More US Lawmakers Visit Taiwan 08/14 10:01
A delegation of American lawmakers arrived in Taiwan on Sunday, just 12 days
after a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that prompted China to launch
days of threatening military drills around the self-governing island that
Beijing says must come under its control.
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- A delegation of American lawmakers arrived in Taiwan
on Sunday, just 12 days after a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that
prompted China to launch days of threatening military drills around the
self-governing island that Beijing says must come under its control.
The five-member delegation, led by Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of
Massachusetts, will meet President Tsai Ing-wen and other officials, as well as
members of the private sector, to discuss shared interests including reducing
tensions in the Taiwan Strait and investments in semiconductors.
China responded to Pelosi's Aug. 2 visit by sending missiles, warships and
warplanes into the seas and skies around Taiwan for several days afterward. The
Chinese government objects to Taiwan having any official contact with foreign
governments, particularly with a high-ranking congressional leader like Pelosi.
A Taiwanese broadcaster showed video of a U.S. government plane landing
about 7 p.m. Sunday at Songshan Airport in Taipei, the Taiwanese capital. Four
members of the delegation were on the plane.
Markey met with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol earlier Sunday in South
Korea before arriving in Taiwan on a separate flight at Taoyuan International
Airport, which also serves Taipei. Markey, who chairs the Senate Foreign
Relations East Asia, Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Subcommittee, and
members of the delegation will reaffirm the United States' support for Taiwan.
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.
Chinese warplanes have continued crossing the midpoint of the Taiwan Strait
on a daily basis even after the conclusion of the military exercises last
Wednesday, with at least 10 doing so on Sunday, Taiwan's Defense 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.
A senior White House official on Asia policy said late last week that China
had used Pelosi's visit as a pretext to launch an intensified pressure campaign
against Taiwan, jeopardizing peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and
in the broader region.
"China has overreacted, and its actions continue to be provocative,
destabilizing, and unprecedented," Kurt Campbell, a deputy assistant to
President Joe Biden, said on a call with reporters.
"It has sought to disregard the centerline between the P.R.C. and Taiwan,
which has been respected by both sides for more than 60 years as a stabilizing
feature," he said, using the acronym for the country's full name, the People's
Republic of China.
China accuses the U.S. of encouraging independence forces in Taiwan through
its sale of military equipment to the island and engaging with its officials.
The U.S. says it does not support independence for Taiwan but that its
differences with China should be resolved by peaceful means.
China's ruling Communist Party has long said that it favors Taiwan joining
China peacefully but that it will not rule out force if necessary. The two
split in 1949 during a civil war in which the Communists took control of China
and the losing Nationalists retreated to the island of Taiwan.
Campbell, speaking on Friday, said the U.S. would send warships and planes
through the Taiwan Strait in the next few weeks and is developing a roadmap for
trade talks with Taiwan that he said the U.S. intends to announce in the coming