The two-day visit of a US congressional delegation to Taiwan was held on Sunday. The lawmakers’ arrival comes less than two weeks after a separate visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sparked a flurry of military activity in the Taiwan Strait and sent relations between Washington and Beijing into a tailspin.
The visit to Taipei was announced by the American Institute in Taiwan, which functions as the US’ de-facto embassy on the self-governing island. According to the institute Ed Markey from Massachusetts, a Democrat is heading the group. Markey is accompanied by John Garamendi, Alan Lowenthal, and Don Beyer (Virgina), Democrat representatives from California. Also, Rep. Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (Republican from American Samoa), is accompanying Markey.
This delegation will “meet with senior Taiwan leaders to discuss US-Taiwan relations, regional security, trade and investment, global supply chains, climate change, and other significant issues of mutual interest,”According to the institute.
The US officially recognizes, but does not endorse, China’s sovereignty over Taiwan, a position referred to as the ‘One China’ policy. Although American legislators and officials frequently travel to Taiwan, Beijing regards visits by senior US officials as implicit endorsements of Taiwanese independence.
Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan in the beginning of this month was an example. Beijing saw a visit from the second in line to the presidency and the member of the same party as President Joe Biden, as an infraction of the One China principle at the highest level of Washington power.
Wang Yi, Chinese Foreign Minister described the trip as “a complete farce,”Wang also added: “those who offend China will be punished.”
China responded to Pelosi’s visit by holding “unprecedented”Military exercises were conducted in Taiwan Strait, and trade was cut with Taipei. Beijing also sanctioned Pelosi’s family and cut diplomatic ties with the US in a number of key areas, including climate change, maritime security, and other military sectors.
China announced Saturday it has “successfully completed”However, it would not cease to conduct military exercises. “military training and preparation” to defend its “national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”After the Chinese government published a whitepaper stating its intention to work for peaceful reunification of Taiwan, the drills were stopped. However, it did not deny the possibility of using force to accomplish this goal.
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As Markey’s delegation arrived in Taipei, Chinese fighter jets, bombers and airborne early warning aircraft departed for Thailand for joint exercises with the Royal Thai Air Force.
Meanwhile, the US is holding joint exercises in Indonesia with the Australian, Japanese, and Singaporean forces, while the Pentagon announced last week that the US Navy will conduct “Transshipments by air or sea” through the Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks, while the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group will remain stationed in the region.