International

US lawmakers meet Taiwan President on surprise visit

By The Associated Press

Taipei: Five US lawmakers met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday morning on a surprise one-day visit aimed at reaffirming the United States’ “rock solid” support for the self-governing island.

The bipartisan group of US House of Representatives lawmakers arrived in Taiwan on Thursday night and was planning to meet senior leaders, including Tsai, the US institution in Taiwan, the de facto embassy, ​​said.

No further details were given about his itinerary.

The visit comes at a time when tensions between Taiwan and China have reached their highest level in decades.

Taiwan has been self-governing since the two sides separated during a civil war in 1949, but China considers the island to be part of its territory.

“When news of our visit broke yesterday, my office received a blunt message from the Chinese embassy asking me to discontinue the visit,” Representative Alyssa Slotkin, D-Mich., who is part of the delegation, said on Twitter. Wrote.

Reps Mark Takano, D-Cal., Colin Allred, D-Texas., Sarah Jacobs, D-Cal., and Nancy Mays, RS. C., is also part of the visiting delegation.

Takano said, “We are in Taiwan this week to remind our allies and allies, after two years of effort, that our commitment and shared responsibility for a free and secure Indo-Pacific region is stronger than ever. “

Takano said US relations with Taiwan “are rock solid and remain stable as our ties deepen.”

Tsai, who welcomed lawmakers and the AIT director to the presidential office in Taipei, noted the cooperation of both sides in veterans’ affairs, economic issues and trade, while reiterating the island’s close alignment with the US.

“Taiwan will continue to increase cooperation with the United States to uphold our shared values ​​of freedom and democracy, and to ensure peace and stability in the region,” Tsai said.

This is the third visit by US lawmakers to Taiwan this year and comes just weeks after a group of six Republican members of Congress visited the island.

That delegation met with President Tsai, Secretary General of National Security Wellington Koo and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, among others.

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

The Biden administration has invited Taiwan to a summit of democracy next month, a move that has been strongly rebuked by China.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday, “What America has done proves that so-called democracy is for it to pursue geopolitical goals, suppress other countries, divide the world, serve its interests.” And it’s just an excuse and a tool to maintain. Hegemony in the world.”

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