US lawmakers to travel to Taiwan less than two weeks after Nancy Pelosi’s visit


A delegation of US lawmakers traveled to Taiwan less than two weeks after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island in a move that escalated tensions with China.

Democratic Sen. Ed Markey led the group that arrived on Sunday. Rep. Markey, who sits on the House Foreign Relations Committee, confirmed that the lawmakers wanted to “reaffirm United States support for Taiwan” and “promote stability and peace on Taiwan’s shores.”

“The group will meet with selected private sector leaders and members to discuss common interests, including reducing tensions on Taiwan’s coast and expanding economic cooperation,” the official said.

The visit comes as China continues a campaign of military intimidation against Taiwan that began following Pelosi’s visit. Beijing said on August 10 that military drills began around Taiwan to “punish” the country for hosting Pelosi. However, the People’s Liberation Army is still sending fighter jets and warships to Taiwan, which Taipei and Washington have condemned as an attempt to change the status quo.

According to Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense, 22 PLA aircraft and 6 PLA warships entered the Taiwan Strait area on Sunday. 11 of the aircraft were active in the middle lane of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial buffer that Beijing says has been “disappeared” by the crisis.

Taiwan’s government welcomed the US lawmakers’ visit and said the delegation would meet with President Tsai Ing-wen, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and members of Taiwan’s Legislative Council’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Democratic House lawmakers Don Beyer, John Garamendi and Alan Lowenthal accompanied Republican Representative Amua Amata Coleman Radewagen of American Samoa to the marquee.

“At a time when China is escalating regional tensions, the United States is reorganizing a heavyweight congressional delegation to visit Taiwan, showing friendship without fear of China’s threats and intimidation, and showing the United States’ strong support for Taiwan,” Taiwan’s foreign ministry said.

Until recently, lawmakers and cabinet members from the US and other democracies frequently visited Taiwan without any problems from China. Beijing, however, has indicated that it will continue to strengthen countermeasures.

On Friday, China imposed sanctions on Lithuania’s deputy transport minister for visiting Taiwan earlier in the week.

Kurt Campbell, the White House National Security Council’s Indo-Pacific coordinator, told reporters that the US expects China’s intensified pressure campaign against Taiwan to “continue to unfold in the coming weeks and months.” Intimidate and coerce Taiwan and weaken its resilienceā€.

Campbell said U.S. President Joe Biden discussed a possible bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a recent call between the two leaders and asked their teams to work out the details, but there was no new information on the time and place.

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