawmakers flew to Taiwan this month, according to CNN. The American Institute in Taiwan said lawmakers briefly stayed at an airport in Taipei before flying to Okinawa, Japan, in early November.

  • Beijing said the trip “seriously violated the one-China principle” and insisted that the U.S. “immediately stop any form of official interaction with Taiwan.”
  • “We urge the U.S. congressmen to recognize the situation. Collaborating with the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces is a dangerous game; playing with ‘Taiwan independence’ will eventually lead to fire,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said.

Taiwanese residents express opposition to the idea of Taiwan reunifying with Mainland China. A poll which surveyed 1,072 Taiwanese residents from Nov. 10 to 14 showed that 9 out of 10 Taiwanese were against China’s “one country, two systems” policy on the island state.

Featured Image via CNA

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