Bipartisan group of US lawmakers arrive in Taiwan for a surprise visit


A group of US lawmakers made a surprise visit to Taiwan and met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen:

A bipartisan delegation of U.S. lawmakers paid a surprise visit to Taiwan on Thursday night to reaffirm U.S. support for the island, drawing the ire of the Chinese Communist Party.

The delegation includes Senators Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), Bob Menendez (D., N.J.), Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Ben Sasse (R., Neb.), Rob Portman (R., Ohio), and Representative Ronny Jackson (R., Texas), a former advisor to President Donald Trump.

The lawmakers were met by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu at the Taipei airport, a break from normal protocol…

The delegation traveled on a U.S. Air Force jet, indicating that the Biden Administration had sanctioned the trip.

Naturally, China is not happy about this.

The visit drew a furious response from Beijing, with foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian saying “the Chinese side resolutely opposes any form of official exchange between the US and Taiwan, and US congressmen must also follow the US government’s one-China policy”

He warned the US against “walking further and further along a dangerous path” and said Beijing would take “forceful measures to resolutely uphold Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was supposed to visit Taiwan earlier this month but tested positive for COVID and had to cancel the trip. Plans for that visit also resulted in a warning from China:

A US Congressional delegation to Asia has been postponed after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tested positive for Covid-19.

The announcement followed a warning by China that it would take strong measures if the trip included a visit to Taiwan, as media reports in the region had claimed.

State media claimed the current visit was meant to make up for the cancelation of Pelosi’s visit. The story quoted China’s Taiwan Affairs Office as saying US arms sales to Taiwan were “no different from tying a bomb to every Taiwan compatriot.”

I’m honestly not even sure what that’s supposed to mean but it’s obviously some kind of warning. A video about the visit by Chinese state media commentator Hu Xijin was a little more blunt. After claiming the visit was a provocation to mainland China intended to pressure compliance with US wishes regarding Ukraine, Hu said China would resist the pressure. “China will further demonstrate its sovereignty over the island of Taiwan through military means and eliminate the erosion of sovereignty caused by collusion between the US and Taiwan,” he said. He went on to promise this would make both Taiwan and the US “suffer.”

Normally this kind of hot take could be ignored as the fevered imagination of one author but Hu has been a pretty significant figure in state media so it’s a good bet that he wouldn’t be making these kind of implied threats unless he was sure the CCP approved of them. Here’s the video of his statement.



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