Another US congressional delegation to Taiwan amid tensions

Another US congressional delegation is visiting Taiwan as tensions with China remain high over its claims to the self-governing island.

A steady stream of American visitors have come to meet Taiwanese officials since the visit of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi in early August. In response, China has stepped up its military harassment of Taiwan, sending warships, fighter jets and drones to the island daily.

Led by Florida Democrat Stephanie Murphy, the delegation met on Thursday with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, whose Chinese administration has relentlessly sought to strip diplomatic recognition and participation in international organizations.

Referring to China’s military threats, Tsai said the delegation’s visit “conveys strong support for Taiwan from the US Congress.” “Taiwan will not give in to pressure or coercion,” Tsai said. “We will defend our democratic institutions and our way of life. Taiwan will not back down.” Murphy responded that Congress “should advocate for greater Taiwanese participation in international organizations. ”Participate in international forums where appropriate,” she said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said on Thursday that China “strongly rejects and deplores” the Congress visit, saying it violates the US commitment to the “one China policy”. which prohibits official diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

“We will continue to take strong measures to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Mao said at a daily briefing.

Under the US system of separation of powers, the executive branch of government has no legal right to prevent members of Congress from traveling to Taiwan. China has repeatedly refused to recognize this principle.

Mao also warned Japan not to allow any Taiwanese government official to attend the official funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. China protested strongly after Taiwanese Vice President Lai Ching-te paid tribute at Abe’s Tokyo residence following his July assassination.

“Japan should not provide Taiwan’s independence force with platforms for political manipulation,” Mao said. Throughout his political career, Abe has been a strong supporter of Taiwan, a Japanese colony for 50 years until the end of World War II that maintains close political, economic and social ties with Japan.

Murphy, who was born in Hanoi to Vietnamese parents, is among lawmakers who introduced a bill allowing the United States to lend arms to support Taiwan, similar to a bill passed to lend arms to Ukraine. . Last week, the Biden administration approved a billion-dollar arms sale to Taiwan.

Murphy also said deepening economic ties with Taiwan was “one of the most important things Congress can do right now,” including pushing for a “high-quality free trade agreement” between the parts. Negotiations are underway between the Biden and Tsai administrations over a trade pact.

Other visiting US lawmakers are Hawaiian Democrat Kaiali’i Kahele and Republicans Scott Franklin of Florida, Joe Wilson of South Carolina, Andy Barr of Kentucky, Darrell Issa of California, Claudia Tenney of New York and Kat Cammack of Florida.

Pelosi was the highest-ranking member of the US government to visit Taiwan in 25 years. China responded by staging protracted military drills that included firing missiles over the island and sending ships across the middle line of the Taiwan Strait, which has long been a buffer between the two sides. Some of the missiles landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

China views high-level foreign visits to the island as interference in its affairs and de facto recognition of Taiwanese sovereignty. The recent Chinese military exercises were seen by some as a rehearsal for future military action against the island, which US military leaders say could take place in the next few years.

In Beijing on Wednesday, Mao said China’s opposition to defense cooperation between Washington and Taipei is “consistent and clear.”

“We will resolutely respond to acts that undermine China’s sovereignty and security and interfere in our internal affairs,” Mao told reporters at a daily briefing, without giving details.

After Pelosi’s trip, a US senator and another congressional delegation visited Taiwan, along with officials from Japan and Palau. The governors of Arizona and Indiana paid visits focusing on semiconductors, an industry dominated by Taiwanese companies.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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