As a demonstration of American support for Taiwan A delegation from the US House of Representatives traveled to Taipei again to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen. This was announced by the American Institute in Taiwan on Wednesday. The group consists of two Democratic and six Republican lawmakers, making it the largest US delegation to visit Taiwan in the past decade. A total of 28 members of the US Congress traveled to Taiwan this year, according to the Bloomberg news agency.
At the meeting with Taiwan’s president on Thursday, group leader Stephanie Murphy said the trip was “a symbol of Congress’ rock-solid commitment to Taiwan.” The visit comes against the background of growing tensions with China over the democratic island republic. Regarding the Chinese threat, President Tsai said at the meeting, “Taiwan will not bow to pressure or coercion. We will defend our democratic institutions and our way of life.”
Murphy stressed that United States are determined to strengthen ties with Taiwan in the face of Chinese pressure. “One of the most important things Congress can do now is deepen economic ties with Taiwan, particularly by advancing a quality US-Taiwan Free Trade Agreement,” Murphy said.
The latest crisis was triggered by Chinese anger at US House Speaker’s visit, Nancy Pelosi, early August. Beijing claims power over the island and considers it part of the People’s Republic. For this reason, the communist leadership rejects official contacts from other countries to Taipei. Taiwan, on the other hand, sees itself as an independent state.
In response to Pelosi’s visit, China had held large-scale drills, including launching ballistic missiles near the Taiwanese coast. Since then, military pressure has been maintained by increased deployments of warships and military aircraft near Taiwan. In response, the US increased its presence in the region. In August, President Biden sent two Navy ships through the Strait between China and Taiwan. In addition, the USA want to support the island republic militarily. Biden’s government is currently preparing a $1.1 billion military package that will include missiles and radars. “The US will continue to meet Taiwan’s defense needs,” US State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said Tuesday. Jake Sullivan, national security adviser in Biden’s cabinet, said he would prepare a bill that would make Taiwan a key ally. Biden had already announced in May that he wanted to defend Taiwan against a possible Chinese invasion.
French politicians are also visiting the island this week. It is the first visit by a group of parliamentarians from a major EU member during the recent tensions. German parliamentarians also want to visit Taiwan in the coming month: the Berlin-Taipei Parliamentary Friendship Group wants to travel to Taipei at the beginning of October. At the end of October, the Human Rights Committee of the Bundestag is planning a visit.