US lawmakers meet President Taiwan on surprise visit

TAIPEI: Five US lawmakers met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday morning during a surprise one-day visit designed to reaffirm the United States’ “solid” support for the self-governing island.
The bipartisan group of lawmakers from the US House of Representatives arrived in Taiwan on Thursday evening and planned to meet with senior leaders, including Tsai, the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto embassy, ​​said. No further details were given about their itinerary.
The visit comes as tensions between Taiwan and China have reached their highest level in decades. Taiwan has been self-governing since the two sides split during a civil war in 1949, but China considers the island part of its own territory.
“When news of our trip broke yesterday, my office received a blunt message from the Chinese embassy telling me to cancel the trip,” Representative Elissa Slotkin, who is part of the delegation, wrote on Twitter.
Representatives Mark Takano, Colin Allred, Sara Jacobs and Nancy Mace are also part of the visiting delegation.
“We are here in Taiwan this week to remind our partners and allies, after two difficult years we have endured, that our commitment and shared responsibility for a free and secure Indo-Pacific region remain stronger than ever,” Takano said. .
Takano added that the relationship between the US and Taiwan is “rock solid and has remained steadfast as ties between us have deepened”.
Welcoming lawmakers and the AIT director of the Taipei presidential office, Tsai noted that the two sides are working together on veteran affairs, economic issues and trade, while reiterating that the island is working closely with the US.
“Taiwan will continue to intensify cooperation with the United States to uphold our shared values ​​of freedom and democracy and ensure peace and stability in the region,” Tsai said.
The visit is US lawmakers’ third visit to Taiwan this year and comes just weeks after a group of six Republican congressmen visited the island. That delegation met with President Tsai, Secretary-General of National Security Wellington Koo and Secretary of State Joseph Wu.
In June, three congressmen flew to Taiwan to donate much-needed vaccines at a time when the island was struggling to get enough.
The Biden administration has also invited Taiwan to a Summit for Democracy next month, a move that prompted a sharp rebuke from China.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday: “What the US has done proves that so-called democracy is just a pretext and tool to pursue geopolitical goals, oppress other countries, divide the world.” , to serve his own interest and to maintain his own hegemony in the world.”


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