Another US congressional delegation is visiting Taiwan as tensions remain high with China over its claims to the self-governed island. A steady stream of US visitors have come to meet with Taiwanese officials since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited in early August.
Since then, China has stepped up its military harassment of Taiwan, sending warships, warplanes and even drones towards the island on a daily basis. The eight-member bipartisan delegation is scheduled to meet with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday.
It is led by Florida Democrat Stephanie Murphy, who is among lawmakers who introduced a bill that would allow the US to lend weapons to support Taiwan, similar to a bill that had passed to lend weapons to Ukraine. Last week, the Biden administration approved a USD 1 billion arms sale to Taiwan.
The other visitors are Hawaii 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-level member of the US government to visit Taiwan in 25 years. China responded by holding extended military exercises that included firing missiles over the island and sending ships across the midline of the Taiwan Strait, which was long a buffer between the two sides. Some of the missiles landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
China sees high-level foreign visits to the island as interference in its affairs and de facto recognition of Taiwanese sovereignty. China’s recent military drills were seen by some as a rehearsal of future military action against the island, which US military leaders say could come within the next few years.
Following Pelosi’s trip, a US senator and another congressional delegation visited Taiwan, as well as public officials from Japan and Palau. Further, both Arizona and Indiana’s governors made visits with a focus on semiconductors, the industry which Taiwan’s companies dominate. The US politicians have called their visits a show of support for the island.(AP) RUP RUP
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