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US congressional delegation arrives in Taiwan after Pelosi’s visit

#congressional #delegation #arrives #Taiwan #Pelosis #visit

A US Congressional delegation arrived in Taiwan on Sunday, officials said, days after China held military drills around the island in retaliation for the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Sunday’s unannounced trip came after Pelosi enraged Beijing by visiting Taiwan earlier this month, sparking unprecedented air and sea drills that raised the prospect of conflict.

The five-member delegation, led by Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen and attend a banquet hosted by Secretary of State Joseph Wu during the visit, according to Taiwan’s foreign ministry.

They will discuss “US-Taiwan relations, regional security, trade and investment, global supply chains, climate change and other important issues of mutual interest,” the American Institute in Taiwan said in a statement.

Taiwan welcomed the delegation’s visit as another sign of warm relations between Taipei and Washington.

“The Foreign Ministry sincerely welcomes the delegation,” the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

“As China continues to escalate tensions in the region, the US Congress has again organized a high-profile delegation to visit Taiwan to show a friendship unafraid of China’s threats and intimidation and strong US support for to highlight Taiwan.”

The other members of the delegation are Democratic members John Garamendi and Alan Lowenthal of California, Don Beyer of Virginia and Republican Representative Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen of American Samoa, according to the institute.

China regards Taiwan as its own territory, to be taken one day, if necessary by force. For a week after Pelosi’s visit, it sent warships, missiles and jets into the waters and skies around the island.

– China patrols continue –

Beijing has fumed over the trip of Pelosi, who has been the senior American elected official to visit Taiwan for decades.

Taiwan has accused China of using their visit as an excuse to launch drills that would allow it to rehearse for an invasion.

It held its own exercises simulating defenses against a Chinese invasion on its main island. China halted drills but said it would continue patrolling the Taiwan Strait.

In its daily update, Taiwan’s defense ministry said on Sunday that it had spotted 22 Chinese planes and six ships operating near the Taiwan Strait.

Of those, 11 planes crossed the center line — an unofficial demarcation between Taiwan and China that Beijing doesn’t recognize.

China earlier this week vowed zero tolerance for “separatist activities” in Taiwan and reiterated its threat that it would take control of the self-governing island by force if provoked.

“We are ready to leave wide space for peaceful reunification, but we will leave no space for any form of separatist activity,” China’s Bureau of Taiwan Affairs said in a white paper on Wednesday.

China “will not refrain from using force and we reserve the option to take any action necessary.”

However, it added: “We will only be forced to take drastic measures to respond to the provocation of separatist elements or external forces should they ever cross our red lines.”

China last issued a White Paper on Taiwan in 2000.

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