Twelve days after Nancy Pelosi’s trip, more US lawmakers visit Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan — A delegation of American lawmakers arrived in Taiwan on Sunday, just 12 days after a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi prompted an irate China to launch days of threatening military exercises around the self-governing island that Beijing says that she must come under her control.

The five-member delegation, led by Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen and other officials to discuss US-Taiwan relations, regional security, trade, investment and other issues, the American said institutes in Taiwan. The institute represents the US government, which has no official relationship with Taiwan.

China responded to Pelosi’s Aug. 2 visit by sending missiles, warships and warplanes into the seas and skies around Taiwan for several days. The Chinese government refuses any official contact from Taiwan with foreign governments, especially with a senior congressional leader like Pelosi.

A Taiwanese broadcaster showed video of a US government plane landing at Songshan Airport in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, around 7 p.m. Sunday. Four members of the delegation were on the plane. Markey arrived on a separate flight at Taoyuan International Airport, which also serves Taipei. The group will be in Taiwan until Monday as part of a trip to Asia, the American Institute said.

The other members of the delegation are Republican Rep. Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, a delegate from American Samoa, and Democratic House Representatives John Garamendi and Alan Lowenthal of California and Don Beyer of Virginia.

Chinese warplanes have continued to cross the midpoint of the Taiwan Strait daily after military exercises concluded last Wednesday, with at least 10 doing so on Sunday, Taiwan’s defense ministry said.

The 10 fighter jets were among 22 Chinese military aircraft and six naval vessels spotted around Taiwan around 5 p.m. Sunday, the ministry said on its Twitter account.

A senior White House Asian policy official said late last week that China used Pelosi’s visit as a pretext to launch an increased pressure campaign against Taiwan, threatening peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the wider region.

“China has overreacted and its actions continue to be provocative, destabilizing and unprecedented,” Kurt Campbell, a deputy assistant to President Joe Biden, said on a call with reporters.

“It has attempted to disregard the median line between the PRC and Taiwan, which has been respected by both sides as a stabilizing feature for more than 60 years,” he said, using the acronym for the country’s full name, People’s Republic of China.

China accuses the US of encouraging pro-independence forces in Taiwan by selling military equipment to the island and working with its officials. The US says it does not support Taiwan independence but that its differences with China should be resolved through peaceful means.

China’s ruling Communist Party has long said it supports Taiwan’s peaceful accession to China but will not rule out violence if necessary. The two split in 1949 during a civil war in which the communists took control of China and the defeated nationalists retreated to the island of Taiwan.

Campbell said Friday the US would send warships and planes through the Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks and is developing a roadmap for trade talks with Taiwan, which the US plans to announce in the coming days.


Moritsugu reported from Beijing.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Twelve days after Nancy Pelosi’s trip, more US lawmakers visit Taiwan

Dais Johnston

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