A bipartisan delegation of eight U.S. lawmakers arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday.
The previously unannounced visit continues the trend of U.S. officials and representatives visiting the country to display public support of its leadership despite objections from China, which claims sovereignty over the island. This brings the number of congressional visits in 2022 to four and the total of congressional representative visitors to 28.
As the fourth U.S. congressional delegation in Taiwan since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit, the group was led by Florida Democrat Stephanie Murphy and consisted of representatives Scott Franklin (R, FL-15), Kaiali’i Kahele (D, HI-2), Joe Wilson (R, SC-2), Andy Barr (R, KY-6), Darrell Issa (R, CA-50), Claudia Tenney (R, NY-22) and Kat Cammack (R, FL-3).
The American Institute in Taiwan shared that the visit will take place from Sept. 7-9 and that the delegation will “meet with senior Taiwan leaders to discuss U.S.-Taiwan relations, regional security, trade and investment, global supply chains, and other significant issues of mutual interest.” The representatives are also scheduled to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen during their trip.
The U.S. delegation is joined by a delegation of five French lawmakers led by Senator Cyril Pellevat. Taiwan is also expected to welcome German, British and Canadian legislators within the year.
The string of U.S. delegation visits to Taiwan was started by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA-12), the highest-ranking official to visit Taiwan thus far. Her controversial visit has stoked tensions with China and is sure to have a long-standing impact.
After her visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping released an official document rescinding their pledge to withhold sending troops and administrators from Taiwan. China also began conducting additional military drills near Taiwan, citing the recent U.S. delegation visits as their motive. Their position against U.S. visits was also supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who stated that the trips were “promoting instability around the world.”
In response to China’s threats and military drills, the Taiwanese military recently opened fire at a Chinese drone in a restricted air space following Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s order for “strong countermeasures” against China, marking the first time warning shots have been fired amid high tensions.
The Biden administration has also displayed its support for Taiwan by sending two U.S. Navy cruisers and a potential $1.1 billion arms package for the island country. On Tuesday, U.S. State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel stated that the U.S. will “continue to meet Taiwan’s defense needs.”
Featured Image via @MOFA_Taiwan