U.S. congressional delegation visiting Taiwan 12 days after Pelosi trip

A delegation of American lawmakers is visiting Taiwan just 12 days after a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that angered China.

The five-member delegation, led by Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, will meet senior leaders to discuss U.S.-Taiwan relations, regional security, trade, investment and other issues, the American Institute in Taiwan said. The institute represents the U.S. government, which does not have official ties with Taiwan.

It described the delegation’s stop in Taipei as being part of a larger visit to the Indo-Pacific region.

Taiwan’s presidential office said the group would meet with President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday morning.

Taiwan’s presidential office says the U.S. congressional group is to meet on Monday with President Tsai Ing-wen, seen here in Taipei, on Dec. 29, 2017. (Fabian Hamacher/Reuters)

“Especially at a time when China is raising tensions in the Taiwan Strait and the region with military exercises, Markey leading a delegation to visit Taiwan once again demonstrates the United States Congress’ firm support for Taiwan,” the office said in a statement.

China’s embassy in Washington said on Sunday that “members of the U.S. Congress should act in consistence with the U.S. government’s “one-China policy” and argued the latest congressional visit “once again proves that the U.S. does not want to see stability across the Taiwan Straits and has spared no effort to stir up confrontation between the two sides and interfere in China’s internal affairs.”

Markey’s office said the lawmakers in Taiwan “will reaffirm the United States’s support for Taiwan as guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, U.S.-China Joint Communiques, and Six Assurances, and will encourage stability and peace across the Taiwan Strait.”

Talks on ‘shared interests’

The group will meet “with elected leaders and members of the private sector to discuss shared interests including reducing tensions in the Taiwan Strait and expanding economic co-operation, including investments in semiconductors,” Markey’s office said.

The delegation made a prior stop in South Korea, where Markey met South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol.

A Taiwanese broadcaster showed video of a U.S. government plane landing about 7 p.m. local time on Sunday at Songshan Airport in Taipei, the Taiwanese capital. While it wasn’t confirmed who was on board, the American Institute issued a brief statement soon after announcing the delegation would be in Taiwan on Sunday and Monday as part of a trip to Asia.

The other members of the delegation are Republican Rep. Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, a delegate from American Samoa, and Democratic House members John Garamendi and Alan Lowenthal from California and Don Beyer from Virginia.

China, which claims self-ruled Taiwan as its territory, responded to Pelosi’s Aug. 2 visit by sending missiles, warships and warplanes into the seas and skies around Taiwan for several days of military exercises. The Chinese government objects to Taiwan having any official contact with foreign governments, particularly with a high-ranking congressional leader like Pelosi.

Chinese warplanes have been crossing the midpoint of the Taiwan Strait on a daily basis even after the conclusion of the military exercises, with at least 10 doing so on Sunday, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said.

The 10 fighter jets were among 22 Chinese military aircraft and six naval ships detected in the area around Taiwan by 5 p.m. on Sunday, the ministry said on its Twitter account.

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