Another US Congressional Delegation Visits Taiwan, Draws China’s Wrath

Taipei, Taiwan (CNN) — A US congressional delegation led by Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ed Markey has arrived in Taipei for an unannounced two-day visit, the second US congressional delegation to Taiwan this month.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi drew China’s ire when she became the first person in her position to visit the island in 25 years at a time when relations between Washington and Beijing have been especially tense.

The new five-member delegation is visiting the self-governing island in an effort to “reaffirm United States support for Taiwan” and “advance stability and peace across the Taiwan Strait,” a spokesman for Markey said in a statement.

The delegation includes Democratic Representatives John Garamendi, Alan Lowenthal and Don Beyer, and Republican Representative Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, the statement added.

The Markey-led group will meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu during the visit, and will also hold talks with the Taiwanese parliament’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense committee on issues security and trade, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said.

The Foreign Ministry added that it sincerely welcomed the delegation and thanked them for demonstrating the strong US support for Taiwan despite escalating tensions with Beijing.

The senator’s spokesman said the delegation “will meet with elected leaders and members of the private sector to discuss shared interests, including reducing tensions across the Taiwan Strait and expanding economic cooperation, including investments in semiconductors.”

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China responded to the visit, saying it would take “resolute countermeasures in response to US provocations” in a statement issued by the Chinese embassy in Washington on Sunday.

“Members of the US Congress must act in accordance with the US government’s one China policy,” embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu said on Twitter.

Liu said China “firmly opposes any kind of official link” between the US and Taiwan, and the latest visit by a congressional delegation “proves that the US does not want to see stability across the Taiwan Strait.” and has made no effort to avoid confrontation between the two sides and interfere in China’s internal affairs.”

China’s ruling Communist Party regards Taiwan as part of its territory, even though it has never controlled it, and has long vowed to “reunify” the island with mainland China, by force if necessary. Before Pelosi’s visit, Beijing had repeatedly warned of dire consequences if the trip went ahead, even going so far as to warn US President Joe Biden that those who played with fire would “perish” for it.

Pelosi: The US will not abandon Taiwan

Nancy Pelosi during her visit to Taiwan.

During her trip to Taiwan, Pelosi, a California Democrat, said the visit was intended to make it “unequivocally clear” that the United States “would not abandon” the democratically-ruled island.

China responded to the House Speaker’s trip by launching military exercises, which China’s Defense Ministry says began with drills both on the seas and in the airspace surrounding Taiwan. In addition to the drills, Beijing canceled future phone calls between Chinese and US defense leaders, suspended bilateral climate talks and sanctioned Pelosi and his immediate family.

The White House has summoned China’s ambassador to condemn the military activities and underline the US desire to avoid a crisis in the region. The White House has said there is no change in the US “One China” policy and that Washington recognizes the PRC as the sole legitimate government of China.

The United States maintains close unofficial ties with Taiwan and is required by law to provide Taiwan with defensive weapons. But he remains deliberately vague about whether he would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, a policy known as “strategic ambiguity.”

CNN’s Daniella Diaz, Jeremy Herb, Wayne Chang and Rhea Mogul contributed to this report.

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