US legislators meet with Taiwan president in surprise visit

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A member of the bipartisan US delegation says his office got a “clear message” from the Chinese embassy to cancel the trip.

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Five US legislators met with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen in a surprise one-day visit aimed at reaffirming the United States’ “rock-solid” support for the self-governing island.

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The bipartisan group of legislators from the US House of Representatives arrived in Taiwan on Thursday night and was planning to meet senior leaders, including Tsai, the American Institute of Representatives (AIT), the de facto embassy in Taiwan, said. No further details were given about his itinerary.

Friday morning’s meeting comes after tensions between Taiwan and China reached their highest level in decades. China considers the self-governing island as part of its territory.

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“When news of our visit broke yesterday, my office received a blunt message from the Chinese embassy asking me to discontinue the visit,” Representative Alyssa Slotkin, D-Mich., who is part of the delegation, said on Twitter. Wrote.

Representatives Mark Takano, D-California, Colin Allred, D-Texas, Sarah Jacobs, D-Calif., and Nancy Mays, RSC, are also part of the guest delegation.

Takano said, “We are in Taiwan this week to remind our allies and allies, after two years of effort that we have endured, that our commitment and shared responsibility for a free and secure Indo-Pacific region Stronger than ever.”

Takano said US relations with Taiwan “are rock solid and remain stable as our ties deepen”.

Tsai, who welcomed legislators and the AIT director to the presidential office in Taipei, noted the cooperation of both sides in veterans’ affairs, economic issues and trade, while reiterating the island’s close alignment with the US.

“Taiwan will continue to increase cooperation with the United States to uphold our shared values ​​of freedom and democracy, and to ensure peace and stability in the region,” Tsai said.

This is the third visit by US legislators to Taiwan this year and comes just weeks after a group of six Republican members of Congress visited the island.

That delegation met with President Tsai, Secretary General of National Security Wellington Koo and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, among others.

In June, three members of Congress went to Taiwan to donate badly needed vaccines at a time when the island was struggling to get enough.

The Biden administration has invited Taiwan to a summit of democracy next month, a move that has been strongly rebuked by China.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday: “What America has done proves that so-called democracy is for it to pursue geopolitical goals, suppress other countries, divide the world, serve its own interests.” And it’s just an excuse and a tool to maintain hegemony in the world.”

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