DHARAMSALA, 26 Nov: A five-member bipartisan US congressional delegation has landed in Taiwan on Thursday much to the disappointment of the Chinese government.
The US lawmaker’s visit to the self-ruled island to discuss “U.S.-Taiwan relations, regional security, and other significant issues of mutual interest” came after a separate congressional delegation travelled to Taiwan earlier this month.
While there were no additional details of the discussions released by the lawmakers or the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto embassy in Taipei about the unannounced trip, media reports opined that the visit signals a fresh sign of US support to the self-ruled island as it came just days after President Joe Biden invited Taiwan to a virtual “Summit for Democracy” in December.
“A pleasure to welcome our #US friends to #Taiwan. I thank the representatives for their support, and look forward to productive discussions on how to further strengthen bilateral ties,” Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen tweeted.
Extending a warm welcome to the delegates, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted, “We wish the bipartisan #US House of Representatives delegation a productive & rewarding visit focusing on bilateral relations & regional security.”
The five-member delegation consists of Democratic Reps. Mark Takano of California, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, Colin Allred of Texas, Sara Jacobs of California and Republican Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina.
“When news of our trip broke yesterday, my office received a blunt message from the Chinese Embassy, telling me to call off the trip,” Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin Twitted about the trip.
“Just touched down in the Republic of Taiwan,” Rep. Nancy Mace tweeted defying China as she referred to the self-ruled island as the Republic of Taiwan as addressed by those who favour independence.
Beijing baulks at any use of the word “Taiwan”, or any references to the island as a “country” and diplomatic gestures that might lend a sense of international legitimacy to the island, noted a report on AFP.
Infuriated by the US lawmaker’s visit to Taiwan, China’s Defence Ministry has lamented that “there is no room for compromise over Taiwan and the United States should not have any illusions about this.”
Additionally, China’s Defence Ministry alleged that the US had of late made a series of “provocations” on several issues, Reuters reported.
The self-ruled island, headed by independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen has formal relations with only 15 countries, many of them small, less-developed nations in Central America and the Pacific, including Belize and Nauru,
Beijing claims self-ruled and democratic Taiwan as its own and views it as a wayward province to be reunified with China by force if necessary.
Taiwan has been self-governed since 1949 when Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang troops fled to the island after losing China’s civil war to Mao’s Communist Party.