Photo Credit: Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Another team of high-ranking US officials decided to visit Taiwan. Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ed Markey led the congressional delegation to Taiwan just weeks after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi surprised the island nation with a brief visit.
It may be recalled that China was taken aback by Pelosi’s surprise visit to Taiwan, where she met with Taiwan’s president and lawmakers. Pelosi’s visit was the first time a US official had visited the country in 25 years. As a result, China expressed its angst and increased its military presence and activities near Taiwan.
Experts believe that the visit harmed Washington-Beijing relations while increasing tensions between Taiwan and China. Since then, China has imposed trade restrictions on Taiwanese imports and exports to express its displeasure with Taiwan’s friendliness to US officials.
In an unexpected move, several members of the US Congress sent a new message to both China and Taiwan. On the one hand, an expression of solidarity; on the other, a possible source of contention.
The five-member delegation, which includes lawmakers John Garamendi, Alan Lowenthal, Don Beyer, and Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, said that their trip to the country aims to “reaffirm the United States’ support for Taiwan” and “will foster stability and peace across the Taiwan Strait.”
The delegation will discuss important matters with Taiwan
Senator Markey and his colleagues would meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to discuss national defense issues. Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and the committee on security and trade issues would be present at the meeting. The talks should help the self-governing island’s foreign affairs and national defense.
“In such uncertain times, we have to exert more efforts to ensure Taiwan’s peace and stability. We have a moral obligation to actively prevent any unnecessary conflicts. In responding to this greatest challenge, Taiwan showed unbelievable restraint and discretion,” stated Markey.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry expressed delight at the visit and stated that the delegation was more than welcome to make the visit to the country. Furthermore, the ministry expressed gratitude to the group for demonstrating the United States’ support for Taiwan amid rising tensions with China.
Markey’s spokesperson said that the group “will meet with elected leaders and members of the private sector to discuss shared interests, including reducing tensions in the Taiwan Strait and expanding economic cooperation, including investments in semiconductors.”
China expresses dissent on the second visitation
China was quick to retaliate against the US and Taiwan during Pelosi’s visit. This time is no exception. Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, said in a statement, “Members of the US Congress should act in consistence with the US government’s one-China policy. [China] “firmly opposes any kind of official ties [between the US and Taiwan. It] “proves that the US does not want to see stability across the Taiwan Straits and has spared no effort to stir up confrontation between the two sides and interfere in China’s internal affairs.”
China’s previous retaliation for Pelosi’s visit was to restrict trade to and from Taiwan while also increasing its military presence near the island. This may also be the case with this new development, albeit to a greater extent.
Taiwan expresses its thanks to the US
Tsai said in a statement, “Taiwan not only worked closely with our international friends, keeping close tabs on all military movements around us, but also kept conveying to the world our resolve to maintain the status quo in the Taiwan strait.”
“[Taiwan wishes to] further deepen our cooperation with the US and jointly maintain prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. In the face of global authoritarian expansionism, Taiwan also wishes to deepen trade relations with like-minded democracies and create a more resilient supply chain.”