Five US lawmakers defy China by meeting with officials in Taiwan

“When news of our trip broke yesterday, my office received a blunt message from the Chinese Embassy, telling me to call off the trip,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a Michigan Democrat, wrote Thursday on Twitter. “The auto industry’s largest supplier of microchips is here in Taiwan, so supply chain issues will most definitely be on the agenda.”

Slotkin mentioned the facet journey to Taiwan got here after celebrating Thanksgiving with US troops in South Korea and that the cease would “be good to connect with leaders here to discuss a whole host of economic and national security issues.”

Taiwan holds a fraught place in the deteriorating relationship between Washington and Beijing, with tensions operating excessive as China will increase its army posturing and warplane flights across the self-ruled island. The congressional delegation’s go to comes on the heels of one other casual go to from US lawmakers earlier this month.
House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano, a California Democrat, led the delegation that arrived Thursday. It included fellow panel members Slotkin and Reps. Colin Allred, a Texas Democrat, Nancy Mace, a South Carolina Republican, and Sara Jacobs, a California Democrat, in keeping with Reuters, which first reported the journey.
The information of the lawmakers’ journey comes a day after the Biden administration prolonged an invite to Taiwan for its “Summit for Democracy,” which can happen subsequent month — a call that the Chinese authorities dubbed a “mistake,” Reuters reported.
Earlier this month, President Joe Biden made clear that he was not encouraging Taiwan’s “independence” after utilizing the phrase to explain the progress he had made throughout a dialogue of the island with his Chinese counterpart.

“I said that they have to decide — Taiwan, not us. We are not encouraging independence,” Biden mentioned on an airport tarmac in New Hampshire the place he was selling his lately signed infrastructure legislation.

“We’re encouraging that they do exactly what the Taiwan Act requires,” he went on, referring to the 1979 legislation dictating the American strategy to the island. “That’s what we’re doing. Let them make up their mind. Period.”

Explaining his place whereas greeting attendees following his infrastructure speech that day, Biden mentioned he had made restricted progress on the subject with Chinese President Xi Jinping. “We made very clear we support the Taiwan Act, and that’s it,” he mentioned on the time.

“Its independence,” he went on. “It makes its own decisions.”

Earlier this month, an unspecified group of US lawmakers landed in Taipei on a Boeing C-40 army airplane, and subsequently took off for Okinawa after a short keep on the airport.

The delegation’s arrival sparked fast condemnation from China, with Beijing describing the journey as an “act of provocation.”

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that go to and mentioned the journey was organized by the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy in Taipei. It didn’t disclose the names of the lawmakers concerned in the go to, nor their itinerary.

The American Institute in Taiwan didn’t verify an inventory of lawmakers however directed CNN on the time to Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn’s workplace.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin instructed reporters that journey “seriously violated the one-China principle” and demanded the US “immediately stop any form of official interaction with Taiwan.”

“We urge the US congressmen to recognize the situation. Collaborating with the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces is a dangerous game; playing with ‘Taiwan independence’ will eventually lead to fire,” Wang mentioned.

Beijing views the self-ruled island as an inseparable a part of its territory — although the 2 sides have been ruled individually for greater than seven a long time.

In a press release on the time, China’s Ministry of National Defense condemned the US for “grossly interfering in China’s internal affairs” and mentioned it ought to cease “provocative actions” which will escalate tensions on the Taiwan Strait.

“(The US) should refrain from sending wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ forces,” the assertion learn. “The People’s Liberation Army will always be on high alert and adopt all necessary measures to resolutely smash any interference by foreign forces and separatist attempts.”

The visits aren’t the one time delegations of US lawmakers have flown to Taiwan. In June, an American delegation together with Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, landed on a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III freighter to announce the donation of 750,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine. And beforehand, US officials and politicians have flown to Taiwan on the C-40, a army model of the Boeing 737 industrial airliner.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby had instructed reporters following the unspecified group’s go to that “congressional delegation visits to Taiwan are fairly routine” and the go to was “in keeping with our obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act, which has been supported by multiple administrations, both Democratic and Republican, that reinforces our requirement to help Taiwan with its self-defense needs.”

Relations between Taipei and Beijing are at their lowest level in a long time. Last month, China’s army despatched a report variety of warplanes into Taiwan’s air protection identification zone — the realm surrounding the island the place Taipei says it should reply to any incursions.

This story has been up to date with extra particulars Thursday.

CNN’s Rachel Janfaza and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

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